After Charges Dismissed, Tzuriel Pedigo Continues To Throw

Noticeably absent from the Louisiana High School State Athletic Association Championships last weekend was the nation's top javelin thrower, Tzuriel Pedigo

But in truth, it's been a very complicated season for the Baton Rouge Parkview Baptist (LA) senior, who in July was arrested after allegations of oral sexual battery and second degree rape after a prom party when he was just 17-years-old.  

In the nearly year since, Pedigo, now 18, saw his formal charges dismissed at a preliminary hearing in November by the Louisiana Assistant District Attorney after no evidence or probable cause was presented by the state.

In the meantime, Pedigo, a former football player for the Class 3A school in Baton Rouge who sat out his senior year as a result of this case, concentrated on throwing.

Undoubtedly, it's one of the only things the senior, an all-state javelin thrower in Louisiana as a junior, could control in 2018 as he managed to boost his season and career bests in the event.

He won the Texas Relays in March with a US No. 13 all-time throw of 234-11, then upped that mark to 238-6 at the Penn Relays -- a meet record -- exactly a month later, moving to US No. 11 all-time. Louisiana's state championship record is 210-2, last set by St. Paul's Preston Chatham in 2006.

Pedigo, however, did not qualify for state since he did not compete at a qualifying meet. 

Now the senior, who will graduate with his class but won't walk with his peers, has hopes of earning a spot on Team USA at the U20 World Championships in July in Finland. He'll continue his season in June at Great Southwest in New Mexico, then will follow with a potential qualifier for U20s at the USATF Junior Championships in Indiana. 

Pedigo's father, David, would not speak on the record about allegations against his son, per consultation from the family's lawyer. 

Through public records, the night in question was recorded by an East Baton Rouge Parish Sherriff's Report. On May 25, through a victim's statement, the night emerges. 

Teenagers found themselves at a post-prom party on July 25 with alcohol when, according to the victim, she and Pedigo went into a kitchen pantry, where he forced himself on her and raped her. The victim reported the pair went back to the pantry later to "discuss what transpired" before Pedigo pinned her arms down and raped her again. 

The victim said, "she confronted him about the assault" the next week over text messages and in person while also recording the encounters. Pedigo allegedly said, "he was a monster" for what he had done.

At the time the state put together its case to arrest Pedigo in July, the 17-year-old was preparing to compete at the USATF Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Kansas. 

Pedigo was arrested on July 25 and posted $40,000 bond the same day, though in a preliminary hearing in November, a joint motion for release was presented and the state dismissed the charges. The motion was put in writing in December. 

Following his arrest in July, Pedigo and his family made preparations with Parkview Baptist School, a private christian school in central Louisiana, for the upcoming school year and track and field season.

The incoming senior never lost his eligibility with the LHSAA after the case was dismissed and the family later made an unwritten agreement for Pedigo to compete in events where Parkview Baptist would not be competing. 

Parkview Baptist's track and field coach entered Pedigo individually under the school's name to the Sugar Bowl Track and Field Classic, the Texas Relays, the Oregon Relays, and the Penn Relays.  

Pedigo won every single one of his events, with all four marks landing farther than any of his attempts in 2017. 

Academically, Pedigo took his coursework online through Parkview Baptist, moving away from the classroom. When testing was required through courses, the senior went to Parkview Baptist individually and was supervised by a school counselor. 

Recruiting changed drastically for Pedigo, who finished his junior season with a best of 204-8 at The Texas Relays. He later threw 204-7 at the USATF Junior Olympic meet -- less than a week after his arrest -- and another 203-4.5 attempt at the Great Southwest Classic. 

Pedigo has not signed with an NCAA program and does not currently have any Division I scholarship offers, though he has fielded interest from a few collegiate programs.

David Pedigo said on the record that he believes his son, "is innocent," and that, "he is a great son, an awesome older brother, and a hero to his little sister, and is held in high regard by those who know him best."