NFA's Pierre Louis wins State Open high jump title with a leap of 6 feet, 6 inches

·4 min read

Jun. 11—Norwich Free Academy's girls' and boys' track and field representatives got there early Thursday morning for the 9:30 a.m. State Open championship meet at New Britain's Willow Brook Park.

"Our school got there at 8," NFA junior Max Pierre Louis said with a laugh. "There were three schools and we were one of the three.

"... I got my mark (for the high jump) as soon as I got there. As soon as I got there, I warmed up and got my mark. There were two girls getting their mark, too. As soon as a lot of people start to come, the white tapes get mixed around. I made my mark a cross so that was pretty easy to find."

The boys' high jump concluded about 4 p.m., the final event.

Pierre Louis won the title with a personal best leap of 6 feet, 6 inches, with Waterford's Sam Menders finishing third in the event at 6-4. Pierre Louis was the fourth seed coming into the event, having finished second in last week's Class LL meet with a leap of 6-2. His previous best was 6-4.

Pierre Louis also finished second in the triple jump with a personal best 44-4.5 and Menders was fifth (43-7.5).

"It was pretty impressive," NFA coach Tom Teixeira said of Pierre Louis. "To score 18 points (10 for first, 8 for second) at the State Open is pretty crazy. I've had some great athletes and I don't know if I've ever had anybody score 18 points."

Teixeira said the 6-foot-5 Pierre Louis is as competitive during meets as he is laid back during practices.

"When he competes, he's very intense. He takes it very seriously," Teixeira said. "Today he said jokingly, 'Touch my chest. I think I'm having a heart attack.' ... He's everything you'd want in an athlete."

In a meet with a pair of star-studded, record-breaking performances by Conard junior Gavin Sherry in the 1,600 (4 minutes, 1.88 seconds) and the 3,200 meters (8:59.80), the Hillhouse boys (50 points) and Danbury girls (44 points) won team titles. The NFA boys were seventh with 22 points.

Pierre Louis said he came into the Class LL meet the week before with a mental block, having failed to clear a height at his first state meet as a freshman.

"I went in there kind of nervous (last week)," he said. "I came back today, just 'whatever happens happens.' It felt really good, actually. It felt great."

Among other top local finishers, Stonington's Josh Mooney was second in the 110-meter high hurdles in 14.44, being edged by Haddam-Killingworth's Eamon Sweeney (14.42), and Mooney was fourth in the javelin (169-2) and fifth in the 300 hurdles (39.92) to finish with 17 points, another stellar individual effort.

New London's Daniel Duperval was fifth (47-1.25) and NFA's Jordan Ribeiro sixth (46-4.5) in the shot put and New London's Marquis Whyte sixth (1:56.19) and Fitch's Thomas Forde 11th (1:58.51) in the 800. NFA's Dangelo Aristilde was ninth in the 100 (11.12), New London's Duperval ninth (135-2) and Bacon's Jake Martino 11th (128-6) in the discus, East Lyme's Luke Anthony ninth in the 1,600 (4:18.30) and Ledyard's Ryan Kinney 11th in the pole vault (12-6). NFA's 4x100 team of Aristilde, Jeremiah Paul, Stephen Lee and Aldon Dawson was eighth (43.89).

In the girls' competition, East Lyme's Savannah Soleau was third in the shot put (37-3.75), Stonington's Lila Rich was tied for fifth (10-0) and NFA's Hannah Elliot eighth (9-6) in the pole vault, Ledyard's Natalie Poulton was 10th in the discus (102-9), East Lyme's Hailey DeNucci 10th (97-2), Stonington's Sophia Bell 11th (96-6) and East Lyme's Sjodin Fedikovich 12th (96-5) in the javelin and Bacon Academy's Jennifer Whipple 12th in the shot put (32.8.75).

v.fulkerson@theday.com

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