Trying for Rio

LeLeux competes at Olympic Trials tonight

Officially, Morgann LeLeux is still in college so she can’t go out and look for sponsors to help her with her dream of going into the world of professional track and field.

That may change tonight.

LeLeux, the former Catholic High, University of Georgia, and most recently, Louisiana-Lafayette pole vault standout, competes in her second U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials tonight at the University of Oregon with the hope of finishing in the top three and earning a trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August to compete at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.

The USATF trials come on the heels of LeLeux’s second-place finish in her final collegiate competition at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Both the NCAA meet and the Olympic trials are at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.

“It was actually one of the hardest losses I’ve ever taken because I went in there so confident,” said LeLeux, who also finished second in the NCAA Outdoor Track meet as a freshman at Georgia. “I wanted to end with that win but it just wasn’t my time.

“Now I have bigger things to worry about. I have to push that loss to the side and focus on what I’m about to take on.”

If there was one disappointment for LeLeux in her college career, it was not winning an outdoor pole vault title. Considering that the CHS grad came very close to having her career end before it really got going, the fact that she finished second this year is a good thing.

LeLeux had to have emergency surgery on a detached retina during her sophomore year which caused her a setback, but she returned from it to compete at the NCAA regionals in 2013.

She finished out her career at Georgia, graduated from the university in 2015, then transferred to UL-Lafayette to finish out her collegiate career.

At UL-Lafayette this spring, she broke the school record for the pole vault twice, including her own record set a week previously; finished as an All-American in track and field and was named Sun Belt Conference Field Student Athlete of the Year.

During her college career she was an All-American six times (including indoor titles), Southeastern Conference Outdoor Champion twice and Sun Belt Conference Champion.

“It was a last-minute decision to switch (to UL) but it was the best decision for me and things worked out,” said LeLeux, who won 10 state pole vault titles (indoor and outdoor) during her career at Catholic High.

Now the 22-year-old, who competed at the trials for the 2012 London Games but did not make the team, takes another stab at making the Olympics when the pole vault competition begins today at 5 p.m.

“I’m excited because it’s my second one,” she said. “I’m a little more experienced this year and I’m hoping to make the finals and place top five and get a shot at going to Rio.

“The girls are good this year. They are a tough, talented group but I’m one of them and I’m ready to show them what I have.”

LeLeux heads into the competition on a high after clearing 15 feet during the Independence Day vault at New Heights Gym, the first time she’s cleared that height.

She also returns to a facility she became familiar with after finishing second in the NCAA at the same stadium.

“I think that will help tremendously because I know where everything is in relation to the pole vault area,” LeLeux said. “I’m ready.”


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