Gautreaux, LeLeux aim for pole vault state championship

Two Catholic High athletes, one heading toward the end of his prep career and the other at the beginning of hers, have their eyes on the same prize this season as the outdoor track campaign gets under way this week with the running of the Streva Relays Friday night at Abbeville High.

Senior Gavin Gautreaux is looking to close out his career with the one award that has escaped him through four years of pole vault competition at Catholic High — a state title in his signature event.

The other, eighth grader Reagann LeLeux, enters the outdoor season already with one state title, having claimed the indoor state championship in the pole vault last month, and is looking to make it a sweep with the Class 3A pole vault championship at the LHSAA state outdoor track and field meet at LSU in May.

“Indoor was good for me,” said Gautreaux. “We went to Reno (Nev.) where there were thousands of jumpers and I PR’d (set a personal record) and jumped 16-8 (16 feet, 8 inches) over there.

“Didn’t do as good as I wanted at the state indoor. It was a new track and we all had to get used to it and I came out second in the qualifier at LSU and second in state. It wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be but it was a good indoor year.”

Gautreaux has been pole vaulting for five years under the watchful eye of his uncle, Shane LeLeux, at New Heights Gym. During that time he has progressed from neophyte to top-flight jumper and last week signed at scholarship offer from Samford University.

“It turned out to be what I thought it was going to be,” said Gautreaux. “I just thought that I would be jumping a little higher than what I’m doing right now. But you have to keep working hard and doing what you have to do to get to the spot that you need.”

It’s not that Gautreaux hasn’t had success at the high school level. He’s won several meets in his four years at CHS but has never won the big prize, a state championship.

He’s been close, but each time someone has outjumped him in the end.

Now that his prep career is winding down, he would like to reach some goals before graduation in May.

“I want to jump 17-2 or higher,” said Gautreaux. “But I really want to win that outdoor state championship. I want to take down that state championship this year and then hopefully make a run at nationals this summer.”

As for LeLeux, her high school career got off with a bang last month when she won the state indoor meet at LSU. It was a moment that great for her but was also a moment that will be repeated several times over during her high school career. She is the younger sister of former Catholic High and current University of Georgia standout pole vaulter Morgann LeLeux

“It was a blast,” LeLeux said. “I felt really good and I got to do something that my sister never did. I got on the big pole, jumped 11-7, which was a big PR for me and I broke her indoor record as an eighth grader. That is a big accomplishment in my family.”

The excitement of doing something that her more well-known older sister never did is something that really drives the younger LeLeux.

While Morgann LeLeux owns 10 state championships in the pole vault from her time at Catholic High, she never won the indoor title as an eighth grader. Now that Regann LeLeux has done something that Morgann never did, the younger sister is setting her sights on taking down more records from older sister.

“I really look up to her and what she has done,” said LeLeux, who started training with her dad, Shane, when she was eight years old. “Watching my sister grow up through this process, it made me realize now that I have the same techniques, more strength, more speed and ability, my dad gets to make it better for me than he could for Morgann.”

LeLeux’s first state title has been the biggest thrill so far of her young pole vault career. Now that the outdoor season is beginning, she can go for even more height.

“I’m just looking to jump higher,” said LeLeux. “The wind is going to be blowing so it will take me off of my feet and I will definitely jump higher than I did indoors.

“And I always thought that whatever I did indoors, I can do two feet higher outdoors.”

So the goal for LeLeux is to win the outdoor title this year, then work on next year. She wants to tie her older sister with 10 state championships and in the process, take down all of Morgann’s records both at the prep level and at the national level.

“I definitely want to follow in her footsteps,” said LeLeux.

“Gavin is right on target,” said Shane LeLeux, who coaches both. “He had a small peak indoors but it wasn’t where he needed to be for outdoors. Our goal is to jump over 17 (feet) outdoors and he’s doing everything he needs to get there.

“Reagann came up big. She PR’d three meets in a row. She’s growing up. Having Morgann leading the way with the blue print, now we just have to follow what we did way back then.

“She’s getting started young and she’s competing while she’s young. The more you compete when you’re young, the better you’re going to be when you get older.”

Two athletes, two cousins, one goal — state champions.





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