COVINGTON, Ga. — At 6 years old, Jayda Duplessis became interested in running track but, after time passed, her attention was pulled elsewhere. So, Duplessis ventured over to basketball, gymnastics and other sports.
Seven years later, Duplessis gravitated back to running track as a seventh grader at Indian Creek Middle School. The junior Lady Eagle competed with an AAU track and field group, “Blue Lightning Track” out of Conyers.
Duplessis’ reason for returning to her original sport was straightforward.
“I have more love for track, because it’s my main sport,” Duplessis said. “I was always better at it. Coming to a track makes me feel good when I run. It takes away a lot of stress and it’s a fun sport to me.”
For the past three years, specifically, Duplessis has been a member of Eastside’s track and field squad. And, this season, she has taken home quite a few high finishes.
In her first meet at the Archer All-Comers on March 15, Duplessis placed second in the 100-meter dash (12.70) as well as a first place finish in the 200-meter dash (26.03). At the end of her last showing at Social Circle’s home meet on April 10, Duplessis improved on both finishes.
She earned first place honors in both the 100-meter (12.56) and 200-meter (25.65) runs.
Duplessis pointed to her work with Blue Lightning Track as a proponent to her success.
“I’ve been pushing myself harder this year,” Duplessis said. “Because I went to AAU, I feel like I’ve gotten more experience with track. I’ve done a lot of power work in my legs, so it makes me run faster.”
Duplessis is proud of the work she’s done in her junior season, too.
“The best part is your progress — seeing yourself move up and seeing your time going down,” Duplessis said. “It shows me that the hard work is paying off.”
On top of her work ethic, Duplessis garners support from her family members — members who also had athletic careers of their own.
Duplessis’ dad played football and track and field in high school while her mom played volleyball. Duplessis’ older brother, D’Von, has been a member of Eastside’s football program this past four seasons as well.
Having her family’s support is something Duplessis remains appreciative of.
“They push me,” Duplessis said. “My dad brings me to all the meets, gives me all the motivation I need and they are always there.”
By pushing herself and being motivated by her progress and family’s backing, Duplessis has aspirations to play at the next level. In fact, Duplessis cracked a smile when she said, “I want to go Division I, yes.”
But, first things first with this week’s Region 8-AAAAA track meet at Loganville High School Stadium from Tuesday, April 25 to Thursday, April 27.
There is one aspect of her technique Duplessis wants to focus on heading into that meet.
“I want to have a better mental approach because, once my mind is good, I’m good,” Duplessis said. “I’ll be able to progress from here to when those two meets come.”
No matter what comes of this week’s meet, Duplessis is sure of one thing: She and her teammates will hold their heads up high.
“I’m proud of myself and a lot of my teammates,” Duplessis said. “My teammates have come a long way. When my teammates PR, it motivates me to keep going and reset my PR, too.”