NEW ORLEANS - As the 2011 outdoor season comes to a close for the nation's top prep prospects across the country, members of LSU's Class of 2011 captured three gold medals and two silvers medals at the 2011 AAU Junior Olympic Games held last week at Tad Gormley Stadium.
After winning the gold medal in the 800-meter run at the 2011 USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Championships just one week before, St. Louis native Samantha Levin took home the gold again in record-setting fashion on Aug. 3 at the AAU Junior Olympic Games.
Levin, who entered the meet with a personal best of 2 minutes, 6.74 seconds set earlier this summer at the Missouri Class 4A state meet, established a new AAU Junior Olympic Games meet record in the young women's division at 2:07.06 to take the title by more than four seconds.
Levin ran the two-lap race in under 2:08 for the third time this year, while shattering the 31-year-old meet record of 2:08.2h that was set back in 1980 by Regina Jacobs in Los Angeles, Calif.
Also winning AAU Junior Olympics gold medals for LSU's Class of 2011 were a pair of future Tigers for William LeBlanc in the young men's high jump and Aaron Ernest in the young women's long jump.
Ernest, a product of Homewood High School in Homewood, Ala., won the long jump title on Aug. 2 after jumping a series-best wind-aided mark of 24 feet, 6 ¾ inches. Ernest also swept AAU Junior Olympics silver medals in the young men's sprints in the meet finale on Saturday with runner-up finishes in the 100 meters (10.86) and 200 meters (21.54) in finals run into strong headwinds.
Ernest is one of the nation's top-ranked high school sprinters for the Class of 2011 after setting wind-legal personal bests of 10.33 in the 100-meter dash and 20.72 in the 200-meter dash in 2011.
LeBlanc, a native of Cecilia, La., matched his outdoor personal record in winning the high jump crown on Aug. 3 with his clearance at 6-10 to finish two inches clear of his nearest competitor. LeBlanc owns a best of 6-11 that he set in winning the Louisiana Division I indoor state title earlier this season.