Northeast High School coach Darren Taylor knows about numbers. Taylor has been teaching advanced math and Algebra 2 classes for nearly two decades, so adding and subtracting are not so difficult. And like most track and field coaches, Taylor knows the importance of having a complete squad and enough numbers to have athletes compete in all the events.
“I hope we have a full team by district (6-2A),” said Taylor, who has coached the Vikings track squad since 1996. “By then, I hope to put it all in place. I’m looking forward to being able to contend.”
Northeast competed in the Saints Relays on Friday at West Feliciana High. The Vikings boys finished sixth with 49 points in the seven-team field. West Feliciana was first with 136 points, followed by St. Amant (117), Baton Rouge Magnet (87), Jewel Sumner (82), Central (62) and East Feliciana (23).
There were some quality wins for Northeast. Torrance Uwagboe won the high jump at 6 feet; Cornelius Jackson and Marqueon Minor finished 1-2 in javelin; Marvin Minor, fourth, shot put; Darryl Adams, fourth, 400-meter run; Chase Patterson, fourth, and LaKendrick Robinson, fifth, discus; and Tyrese Chambers, sixth, triple jump.
The Northeast 4x200 relay team finished fourth, while the 4x100 relay team was fifth.
Meanwhile, the Vikings girls squad tied West Feliciana for fifth place among eight teams with 33.6 points. St. Joseph’s Academy won the meet with 173 points followed by Baton Rouge Magnet (133), St. Amant (119.6), Jewel Sumner (36), Central (17.6) and East Feliciana (6.6) completing the field.
Scoring points for Northeast were Briana Haney, second in shot put; Pearl Jones, third in 200-meter dash; Lauri Kight, fourth, discus; Eleascia Douglas, fourth, high jump; Latravia Fisher, sixth, long jump; and the 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams both finished third.
There were several athletes who didn’t compete in the West Feliciana meet. Brenton Hulbert missed the high jump with an injury, and Marqueon Minor, who won outstanding field performer at the previous week’s Hornet Relays, was limited to just throwing the javelin.
“This is the first year I haven’t been able to put two or three people in each event,” Taylor said. “To compete in track, you gotta have the numbers. I find them in P.E. classes, other sports, wherever I can and get them to come out.”
The Vikings have enjoyed success under Taylor, winning Double-A state championships in 2003, 2005 and 2010. They also have four runner-up trophies.
Uwagboe is a senior and won the West Feliciana meet with a high jump of 6-feet even, then cleared 6-2 easily. He missed on three attempts at 6-4. Like many of his teammates, he plays multiple sports, and he led his basketball team in blocks with over 30 as the Vikings made it to the regional round of the Class 2A state tournament.
“I’ve been able to jump since I was little; I learned to dunk a basketball when I was in seventh grade,” said Uwagboe, who will graduate in May and plans to study civil engineering. “I stay focused on the high jump.”
Taylor said the Vikings will continue to tweak the team as athletes get healthy and others start competing.
“We’re trying to qualify as many as possible (for district),” Taylor said. “If we qualify enough, we’ll try to finish in the top three and get ready for state at LSU in May.”
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