Stephen Pierre certainly wants to be the best, and win any and all of his various events. But more importantly, he wants to be HIS best.

Leavitt’s Stephen Pierre won the 110-meter hurdles during the KVAC Small School track and field championships May 24 on the Stadium Field track in Topsham. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

This season, he was — eventually.

“The biggest challenges I believe I faced this season were all technical — as in I spent a lot of time completely reforming my long jump, put more attention into high jump with (assistant coach Nicole) Fletcher, and really had to work on hurdles towards the end of the season after the injury at the Fleet Feet Invitational,” the Leavitt junior said. “That all took a lot of mental and physical conditioning that definitely affected the way my season concluded.”

Pierre’s spring concluded with three Class B state titles and a runner-up finish on a tiebreaker. It was all icing on a cake that proved difficult to bake.

“He got injured at the Fleet Feet meet (on May 11). It really was hard on him,” Leavitt boys track and field coach Jamie Juntura said. “It taught him patience with injury and gave him the rest his body needed to perform incredibly well at states.”

Along the way, Pierre set new school records in the high jump and the 110-meter hurdles.


“Of all the meets I completed this season, the most notable to me was a meet held at Mt. Ararat, where I unexpectedly hit a high jump PR/school record of 6-5,” Pierre said. “This probably wouldn’t be considered my most impressive or even most exciting meet, but I remember vividly thinking something along the lines of, ‘If only freshman me could see that!'”

“When he hit 6-5 at the MTA meet (May 3), it really opened the doors to what was possible this season,” Juntura said. “Then he broke the school record in the hurdles (at KVACs), a record set by Willie Hall in 1996.”

Pierre bested Hall’s 1996 mark of 14.95 seconds with a KVAC Small School championship-winning run of 14.85.

Neither of those were his proudest moments, however. Pierre said his main focus coming into the season was setting as many personal records as possible, and a new long jump PR topped the charts for him.

“All through the season I had to change my jumping form in some drastic ways,” he said. “This was hard because of the 1-5 rule, meaning any time I do the wrong technique, that’s five points away from success, and any time I do it correctly it’s only 1 point closer. This led to me spending a large amount of my practices solely gaining points where they’re needed, and it felt good to cash them in for a new PR.”

Juntura said the goals and expectations for Pierre before every season always start with PRs and technique improvement.


“Winning and state titles are always there, obviously, but we focus on improvement, and the rest comes with it,” Juntura said.

Pierre was relatively quiet at KVACs, winning only the 110 hurdles title as Leavitt earned the conference crown comfortably, racking up 163.5 points to runner-up Winslow’s 129.5.

He made his presence known at the Class B state meet, in part because he knew the defending state champ Hornets were going to need every point they could get out of him.

Though Leavitt finished second (four points behind Greely, 104-98) Pierre did his part, winning the 110 hurdles in 15.09 seconds, the long jump in 21 feet, 9.25 inches, and the 300 hurdles in 40.87 seconds. He cleared 6 feet, 4 inches in the high jump, but settled for second because York’s Gavin Davis cleared the same height in less attempts.

“Winning three events and placing second in a fourth at a state meet was something I never really knew I was really capable of; if I’m gonna be honest, it hurt,” Pierre said. “I had my moments of frustration, and I didn’t enjoy every second of doing it while it was happening, but that’s track. You’re gonna get scared, you’re gonna feel like you can’t do it and you’re definitely going to face some hard moments, but that doesn’t mean you give up. And I can promise you all those feelings are temporary and you’ll feel way better with yourself if you just do it.”

Pierre suffered through stomach issues after winning the 300 hurdles and before he placed second in the high jump. His fortitude awed Juntura.


“So everyone knows Stephen is a talent and hard-working athlete. However, I have known him since he was in sixth grade, and he surprised me at states when he powered through after the 300 hurdles at states,” Juntura said. “His body was absolutely in pieces. Obviously the stomach issue was happening, however he had very little energy in his body. I had given him permission to stop jumping in high jump if he felt he needed to, but he knew the team needed the points to even have a shot against Greely, so he composed himself and had a very strong jumping day. I was standing near a York coach who said it perfectly: ‘Never count him out.'”

Juntura said it made him proud that Pierre didn’t leave anything on the table this season.

“I am constantly proud of the young man he is becoming,” Juntura said. “He is a fantastic athlete, however, he’s also a fantastic person and teammate, and it’s the combination of both that makes him an all-time great here at Leavitt.”

Pierre still has one more year to add to his legacy at Leavitt.

“As far as goals for the next season, I’d say I really just plan on continuing to try and grow athletically, pushing for new PRs and doing the best I can when I can,” Pierre said. “Other then that, I’d like to branch out to some new events to better round out my abilities and show some colleges I could maybe make out to be a crazy (multi-event athlete).”

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