Most Ticonderoga High School students were sleeping-in the morning of June 12. Classes had ended the day before and a little shuteye was in order after a long school year.
Not for Jay Hebert.
While others were dreaming of future success, Hebert was working to make his dreams a reality. The rising junior was on the school track, working out. That’s why Hebert is a champion.
Hebert has established himself as one of the most successful Section VII track and field athletes ever.
Hebert won the New York State Public High School Athletic Association small-school championship June 9 in the 110-meter hurdles. He then won the New York Federation championship, which pits the top eight runners from schools of all sizes against each other.
Hebert went undefeated this season with a best time of 14.07 seconds — the fastest time in New York and the fourth fastest high school time in the nation, according to his coach. The Olympic B qualifying standard is 13.72 seconds. He’s only 1.2 seconds away from the world record in the 110 hurdles held by Cuba’s Dayron Robles.
Ti Coach Walter Thorne believes Hebert can run in the Olympics, but the Sentinel champion is more reserved than his coach.
“That’s too far away to think about,” Hebert said. “I just want to work hard, improve and run in college.”
Hebert is just one champion area residents can take pride in. Section VII athletes won three state titles at the track and field championships June 8 and 9. Also bringing home championships were Dan Lennon of Peru in the Division II 3,200-meter run, and the Beekmantown 400-meter relay team of Jess Huber, Mikaela Frechette, Kallie Villemaire and Courtney Wilson.
Hebert and Lennon ran in the high school national championship track meet last weekend in Greensboro, N.C., proving their mettle once again.
Hebert finished second in his heat of the 110-meter hurdles in the “emerging elite” class.
Lennon battled all the way before finishing third in the 5,000-meter championship race. He also added a 22nd place finish in the championship two-mile race. Lennon, who graduates this weekend, will take his talents to the Syracuse University cross country and track programs in the fall.
What makes a champion? Certainly talent plays a huge role. So does work ethic.
Kenyan distance runners, who dominate distance running throughout the world, often comment, “Somewhere, right now, one of my competitors is running.” It’s a reminder that dedication can never wane.
Jay Hebert, Dan Lennon and a handful of others, although still young, know that. It’s one of the reasons they’re champions — champions we can all be proud of.
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