Ticonderoga Jay Hebert is breathing rarified air these days.
The Ticonderoga High School junior won a pair of state titles at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association indoor track championships March 2. Then things got crazy.
Following the meet the 55-meter hurdle specialist learned he had become the top athlete in his event in the nation.
“It’s amazing,” Hebert said. “I never could have expected that this year. To be the top-ranked hurdler in the country is unbelievable.”
Hebert was clocked in 7.31 seconds in the championship race at Cornell University, setting a new personal and Section VII record. In fact, he broke his own section and school records in both the preliminary and semifinal rounds.
“I have been running well,” Hebert said. “I felt good going into the meet, but I knew it would be hard. The competition, especially in the final, is always tough.”
It was. Cory Keefe of Oswego was second in 7.40 seconds — 9/100ths of a second behind.
The win gave Hebert both the NYSPHAA and Federation championships. The NYSPHAA includes all the state’s public schools while the Federation includes both public and private schools.
Following the meet, MileSplit.com, a website that tracks high school and collegiate track and cross country athletes nationally, announced Hebert had become the top-ranked hurdler in the United States.
“How low can Hebert go?,” MileSplit asked. “Ticonderoga junior Jay Hebert is the new national leader in the 55m hurdles. Running 7.31, he broke his own personal best by over .12 seconds. He is our athlete of the meet!”
Hebert will be back in action March 16 at the high school national championship meet in New York City’s Armory. His new national ranking makes him a marked man.
“There’s a lot of pressure,” Hebert admitted. “Before I was hoping to make it to the podium (medal), but now everyone will expect me to win. That’s what I’ll try and do.”