Indoor Track Notebook: Leavitt’s Stephen Pierre breaks onto the track and field scene as a freshman

Stephen Pierre is only 5-foot-5, but the freshman is making big marks for the Leavitt Indoor Track and Field team.

Pierre leads the KVAC Class B in the 55-meter hurdles (8.88 seconds) and high jump (5 feet, 10 inches), and he is second in the long jump (19-10.75).

Stephen Pierre (left) of the Turner Hornets Track Club and Joe LeBlanc of the Auburn Recreation Track and Field program compete in the 100m hurdles in Poland in July 2021. Pierre is now a rising star as a freshman for the Leavitt Indoor Track Team. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Pierre said he doesn’t know what to expect in the season.

“To be honest, I was nervous because I’ve never competed against high schoolers,” said Pierre. “I expected to do the best I could at my age, freshmen and sophomores, and do my best in between.”

Pierre’s first running race of the season was a strong debut. He posted measurements of 18-5 in the long jump, 5-6 in the high jump and ran the 55 meter hurdles in 9.23 seconds.

Then, in the second competition, Pierre broke through and set his personal records in the long jump (19-10.75) and high jump (5-10).

“It was amazing. I don’t know how to explain it,” said Pierre. “I remember wanting it, I was thinking about the score to get into States. I still want to see the best I can get. Before that, my highest (long jump) was 18-something. I was full of joy, really excited. Now I know that I can do a lot higher than I expected and maybe I can keep up with the juniors and seniors.”

Hornets head coach Jamie Juntura said he had coached Pierre through the Leavitt summer track program for a number of years. Juntura said Pierre has improved a lot this season.

“He’s gotten a lot stronger since last summer, when I last saw him at work,” Juntura said. “You can see he’s gotten stronger. He has matured quite a bit in the sport over the course of the season. The summer track program is great, but it’s introductory. It’s one meeting a week, and for us it’s really just one training a week. You can see he’s grown in the sport, he understands what it means to be part of a track program trying to win together. And that was the best thing about seeing him as part of a program and not just an individual star, because he was that all year long.”

Pierre said he’s always loved the high, long jumps. Hurdles, on the other hand, were sometimes good and sometimes a struggle for him.

“Very back and forth,” Pierre said of the hurdles. “There have been times, I don’t know why, I get these feelings where I get my rhythm and sometimes I don’t, and I can’t do any good.”

Juntura said he knew Pierre would be quick in the hurdles but that his times were better than expected. Juntura said the newcomer is going in the right direction.

“He can be hard on himself, but after his last race he came up to me and said, ‘I went too high, it threw me off track and how can I fix it?’ We’ve been working on a plan and we’ll be working on some technical things this week and hopefully that will be polished up,” Juntura said. “Coming from a newbie is cool because you just don’t get it.”

HORNET BUZZ

Jack Boutaugh competed with his strong arm – his right – for the first time this season after dislocating his right elbow while playing for the Leavitt football team last fall.

The senior pitcher finished second in a contest on Jan. 27 with a 44-01 pitch, a personal record.

“His first pitch was 42 feet, his second 44, which is his career PR and if you ask him he thought it was gross,” Juntura said. “He knew what he was doing, he didn’t like his rotations and he said he was better at KVACs. He was nervous to come back and for a man who’s seen a lot of competition he was nervous and I was surprised but it’s good.

Boutaugh had competed in and even qualified for the KVAC Championships earlier this season with his left arm.

In the Leavitt girls, jumpers Serae Fish and Emma Couturier have improved a lot this season.

“The big standout moments come from Serae and Emma,” Juntura said. “These are high jumpers and long jumpers. They just hit 4-10 in the last meet which broke our indoor record at school and they’re kind of a dynamic jumping duo and they seem to do PR together. They both came inches away from hitting 5 feet. That would have been a great moment.”

JUMPERS PERFORMING RED SWIVELS

Nathan “Dru” Hyndman excelled in the vaults for Edward Little.

Hyndman jumped 20 feet in the long jump and 40-07.5 in the triple jump, He won both events at the Red Eddies’ last regular season meeting on January 22. He also jumped 5-06 and finished third in the high jump.

After learning from Jake Jackson, an Edward Little star jumper who graduated last spring, Hyndman has come into his own this year.

“He’s had a great season,” said Angie Jalbert, Edward Little’s coach. “He is very close to the school record in the long jump. Jake was his mentor. When you watch him it’s very similar, his shape is similar and so it was a nice thing to watch him being cared for there.

Hyndman’s best long jump is 20-8.75, which ranks third in the A class. His triple jump best of 40-11 ranks sixth.

Jalbert said that Hyndman had a long jump of more than 21 feet the last time Edward Little met, but it was measured incorrectly.

“My thing for him is that he proves he can do it,” Jalbert said. “It would have been 21-something. They measured a good 15 inches behind.”

A few other jumpers have made waves for the Red Eddies throughout the season, including Gavin Therriault and Weston Hartley.

“Weston jumped up; I think he was a 36-foot jumper, but he’s gotten to 38s in the last two meetings,” Jalbert said. “Your first time makes you wonder if it’s a fluke, but the first meet he did two jumps out of three and the last meet he had a 37 foot jump and a 38 foot jump. Gavin, he was a 38 and he’s never been a 38 either.”

Breya Whitman has since improved.

“Breya also improved most of the girls in all three of her events,” said Jalbert. “She’s doing all three jumps and is so close to 5-2 in the high jump and I know she’s going to do it. If not this year, then definitely next year. Lilly Watkins had never triple jumped but we taught her and she is now our best triple jumper.”

Watkins jumped 30-08.5 at the last meeting for the Red Eddies.


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