Lady Broncos rise to challenge to win Division I State Indoor Track Championship

The Zachary girls track team finished the indoor track season in dramatic fashion at the State Indoor Track Meet Saturday at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium.

The Zachary girls came into the meet qualified in 10 events with 14 competitors and were expected to get strong competition from 2017 Indoor Champion Lafayette High. Sure enough, going into the final event (the 4x400-meter relay), the girls were tied with Lafayette. Lafayette’s girls previously posted faster times and were thus favorites. The underdog Lady Broncos responded in true champion fashion by shaving 12 seconds off their fastest time of the year to win the event, their third indoor state championship in four years.

Several other outstanding individual performances provided valuable points throughout the meet. Indya Jackson won the 400 meters in 58.66; Orsciana Beard won the 60 hurdles with a time of 9.35 and the triple jump with a leap of 37-141. Kristian Jackson won the shot put with a throw of 42-1. In addition, Zachary won the 4x200-meter relay.

The Broncos boys, who qualified in nine events with 12 competitors, fell just short of an indoor title, finishing as the state runner-up to John Curtis. Sophomore Sean Burrell won the 400 meters with a time of 48.29, culminating a strong early season for Burrell that saw him run a personal indoor best time of 48.48 in the 400 meters at a top national meet in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was also selected as one of the MVPs for LSU’s Louisiana Classic in January.

Other top finishers scoring for the boys included: senior Ralph Holmes with a second place triple jump leap of 43-11; freshman Chris Hilton with third place in the high jump at 6-4; L’Jean McKinley finished third in the 60 hurdles with a time of 8.52; and the 4x400-meter relay team finished third with a time of 3:28.01.

Broncos wrestling team finishes with strong performance at state championships

The Zachary Broncos wrestling team concluded its 2017-18 campaign at the LHSAA State Wrestling Championships held at the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City last weekend. Coaches J.P. Pierre, Mark Moreau, Steve Thomas and Ben McHugh sent one of Zachary’s largest teams to the tournament with wrestlers competing in all but one weight class including several first-time wrestlers and a large contingent of freshmen.

Day one action saw Bronco wrestlers compete through 10 brutal hours of competition to reach the day two “money” round, where medals are awarded for top finishes. First-year wrestler Chance Jackson wrestled five matches and finished the tournament 3-2. Juniors Joe Elbert, Austin Landry and Travis Hale also wrestled five matches and finished the tournament on the winning side 3-2.

Wrestlers surviving the day one action and moving on to Saturday action included Caleb Mickelson at 170, Kenyon Martin at 182, Chris Hart at 195, Wes Brady at 220 and Caleb Jackson at 285.

The first-day match for the Broncos was a quarterfinals matchup where Caleb Jackson wrestled Slade Manlief of Sulphur through three two-minute periods and three overtimes to win an “Ultimate Tie Breaker.” The Broncos finished the first day in 10th place.

Day two matchups saw two contributors to the 2017 football state champions in semifinals action and two wins away from earning the rare distinction of two state championships in two sports in the same year, as juniors. Wes Brady pinned the third-seed Devon Clark (58-6) from East Ascension in 1:58 to advance to the 220 finals. Caleb Jackson wrestled Mack Brown, the first seed and eventual champion at 285, and was within inches of a pin but eventually lost.

Day two scorers included Jackson in fourth place at 285; senior Chris Hart, fifth at 195; Kenyon Martin, third at 182; and Caleb Mickelson, fifth at 170.

Brady wrestled the defending 220 state champion in the finals and fell just short in overtime to earn state runner-up.

The team set a school record in Division I for team points scored (124.5), highest team finish (eighth), and most state placers (five).

Warren Brady covers sports for The Zachary Advocate & Plainsman. He can be contacted at zachary@theadvocate.com.