For as successful and as diverse as Lely’s Liciane St. Jean’s track season was, it’s clear to see that the best is yet to come.
Yet, being named the Naples Daily News girls track and field Player of the Year isn’t bad either.
After winning the triple jump event in every meet during the regular season, St. Jean just missed out on a first-place finish in regionals and finished third at the 2A state meet. She also placed eighth overall in the long jump at state, and was the first runner for the 4x100 relay team that qualified for the meet as well.
Her performance throughout the year is what has Lely girls track coach Nick Young excited for next season, and her versatility and determination should complement even bigger expectations for her senior season.
“This was the first year that we had her compete in the long jump, and all season long she was the lead-off runner on a relay team that reset the school record five times this season,” Young said. “She loves jumping. We don’t have to convince her to come out and work.”
For his work with a talented girls team, Young was named the girls track Coach of the Year.
Young said, “I have my mixed emotions about being named “coach of the year. The truth is, I did so much Less coaching this year than I did last year, or the year before. Coaches get way too much praise for having really good athletes, and way too much grief for having bad athletes.”
Young said it was his seniors who led the way and the team followed.
“I was not notified of being named Coach of the Year, or I would have declined the honor,” he said. I had a really good group of athletes who loved to compete, who were not afraid to work hard for each other. My three senior captains are the true “coaches of the year” for our team.”
St. Jean finished as Lely’s top point scorer this year, and has already been penciled in as one of the team captains in 2012. After such a successful campaign, she’s already thinking about how to outdo herself and come away with at least a gold medal next year.
I think that this was one of the best seasons ever – winning the conference and the Eagle Invitational,” she said. “I’m happy I went to state in three events and placed in the long jump. Hopefully next year, I will end up leaving with a gold in the triple jump.”
Her explosiveness is evident not only in her jumps but in how she starts races. Although her 4x100 relay team changed combinations several times throughout the season, she remained its first runner. Her natural athleticism has Young considering adding her to the 300-meter hurdles event next year.
Her willingness to compete and positive attitude are what she hopes will rub off on her teammates next season, as she attributes this year’s seniors to have a similar impact on her.
“Being a go-to girl makes me feel good. I never say no. I like trying new things,” she said. “In my own way, I hope I can lead us to being more successful. We came really close to winning districts this season, and I hope that next season we can accomplish even more.”
Roger LaLonde contributed to the story.