July 17, 1984
Personal Best Outdoors
17.39m – 2009
Personal Best Indoors
16.48m – 2009
Newburgh, New York
Newburgh Free Academy
Harvard University (graduated in 2006)
The University of Texas at Austin (graduated in 2007)
Georgetown University Law Center (class of 2010)
My infatuation, scratch that, ‘passion’ for athletics began when I was in the 7th grade. Though it may seem comical now, back then I was relegated to the distance events because of my size. Even though I’d joined the team to do the same events as my favorite track and field athletes, the sprints, I ended up running the mile, 2-mile and steeplechase that year. I remember my singlet being so big that I had to pin it in the back for it to fit properly, and I remember having enough time during the races to fix it when it began to slide off of my shoulder or talk to the people next to me. Things changed rather quickly, but not by choice. The next year, my mile run time during tryouts was too slow for me to be on the team; so I picked up tennis. After nearly three years of steady improvement, during which time I even played for my high school tennis team, the 2000 Sydney Olympics essentially forced me back to athletics.
During those Olympics I watched and recorded every athletics event. The Games served as my inspiration to turn back to the sport. So using what little knowledge I had (emphasis on ‘little’), I began to train myself in anticipation of the 2000-2001 season. I ran a bit here and there and lifted weights during the fall to get in shape. I figured that was better than nothing! Since I’d gotten a bit taller or ‘longer’ since my last stint with the team I was able to negotiate my way into the 200m/400m group with some horizontal jumping sprinkled in to help the team with points. Unfortunately, my return was short lived as I had to step away from the track once again, this time to focus on my schooling and…debating since I’d been a member of the debate team since the 8th grade. At least this time I had decided on my own to leave the team and I still trained a little bit and even competed at New York’s Empire State Games during the summer. It was during my senior year of high school though, that I was first able to get a full year of athletics.
My high school coach, Malcolm Burks, and I actually made some gains that year in what had quickly become my best event, the triple jump. I improved from the 42 feet (12.80m) I’d been jumping the year before to 45 feet (13.70m) indoors and then 46 feet (14m) outdoors which was good enough for 3rd place at the State Championships. Along the way I’d been recruited by nearly all the Ivy League Schools except Harvard and one other. Still, by the spring I’d decided to go there for college and spent much of the summer emailing the jumps coach to find out if I was good enough to make the team, let alone travel to meets with them.
In my four years at Harvard I improved over 7 feet (2.15m). I spent a good amount of time in the weight room to improve my strength, and even more time learning my event. After two second place finishes at the conference championships in my freshman year, I placed first, indoors and outdoors, for the next two years. In my junior year, although I battled a bit with some injuries, I was able to achieve the status of All-American at the NCAA Championships. At that meet, I also set what was the Ivy League record for a time and is still the Harvard University record. Unfortunately, the following year I struggled some more with injury and was forced to “red shirt” my final outdoor season. Even though it was incredibly difficult to watch the team I had been voted captain of, from the sidelines, as you know, “we consider blessed those who have persevered” (James 5:11).
My injury enabled me to use my final season of collegiate eligibility at The University of Texas. Though the season itself was a roller coaster ride, the year I spent there was invaluable. I developed in ways I wouldn’t have if I had gone straight to law school and perhaps more importantly, I met people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. While I was able to return to my 2005 form, I could not remain consistent and I am still disappointed with my results on the track in that year. Thanks to my early season performances though, I had achieved the Pan American Games standard and it is in 2007 that I first competed under the Haitian flag. Although I was born in the United States, both of my parents and the majority of my extended family had emigrated from Haiti which allowed me to represent the nation at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and I have done so since then.
After finishing my graduate program and taking into account my experience in Brazil, dropping the triple jump to focus entirely on law school was not an option. As difficult as I had heard law school was, I was confident that I could continue the juggling act I’d been managing since my high school days. It has certainly been extremely demanding to simultaneously tackle law school, the world of corporate law firms and the triple jump, but I have at the very least continued to grow and develop as a person, a scholar, an aspiring attorney and an athlete. Those two things, growth and development, are all that I can ask for in athletics and otherwise. Thankfully, the fabulous people in my life keep me striving for more. They prevent my desire to climb mountains from dissipating and make those mountains seem half as tall.
See you at the top.