Two South Lafourche High School track standouts are ready to go for the gold next month in North Carolina.
Rising juniors Evan Duet and Blake Broussard are competing in the javelin at the AAU Junior Olympic Games — an honor they both earned after winning the top prize at a qualifying event earlier this summer at Southeastern Louisiana University.
Broussard threw a personal-best 152-feet at the qualifier, while Duet threw 112-feet.
The Times spent the afternoon with both Duet and Broussard on Thursday during a practice session.
Both competitors said they’re ready to do their best to try and earn the title at the prestigious event.
“I want to go out there and show people that I can compete,” Broussard said. “I want to get my PR again and do the best that I can against the best competition.”
“I’m so super excited,” Duet said. “I’m ready to go. I’m so ready. I’ve been practicing hard and I’m ready to go.”
Both competitors are still pups to the sport, which makes their progress all the more impressive.
Both said they picked up the javelin for the first time competitively in middle school. Each said they didn’t realize they could excel in the sport until this past track season.
For Duet, she said she’s in a race against school history at South Lafourche.
Duet hovers in the mid-to-high 120-foot range, which puts her in rare air in the history of Lady Tarpon track.
The school record for women’s javelin is 128-feet. Duet’s PR was a 127-foot throw she recorded at the Lady Tarpons’ home meet this past season — literally inches short of the record she covets.
Duet said she throws past the record in practice sometimes, but never in a meet, though she still has two full seasons of varsity track to chase down the record.
The 112-foot throw at the AAU Qualifying event is not a number she said she likes to see, adding that she knows she will have to do better than that in North Carolina.
“That wasn’t one of my best throws,” Duet said.
The rising junior said to be so close to the mark motivates her to keep working. Throughout the summer, Duet has spent time practicing, even changing her technique to better utilize all of her body and not just her arm strength when competing.
“I’m really close,” Duet said with a laugh when asked of the record. “My new technique, I believe, will help me get there. It uses my core and it allows me to put my whole body into my throw.”
For Broussard, he said he’s hoping to be peaking at the right time.
The 152-foot throw at the Qualifying event was his best-ever, and he said he’s spent the summer getting bigger, faster and stronger at football workouts.
Broussard said on a good day, he can throw 160-feet, but added that what he’s working on are his fundamentals and repeating his delivery consistently.
When he threw the 152-footer in a competition, he said he couldn’t stop smiling.
“It was like a shock to me, because I had gotten a new record for myself,” Broussard said. It’s just a great feeling and I was proud and excited.”
For both competitors, the summer track season is part of an annual athletic grind.
Broussard is a three-sport standout at South Lafourche. He also competes for the Tarpons’ football and soccer team, in addition to track.
Duet is a starter on the Lady Tarpons’ girls’ basketball team, in addition to her work for the track team. She also plans to run cross country this fall for the first time in her athletic career.
Both student-athletes said they believe staying active helps them in their track and field.
Broussard said being a multi-sport athlete keeps him in shape and teaches him how to compete.
“I’m really competitive,” Broussard said. “My other sports keep me in shape and give me confidence and show me that I can compete.”
Duet added that her other sports help her to maintain the flexibility needed to succeed.
“It helps with your conditioning, but it keeps me flexible and agile. Both of those things help me when track starts.”
And for anyone who’s never thrown a javelin, yes, it’s the same as shooting a basketball or hitting a golf ball or baseball.
When you let it go and it’s a “good one”, you know it right away.
Both said it’s an awesome feeling that’s hard to describe or put into words.
“You can feel it when it’s a good one,” Duet said with a laugh. “As soon as you release it, you can feel it. And it just feels great watching it fly.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s to hoping both Blake and Evan are “feeling it” often in North Carolina! Good luck, friends!