State track meet: Lafayette High’s Armand Duplantis sets composite record in pole vault; Cecilia boys win Class 4A crown _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Lafayette's Armand Duplantis clears the bar during the class 5A pole vault at Bernie Moore stadium at LSU during the LHSAA/Allstate Sugarbowl track and field meet.

Armand Duplantis broke the composite state record in the pole vault, highlighting a busy day of action at the LHSAA/Allstate Sugar Bowl track and field meet Saturday at LSU’s Bernie Moore Stadium.

Duplantis vaulted 17 feet, 9 inches to edge the previous mark of 17-8. His win was the second in as many years for the sophomore from Lafayette High School.

Also turning in an impressive individual performance was Cecilia’s Raymond Calais, who scored 25 points and led the Bulldogs to the Class 4A boys title.

Calais won the 100- and 200-meter dashes and anchored the Bulldogs’ winning 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams. His showing helped Cecilia score 78 points, more than enough to hold off second-place Crowley at 40.50.

“This is the best group of kids I’ve ever coached,” Cecilia coach Logan Duplechin said. “They left it all out on the track.”

Calais was the meet’s outstanding Class 4A male athlete. It was an honor also bestowed on Northside sprinter Claudesha Watson, who won the girls 100 and 200.

The Lafayette High girls got a boost from senior Stephanie Self, who won the discus and placed fourth in the shot put. The Lions scored 45 points and were second behind 5A winner Zachary’s 69.

Self led throughout the discus competition until Baton Rouge High’s Logan Lewis passed her with a throw of 132-1. Self responded with a class record throw of 132-8 on her final attempt.

Self said the pressure on her last throw only improved her focus.

“It made me relax a little more,” she said. “It made me focus more on my technique. I sped up the spin a little and it went.”

For Duplantis, who has vaulted higher than 18 feet this season, there was mild disappointment after he twice failed to clear 18-1.

“It feels pretty good to break the composite record,” said Duplantis, who set the Class 5A record in 2015 with a winning vault of 16-9. “I was hoping for the (national) high school record (of 18-3), but that’s OK.”

For Cecilia, it all started with Calais. In the 4x200, he took the baton on the final exchange trailing two runners. He passed them both, including Northwood’s Marquez Stevenson at the finish line, for a winning time of 1:27.

“We were in third, but I kept my form and kept my composure,” Calais said. “I like (the 200) and I was just glad everything went right.”

After Calais won the 100 (10.59), he and Stevenson battled for the final 100 meters before Calais stretched ahead to win. It gave Cecilia a winning time of 41.75, just ahead of Northwood’s 41.77. Calais completed his day winning the 200 (21.21).

Also picking up a win for Cecilia was Terrell Chevalier in the 110 hurdles (15.00).

The St. Thomas More girls closed the meet with a win in the 4x400 relay (4:01.35) and placed third in the Class 4A team race with 42 points. Edna Karr won with 48.

In 5A, Catholic High won the boys title with 96 points. The 3A competition was topped by West Feliciana’s boys with 59.50 and Lusher Charter’s girls at 84.

LSU signee Christian Miller of Northside made his mark in the Class 4A jumps: He won the long jump (23-3¼) and triple jump (51-0). His leap in the triple jump was a personal record and the third-longest in the nation by a high school athlete this year.

“I actually wanted to go past 51-8,” Miller said. “I felt like I could have done it on my last jump, but a technique problem held me back.”