L.J. Fitzpatrick jumps higher than the rest at state competition

Published 11:44 am Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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Beulah’s track and field program saw a ton of growth during the 2024 season. Few athletes saw as much growth as L.J. Fitzpatrick as he claimed the 3A state championship in high jump over the weekend. 

Fitzpatrick has been a stallworth of Beulah’s track and field program. In 2023, Fitzpatrick placed second in the state in the high jump competition. 

Fitzpatrick spent the entirety of the offseason focusing on improving and climbing to the top spot in the state. Fitzpatrick saw all of that hard work pay off on Saturday as he stood on the podium. 

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“It felt amazing,” Fitzpatrick said. “It felt like I became a new person. 

“That morning, I woke up, the first thing I said to myself was, I’m about to become a state champion and nothing is going to stop me from doing it,” Fitzpatrick added. “I was feeling some knee pain in my jumping leg, but I just said nothing is going to stop so I’m becoming a state champion today.” 

Fitzpatrick became a gym rat during the offseason. Fitzpatrick worked with Beulah’s strength and conditioning coach Rusty Arnett on targeted workouts to improve his athleticism and overall ability as a jumper. 

Going into the final day of state competition on Saturday, Fitzpatrick knew that he had to reach the six-foot-four mark to win a state championship. Fitzpatrick reached that mark to win the state championship, but he then later reached a new personal best mark of six-foot-five. 

“It felt like I was on top of the world at the moment,” Fitzpatrick said. 

Fitzpatrick has played a major role in the rebuilding of Beulah’s athletic program during his senior season. Fitzpatrick helped the basketball and football team reach the playoffs, but the track and field program has seen just as much growth during his senior year. On Saturday, the Bobcats finished with eight top-ten finishes in 3A. 

“From my 10th grade year until my senior year, I’ve seen amazing growth,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’ve seen more state qualifiers, and I’ve seen more people want to try out for track.” 

Fitzpatrick’s senior year has been one for the books. Fitzpatrick was one of the most dominant athletes in the county in any sport. Fitzpatrick also saw his support system grow as a senior. 

The support within Beulah’s program has continually grown over the past few years. On Saturday, the Bobcats were overwhelmed with support from the Beulah community. While basketball was Fitzpatrick’s first love, track and field has helped him to grow in every aspect. 

“I had a lot more people there supporting me than I thought I would,” Fitzpatrick said. “It helps athletes grow if that’s not their main sport. It helps them develop new abilities.” 

Senior year has quickly winded down for Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick plans on attending Southern Union after graduation, and he hopes to transfer from Southern Union to continue playing basketball and possibly continue with a track and field program. 

Fitzpatrick is leaving Beulah’s athletic program better than he found it. Fitzpatrick has seen some of the younger athletes grow behind him. Jederrian Foreman finished third behind Fitzpatrick in the high jump. Fitzpatrick hopes to see Foreman and some of the other young athletes take Beulah’s program to new heights. 

“I just want everybody to add on to what I did,” Fitzpatrick said. “I don’t want my record to stay here. I want someone to break it as soon as they can.”