Bertony Jean-Louis no longer controls the fate of his Olympic future.
All the recent Sacred Heart University graduate can do now is play the waiting game until Monday, when USA Track & Field announces its field of 32 participants for the 110-meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic Trials, which begin June 21 in Eugene, Ore.
"It's a little stressful," said Jean-Louis, a Norwalk native who was a state champion in the 110 outside and also the 55-meter indoor hurdles his senior year at McMahon.
"I'm hoping for the best, but I've made amends with it."
The easy path to the trials would have come if Jean-Louis met the "A" standard (13.52 seconds) in a recognized national event this spring, which automatically qualifies a hurdler.
After recovering from a left hamstring injury that first sidelined him during the indoor season, the best Jean-Louis could do in outside competition was meet the "B" standard (13.99 seconds or faster), which he achieved with a time of 13.84 seconds in the preliminary round of the NCAA East Regional last month in Jacksonville, Fla.
If there are not enough "A" qualifiers, then the USATF dips into the "B" pool to round out the field.
"He's a little under, but won't know for sure until next week," SHU track coach Christian Morrison said. "He's one of the best athletes we've had here."
In 18 years with the program, Morrison has had only one Pioneer qualify for the trials -- Arman Dixon in 2008. He met the "A" standard in the 400 and also got in with the "B" standard in the 200, but did not make the Olympic team.
"I really tried to get the `A' time, but I didn't have the chance to run a lot of races," said Jean-Louis, who describes the hamstring injury as a "chronic" problem. "(But accomplishing what I did after the injury) made it that much better."
Even with the setback, Jean-Louis turned in a strong finish to his collegiate career, earning second-team All-America honors in the 60-meter hurdles during the indoor season along with first-team All-Northeast Conference in the 110 during the spring with a league-record time of 14.02.
"He had plenty of natural talent coming out of high school, but he really developed in college," Morrison said.
And if he doesn't make the trials, Jean-Louis already has a fallback plan with a job waiting for him in accounting -- his major -- at the end of the summer in Stamford.
"It's a bonus," he said of the chance at chasing Olympic glory. "It was something I was always working toward."
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