Jay Hebert raises his hand after claiming the 110-meter hurdles Division II championship June 7.
Everything had built to the final three races in the New York State high school career of Ticonderoga senior Jay Hebert.
Running in the 110 hurdles at the NYSPHSAA outdoor track and field championships at Cicero-North Syracuse High School June 7, Hebert scored two more state titles, claiming both the Division II and Federation championships with times of 14.06 and 14.10 seconds, respectively.
“Today I felt great and I thought I was going to hit the 14.0 barrier,” Hebert said. “Every title means as much as the last one. “I was not able to get a personal best, but they were my two best runs of the season and I was within two-one-hundreths of my personal best.”
The day prior, Hebert claimed the top time in the preliminary rounds with a time of 14.14 seconds.
Hebert then went out midday Saturday, June 7, and scored the Division II title. Shortly after receiving his gold medal on the podium, he was back on the track where he scored the victory in the federation event, which includes runners from small schools, large schools and private schools from throughout the state.
“Coming off the Division II finals I had to stick with what I was doing and I had a good finish,” Hebert said. “The Division II title is nice, but to prove to everybody that I was the best in the state was the goal.”
It was the fifth 110 hurdles title for Hebert, who will next compete in the New Balance Outdoor National meet at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C., June 13-15.
“I am hoping that I can go down there and be right there with the rest of the athletes,” Hebert said.
Taking a moment to reflect on his high school career, Hebert said when he started track in the seventh grade, he never expected what was going to happen over those five years.
“I never imagined I would be on this stage,” he said. “Coach (Walter Thorne) sticking with me was a big help in my career and my parents taking me to the big meets and always supporting me is something that has been very important to me. I do not think any athlete would be here without the help of their parents.”
Thorne said a key to Hebert’s championship career has been the way he has carried himself in his community and with his fellow competitors.
“He has put Ticonderoga on the map and has done so with great style,” Thorne said. “All of the athletes in the state admire and respect the way he carries himself.”
Thorne said Hebert has answered every challenge he has faced, including facing the best fields in the state, while growing into a leader for the Sentinels.
“It has been fantastic to watch him each year get better and better,” Thorne said. “He has been a leader and a captain and helps with the younger hurdlers to the point that I now have more then I ever have in the program.”
One of those hurdlers, Shawn Silliman, joined Hebert at the state championship meet, running the 110 hurdles in the preliminary rounds but finishing 11th with a time of 15.61 seconds, about one-half second off of the pace for a top eight finish for a final appearance.
“They are each others biggest fans,” Thorne said. “A lot of Shawn’s success comes because of what Jay has done with him and Shawn is now the heir apparent and I look for him to have a fantastic 2015.”
“Jay has some really big shoes to fill,” Silliman said. “He taught me all I could know about hurdles. He has been there for me and all I can do is be there for him. Next year, I am looking to get out of the prelims and into the final.”
“To have someone here to talk to and hang out with at the hotel has been great,” Hebert said. “I am very happy that he stuck around the extra day to cheer me on and I know he will have a great season next year.”
Silliman said he was pleased with his performance.
“It was better than I would have thought,” he said. “I got hit over the first hurdle and had to get over that quick. It was a fun run, though, and I can’t wait to do it again.”