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Jun 5, 2018 2:55 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Laurence Barr-Forget Wins Suffolk County Pole Vault Title, And Will Be Joined Upstate By Teammate Juan Lasso

Westhampton Beach sophomore Jack Meigel competed in both the 110-meter high hurdles and high jump at the state qualifier. DREW BUDD
Jun 5, 2018 3:33 PM

Westhampton Beach senior Laurence Barr-Forget went to the Section XI Championships, otherwise known as the state qualifier, this past weekend with one goal in mind: to win the Suffolk County title in the pole vault and qualify for the New York State Track and Field Championships.

He did that and then some.

Barr-Forget not only won his feature event and qualified for states, which is this weekend at Cicero/North Syracuse High School, but he qualified for New Balance Outdoor Nationals by clearing 14 feet 8 inches, which improves his own school record. The only other pole vaulter in the county who cleared 14 feet was Bay Shore senior Jordan Norris, who cleared 14 feet 3 inches.

Barr-Forget will be joined upstate with junior teammate Juan Lasso, who placed second in the county in the 800-meter run in 1:54.80. Lasso will also be joining Barr-Forget at Nationals, along with Jack Meigel (high jump) and a distance medley relay team of Lasso, Ermel Bautista, Keiran Ryan and Alex Lidonnici. Gavin Ehlers will run in the freshman mile.

“It was something I was aiming for since this past winter since it was the national qualifying height,” Barr-Forget said of his height at counties. “But being able to do it at a big meet and win a county title, it was huge. It was a great feeling.

“It was a really good competition,” he added. “All the other athletes were really moving the bar and all the coaches were helping out. At 14 feet, the weather started to clear up really nice so I thought I had a really good shot at it. We put the bar up there and I got it on my first try.”

Barr-Forget, who will continue his track and field career at Vassar College, is heading upstate for the second time. He cleared 13 feet 3 inches last year and will look to finish at least in the top eight to reach the podium. While he isn’t necessarily gunning to reach 15 feet he did say that it’s quite possible that’s what it’s going to take to get on the podium.

Lasso had a strong run in the 800 and was leading much of the race before being passed on the final stretch by Northport senior Elijah Claiborne. Since he finished in second place, Lasso needed to finish under the state qualifying standard of 1:54.84, which he did by 0.04 of the second. This weekend will be Lasso’s debut at the outdoors state meet. In addition to running in the 800, Lasso ran in the 1,600-meter race where he finished 21st in 4:45.06.

Jack Meigel, a sophomore, just missed out on qualifying for states in the high jump. The top-seeded jumper among large school athletes with a personal best of 6 feet 6 inches, Meigel reached 6 feet 2 inches and had to settle for a tie for third place. Meigel also finished 14th in the 110-meter high hurdles in 16.73 seconds.

The Hurricanes 4x800-meter relay team placed ninth in the county in 8:21.61. Bautista, Lasso, Ryan and Lidonnici made up that team.

The Westhampton Beach girls track team was well represented at the state qualifier but none of the athletes qualified for states. Senior Kayla Berman came the closest, finishing fourth in the 400-meter dash in 57.38 seconds. Natalie Ehlers, a junior, had a top-10 finish in the 1,500-meter racewalk. She crossed the finish line in 7:24.49.

Ashley Steedman, a freshman, placed 11th in both the 1,500- and 3,000-meter races. She finished the 1,500 in 4:56.24 and the 3,000 in 10:47.91. Oceane Ode, a freshman, finished 13th in the 100-meter dash in 12.96 seconds. Sophomore Kathleen Kelly placed 12th in the triple jump with a leap of 35 feet 1¼ inches. Sophomore Sydnie Mason finished 15th in the pole vault, reaching 8 feet 6 inches. And the 4x400-meter relay team of Berman, Maeve Murphy, Grace Kwiatkowski and Julia Smith finished 13th in 4:15.77.

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