Call it the return of the native, Cajun style.
When Morgann Leleux finished her career as an All-American pole vaulter at Georgia, she turned her attention to graduate school and earning her MBA.
But Leleux, a multiple national champion at Catholic High-New Iberia, also had some competitive fires to stoke after her December graduation at UGA.
So she came home, enrolled at UL and joined the Ragin’ Cajuns program for one more season in the sun.
Leleux debuted with a splash on Saturday, winning the pole vault with a 13-9.25 clearance to highlight the concluding day of Louisiana Classics at Cajun Track.
“When I graduated in December and decided to go to graduate school, I knew I wanted to be close to my father (Shane, her coach for years),” said Leleux, who quickly supplanted the school-record 12-8.5 set last year by Meredith Driskell. “It’s very nice to finish my career at home.”
This is no low-key swan song, either. Leleux still has drive.
“We’ve changed the brand of poles we use,” she said. “We have to figure that out. I need to get on a larger pole and get comfortable. Then, it’s a matter of time. I got on a stiffer pole today, and it’s still too small.
“This should be a fun year, to see how high I can go.”
Leleux had three tries Saturday at 14-7, just beyond her 14-6.75 best, and has qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.
“She’ll jump 15 this year,” said UL coach and former Cajun pole vaulter Lon Badeaux. “Three in the US have cleared 16, so making the team is tough, but somebody always makes it at 15-3.
“It’s nice to have her. I’ve known Shane for years, recruited Morgann (while coaching) at Arkansas State, three months before I got the job here. We could have had her for five years, but it’s good that it worked out for her to come home.”
UL’s only other Saturday win was Alena Hrusoci’s 1:01.23 in the women’s 400-meter hurdles. Courtney Musgrove was the 5000 runner-up and Morgan Cormier was third in the men’s 400 hurdles, but success was hard to find.
Also, men’s 4×100 relay anchor Jeryl Brazil tweaked a tender hamstring and could not finish a promising race.
“This was a day where we put everyone in their main event to see where we’re at,” Badeaux said. “We had a few up, a lot of down. We didn’t manage the elements well. It’s not time to panic; it’s time for evaluation.
“It was a shame with the 4×100. The other three had a great day. We were way out front. Maybe I expect too much, too early. Go figure.
“We have high-level talent on this team. We need to develop the middle tier.”
It’s nice to know Leleux has her event covered.