Jilyen Poullard

Sam Houston’s Jilyen Poullard is one of this year’s winners of the annual American Press Outstanding Athlete awards. Poullard helped the Broncos achieve a No. 1 ranking in basketball and softball.

Package speed, athleticism, power and plenty of energy into a 5-foot-6 frame and you get recent Sam Houston High graduate Jilyen Poullard.

The two-sport star led the Broncos to the No. 1 seed in softball and basketball while earning Louisiana Sports Writer Association Class 5A all-state, American Press All-Southwest and District 3-5A first-team honors in both sports.

Now she has one more award to add to her list: the American Press Outstanding Athlete of the Year.

But an injury almost cut short her senior season. Late in the Broncos’ quarterfinal basketball game against eventual state champion Captain Shreve in February, she tumbled to the floor hard while stopping a fast break.

“I was worried about that,” Poullard said. “It was a hip injury and my entire right leg hurt.

“The doctor couldn’t tell me the exact problem. It was excruciating pain and I couldn’t walk for a few days. A week later I went back to the doctor and I was walking. I had to take it slow for awhile.”

But once she got back on the field, Poullard was anything but slow. She got a hit and drove in a run in her first game back and hit a double and triple with four RBIs in her second game.

“It was just great,” Poullard said. “It was like a big deep breath.

“I knew that God would heal me and I would be able to get back on the field and do what I love again.   It was a slight delay, but I was able to get back out there.”

Poullard finished with five doubles, six triples, 33 runs scored, 29 RBIs, a .522 batting average and a .915 fielding percentage to earn first-team all-district honors for a third consecutive season and led Sam Houston to its seventh consecutive district title.

“It is just very therapeutic for me,” Poullard said. “I can just let go of all of my problems when I am on the field and focus everything toward what I am doing at that moment. I just wanted to be good at it. I am just blessed to be that good at it.”

Poullard will play for the McNeese State softball team next season.

“I am looking forward to a new start, fresh slate and bright future,” Poullard said. “I am praying I can earn myself a spot on the field all four years.

“Anywhere I can play, I will work hard for it.”

On the hardwood, Poullard helped led Sam Houston to a 29-4 record while averaging 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals a game and was the District 3-5A MVP and second team all-state.

“I am going to miss basketball the most,” Poullard said. “I love how physical, intense and competitive it is.”

Poullard credits her parents Jeffery and Marcella, who were multi-sport athletes in high school with helping her develop a love of sports that began at an early age and coaches Beth Domingue and Jason Jagneaux with pushing her to succeed in high school.

“I have been playing sports since the day I could remember,” Poullard said. “Both of my coaches were great in every aspect that you can imagine. They pushed me every day and they knew the leader I was. They helped me to become the player that I am today.”

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