continued Hebert has no expectations for the national meet.
“I just want to go experience the entire thing,” the Ti student said. “Next year and the year after I hope I can really compete at nationals. I still have a lot of learn.”
Hebert dominated the New York State championship meet. He won his preliminary heat in 14.35 seconds, the fastest time of all qualifiers. He then won the small-school title in 14.33, the best time of the entire meet, before winning the Federation crown in 14.41. The Federation race was run in wet conditions.
“I got off to a decent start,” Hebert said of win in the Federation race. “At about the fifth or sixth hurdle I couldn’t see anyone in my peripheral vision. That’s when I really tried to pick it up.”
Hebert said he was confident going into the state and Federation meets.
“After the Eddy Meet when I posted the 14.07 everyone made a big deal about it,” he said. “I started to think maybe I could win at states.”
His coach agrees. The Eddy Meet was a turning point.
“The key (to the state championship) is that he’d done it before,” Thorne said. “Jay ran at the Eddy Meet earlier this season and beat most of the same people who were at states. He had done it before. All he had to do at states was run his race.”
The Eddy Meet, held each year at Union College in Schenectady, is one of the most competitive high school meets in the Northeast.
Even with his earlier success, Hebert was nervous heading into the state meet.
“I don’t usually get nervous before a race, but I’ve never been so nervous in my life,” he said. “I was the top seed so I knew everyone was gunning for me. Coach always tells me to not worry about the other runners, to just run my race. That’s what I did.”