Chris Carrier has been on a coaching roll for the past year. As Zachary High School’s track and field coach, Carrier guided his team to the girls indoor and outdoor Class 5A state championships last year.

This year, he was a defensive assistant on the Broncos’ Class 5A championship football team and last month, guided the girls’ indoor squad to a second straight Class 5A state title.

Carrier is pretty optimistic about his team’s chances to defend their outdoor championship as well.

The Bronco boys and girls officially opened the outdoor season at the West Feliciana Saints Invitational on March 4 and are slated to host the annual Louisiana Farm Bureau Bronco Relays on Friday at ZHS.

“The first three weeks of the season, we like to mix and match and try people in different events,” said Carrier, who is in his sixth year at Zachary. “It gives the young kids a chance to compete, and we bring them along slowly. After the indoor season, we don’t want to kill them. And we might find kids who can help us in April and May. It gives them an opportunity to compete in March.”

The outdoor girls team is anchored by junior Janie O’Connor, who has picked up where she left off last season. At the LHSAA Division I Indoor Championships last month, she had personal record times in the 60-meter dash (7.48 seconds) and the 400-meter run (56.14 seconds). She also adds quality depth on the 4x200 relay with Dakota Williams, Indya Jackson and Kiara Bethley, who won the state indoor crown.

O’Connor’s 60-meter dash time was the seventh-fastest in the country this year, and she will not run in the Bronco Relays because she’s scheduled to be in New York City to compete March 11-13 at the New Balance Nationals Indoor in The Armory.

“Each time I compete I feel like I can always do better,” said O’Connor, who also trains with the New Era Track Club. “I set my goals before the season and strive to break them by the end of the year.”

Another standout is sophomore Kristian Jackson, who competes in the shot put and discus.

Jackson, the defending state outdoor champion, said she’s disappointed with her third-place showing at the state indoor meet with a throw of 40 feet, 9.5 inches.

“I guess I lost my rhythm, but I’ll try to work on my technique more and practice harder and practice more,” she said.

At the state indoor meet, sophomore high-jumper Frankie Griffin emerged for Zachary, winning the event with a leap of 5 feet, 5 inches. She also competed in the long jump (16 feet, 3 inches), finishing sixth. Her family transferred to Zachary from Lake Charles and the Bronco track team is certainly the beneficiary.

Griffin also teamed with O’Connor, Bethley and Indya Jackson, Kristian’s younger sister, in the 4x400 relay at the state indoor, and Carrier said he is going to use the early part of the outdoor season to experiment with different relay lineup combinations.

“I’m looking forward to a great outdoor season,” Carrier said.

ZAF 4-person scramble planned

The Zachary Athletic Foundation and Copper Mill Golf Club will host the annual four-person scramble golf tournament on March 28. The foundation is seeking hole sponsors and team sponsorships as well as players for the event, which also includes food and refreshments. Individual golfers are $100 or $400 for a team. Hole sponsorships are $100 with half-hole sponsorships going for $50.

Make checks payable to the Zachary Athletic Foundation. Payment is not due until the day of the tournament, but can be paid in advance by March 21.

Lunch will be served at noon with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. For information or to sign up, email Athletic Director Jesse Cassard at jesse.cassard@zacharyschools.org.

Send sports news, photos and stats to Howard Arceneaux at harceneaux@theadvocate.com.