LAFAYETTE — Cecilia’s Raymond Calais was named the Gatorade Louisiana boys track & field athlete of the year Friday after speeding past his Class 4A competitors at the state championships in May.
“This is really mind-blowing,” Calais said. “I’ve always wanted to win the award, and now that I’ve won, I can’t be complacent. I’ve got to try to keep working hard, keep being humble and hopefully I can inspire the youth to want to be like me some day.”
Calais, who will attend Louisiana-Lafayette on a football scholarship this fall, swept titles in the 100-meter (10.59 seconds) and 200-meter (21.21 seconds) races at the state meet, and also ran the anchor leg on Cecilia’s state champion 4x100 and 4x200 teams.
With Calais leading the charge, the Bulldogs won the 4A team title.
Calais found out about the award when he woke up to a text message from coach Logan Duplechien with an accompanying video.
“I was at a loss for words,” Calais said. “All the hard work and the sacrifices that I made are finally paying off. I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Calais was also named the state’s Outstanding Track Performer by the Louisiana Sportswriters Association.
The Gatorade award also seeks to identify individuals who maintain academic excellence and “exemplary character demonstrated on and off the track.”
Calais graduated with a 3.46 grade-point average — “not too shabby, but it could’ve been better.” According to a news release, Calais said he was a member of the Beta Club and National Honor Society and volunteered at a local nursing home, .
“Raymond demonstrates dedication, work ethic and class,” Duplechien said. “He’s been an exemplary member of both our football and track teams, but more importantly of our school.”
Calais was also the Class 4A Offensive MVP in football this season, after he amassed 2,602 yards and 33 touchdowns as the Bulldogs running back.
He’s focused on football now, trying to earn early playing time with the Cajuns football team.
“I love both football and track, but right now my main priority is football,” Calais said. “I’m busting my butt, man. I’m trying to earn a role and play this fall.”
At 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, Calais is considered a bit undersized for college football. But Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth encouraged him to focus on winning a state title in track this spring.
“He was like, ‘Don’t worry about the workouts, just worry about winning state,’” Calais said.
Calais said he hopes to participate in football and track with the Cajuns.