The greatest high school pole vaulter of all-time, Lafayette (LA) High School graduate Mondo Duplantis, has decided to turn pro after a record-filled collegiate season with Louisiana State University, he announced on Monday following his runner-up finish at the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships -- which was his only loss in a collegiate uniform.
Duplantis recorded both the NCAA indoor and outdoor records this year, and reset the World Junior Record in the pole vault with a mark of 6.05 meters. He also owns the high school national record of 5.93 meters. At LSU, he won an SEC Championship with a NCAA leading 6.00 meter clearance.
Duplantis' decision comes less than 24 hours after his brother, Antoine, ended his final season with LSU and will pursue professional baseball after being drafted in the fifth round by the New York Mets. He leaves his college career as LSU's career hits leader.
From a tweet posted on Duplantis' account:
From the first day I pole vaulted, I knew. If I was going to go to college, I was going to LSU. That was never a question. It was a family thing. My mom and dad met at LSU. My brothers came to LSU. Before I ever stepped foot on campus, I was a Tiger. Still, I had a decision to make. If I was going to college was up in the air (sic). After finishing high school, I had to choose: pole vault professionally, or go to school. In the end, I chose LSU. Or maybe LSU chose me. Either way, it was the best decision I've ever made in my life .
As an athlete, I grew. My teammates pushed me to new heights this year. When I was tired, they pushed me into an extra gear. When I was complacent, they challenged me to do better. When i was discouraged, they infused me with confidence. I loved it. It made me better.
I also loved everything about LSU away from the track. There's nothing that matches the feeling of being on campus in the fall, or tailgating for football games, or watching your brother break records during baseball season.
It's all been a dream come true. I always dreamed of wearing purple and gold -- and I did, enjoying every single moment. I always dreamed of winning at LSU -- and we did, winning an SEC Championship we worked so hard for. I always dreamed of setting records -- and I idd, getting to compete in front of my family, friends, and the best fans in the country.
Now, it's time to pursue another dream. In the next 16 months, the best athletes in the world will compete for the World Championships and Olympic medals. I plan to be among them. The best step for me next is to pursue a professional sponsorship, which is why I will be foregoing my remaining eligibility to turn pro.
I'm writing to say thank you. Thank you to the fans, for your unwavering support. Thank you to my teammates and coaches, for pushing me and inspiring me. Thank you to my family, for giving me a path to follow. Thank you to LSU, for memories I will never forget.