Lafayette High’s Armand “Mondo” Duplantis and Kyah Loyd of Shreveport’s C.E. Byrd were selected as Louisiana’s Gatorade Track & Field Athletes of the Year, according to a news release.
Duplantis is a junior who enjoyed unprecedented, record-setting success for a high school competitor in the pole vault. With a clearance of 19 feet, 4¼ inches at the Texas Relays this spring, Duplantis shattered the national high school record by nearly a foot.
The jump also set a World Junior (Under-20) record and represented the highest clearance in the world in 2017 — regardless of age — at the time of his selection. Duplantis has now cleared 18 feet six times outdoors — twice as many as any other prep competitor.
He won his third LHSAA Class 5A pole vault title and also took second in the long jump with a leap of 23-5½, leading the Lions to a third-place finish at the state meet. His outdoor season will continue at the European U20 Championships in Italy and the senior IAAF World Championships in London this summer.
Duplantis maintains a 3.29 grade-point-average and serves the community by conducting free clinics for youth athletes in the community, both on pole-vaulting technique and stretching. He also volunteers regularly at JV and middle school track meets, offering instruction and acting as a meet official.
“ ‘Mondo’ not only raised the standard for high school pole vaulting, but redefined the potential in the event for teenagers around the world,” said Erik Boal, editor for Dyestat.com. “He thrives on the biggest stage, and there is no telling what possibilities lie ahead for him in the coming year."
Loyd won three individual titles at the LHSAA’s Class 5A state meet, leading the Yellow Jackets to the state title. Loyd won the 100-meter dash in 11.70 seconds, then added victories in the 200 (a wind-aided 23.70) and the 100-meter high hurdles (13.75).
The Tulane signee’s time in the 100 hurdles ranked as the nation’s No. 21 time among prep competitors in 2017 at the time of her selection. Loyd also captured silver in the 100 hurdles (13.88) and bronze in the 200 dash (24.46) at the Great Southwest Classic. At this past weekend’s Brooks PR Invitational, she took silver in the 100 hurdles (13.91) and seventh in the 100 dash (12.28).
Loyd donates her time to a community service organization called Astra. She also serves as a school ambassador and youth track coach. She maintained a weight gpa of 4.51.
“Loyd showcased why she’s one of the most talented all-around athletes in the country with her performances at the state meet, helping Byrd secure a team championship,” Boal said. “One of the nation’s most underrated performers, Loyd has continued to build her rèsumè as a hurdler and supports that talent with impressive range as a sprinter."