There have only been several events in the life of Westminster Christian Academy’s John Vice that have superseded the fulfilment he’s experienced over the past 18 years being a part of the school’s track program.
“Other than seeing my children born and having a grandchild,” he said, “it’s been one of the singular most satisfying things I’ve ever been a part of.”
The oilfield industry’s loss more than two decades ago has become a treasure for Westminster Christian both in the classroom as a teacher, and on the track where Vice is now in charge again of both the boys and girls teams.
While the boys have experienced their share of success ,it’s been the achievements of the girls that have bordered on a mini-dynasty in Acadiana.
What began under former coach Tommy Badon nine years ago has continued under Vice’s guidance this season, keeping WCA’s string of consecutive district championships in track at 10 straight. The Lady Crusaders were second to Episcopal at regionals and will go head to head once again with the Class 2A state power in Friday’s LHSAA state track meet at LSU’s Bernie Moore Stadium.
“We’ll see what happens,” Vice said. “I think we’re healthy. Episcopal is a dominant force, and you have Homer and Jonesboro-Hodge are good this year. It should be fun.”
Vice credited the 2003 arrival of Badon, now the coach at Lafayette Christian, for fostering a culture that was conducive toward not only building, but maintaining track programs that could sustain success.
“It was kind of a perfect storm as far as the desire to excel in this sport,” Vice said. “It’s not just an afterthought. It’s a sport that’s respected here. That’s part of our success.”
That success manifested itself once again this season with Vice combining forces with a staff long on experience and accustomed to winning in Charlie Mahfouz, Todd Thompson and first-year distance coach Lindsey McCombie.
With the team’s nucleus back in place — a core group of seniors that began running together in the seventh grade — WCA had all the components for another memorable season.
Led by Outstanding Track Performer Alexis Milton’s in the 100 and 200 meters, along with a leg on the 4x100 relay, WCA outdistanced Catholic-New Iberia, 152-124, to win the District 6-2A title and secure their 10th straight crown.
“It was a relief,” Vice said. “I was glad we were able to continue the streak, especially for these seniors. I was so pleased for them. They deserved it.”
WCA piled up 96 points at last week’s regional but finished second to Episcopal’s 139.66 total.
The Lady Crusaders get another opportunity at the Lady Knights on Friday and will have 12-14 athletes (counting alternates) to try to make another run at a state title, which they won in Class 1A in 2013.
Milton and Martina Wright, who have both signed with Xavier in New Orleans, are seeded second and fourth in both the sprints with Wright running legs on the both the 4x100 and 4x200 relays that are seeded first and second.
Sophomore Ivy Cains is ranked first and third in the 300 and 100 hurdles and is part of the second-ranked 800 relay with Wright, Hydi Kennerson and Ronnie Trahan.
Senior Hillary May brings in the second-best javelin throw with fellow senior Shelby Hunter sixth in the triple jump.
“You’re dealing with people in their senior year that have a four, five, six-year base of being coached properly with the speed and strength techniques taught,” Vice said. There’s a significant advantage to that.”