This afternoon, Jyles Etienne added another milestone to what is already one of the greatest individual careers in Stony Brook Athletics history. With a leap of 6′ 10″, the junior claimed the Division II New York State Championship to become just the sixth individual State Champion in school history, joining Mark Whitney (1977 – Cross Country), Laura Whitney (1977-79, 1981 – Cross Country), Andy Whitney (1978 – Cross Country/ 1979 – 2 Mile), Roger Wycoff (1983 – 500 Freestyle), and Taylor Colucci (2012 – 200 Meters).
He also became just the third Brooker to win a Federation State Championship by turning in the highest jump overall at the meet. Laura Whitney won Federation State titles in cross country in 1977 and 1979 and Andy Whitney was the 1979 Federation Champion in the 2 Mile. In order to win the title, Etienne had to best the large school champion, Daniel Claxton of Smithtown East, who edged Jyles the week before at the Section XI Championships.
Before the meet, Stony Brook track legend Don Lockerbie ’75 had some encouraging words for Jyles:
You are only a junior and so the pressure is not on you – but God’s gift and blessing is upon you and so concentrate on all you have learned and jump with a free and joyful spirit, being relaxed so you energize your gifts to experience the greatest possible results. If you stay relaxed and enjoy the moment – you will jump higher than ever.Coaching: make sure you feel comfortable with the “speed of the apron”… if it feels fast or slower than the SBS apron then adjust accordingly for your steps. God bless you today and going forward. I am your new biggest fan!
Jyles came into the event tied for the #1 spot in New York State and his performance lived up to expectations as he soared to the highest mark in either division, tied for the highest jump at the meet since 2001, and claimed the highest mark for a Division II jumper since at least 2000 (records are incomplete before that).
Jyles chose to enter the competition at 6′ 4″ and cleared it on his first attempt. From there, he lived on the edge. At 6′ 6″ he missed his first two attempts, before clearing on his third. He elected to pass at 6′ 7″ before clearing 6′ 8″ on his third attempt. His counterpart, Brandon Burke of Byron-Bergen-Elba, also cleared 6′ 8″ on his final attempt to stay in the competition.
At that point Burke had the edge if it came down to a tiebreaker, as a result of having one fewer miss at the previous height. Jyles elected to skip 6′ 9″ and move to 6′ 10″ while Burke decided to continue with the prescribed progression and move to 6′ 9″. The decision was a calculated one on Jyles’ part. Having already jumped seven times with four misses, he was hoping to conserve his energy, but it was not a choice without risk. If he missed on his three attempts at 6′ 10″, Burke would be the champion even if he did not clear 6′ 9″ due to the fact that he had fewer misses at the previous height. With a title on the line, Jyles rose to the occasion once again and cleared 6′ 10″ on his second attempt. Burke missed on all three of his attempts at 6’9″ giving Jyles the crown. Jyles continued on to 7′ 0.25″ and narrowly missed breaking the seven-foot barrier.
Jyles has risen to the top of New York State, but his season is not yet over, continuing next weekend at the New Balance Outdoor National Championships in Greensboro, NC. The winning height at last year’s meet was 7′ 1.5″.
“I was scared because I was clearing the [early] heights on my third attempts. But then I put it together on 6′ 10″ and made a good jump.”
~ Jyles to Newsday
New York State Overall Top 5
|1.||Jyles Etienne||Stony Brook||Division II||6′ 10″|
|2.||Daniel Claxton||Smithtown East||Division I||6′ 8″|
|3.||Brandon Burke||Byron-Bergen-Elba||Division II||6′ 8″|
|4.||Malick Diamande||Bethlehem||Division I||6′ 6″|
|5.||Kavon Hunt||Auburn||Division I||6′ 6″|
Jyles Etienne is fueled by the sun, and as the skies opened up at Cicero-North Syracuse, so did the higher heights. The Bahamian-native took the win at 6-10, before making strong attempts at 7-feet. Dan Claxton took home the D1 title and Long Island has once again taken the top two spots at states. Your top three athletes are all underclassmen, so we’re sure to see a rematch again next year.
~ MileSplit NY