In two years, Janie O’Connor has established that she’s on the fast track to an impressive high school track and field career. In fact, she’s accomplished more in two years than most athletes manage in four.
The Zachary sprinter just finished her sophomore year, leading the Lady Broncos to consecutive Class 5A state outdoor championships in 2014 and 2015 sandwiched around the 2015 Division I state indoor crown.
On May 20, O’Connor’s accomplishments were recognized when she was honored as a finalist for The Advocate’s Girls Athlete of the Year at a banquet at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association headquarters in Baton Rouge.
For 30 years, The Advocate’s sports staff has recognized the Baton Rouge region’s most outstanding prep athletes, naming the Star of Stars in 15 boys and girls sports. For the second straight year, Kara Gremillion, of St. Amant, was named Girls Athlete of the Year, only the second girl to be so honored, edging O’Connor and University High’s Destiny Ephrom.
West Feliciana’s Jazz Ferguson is the first male athlete to win the award two years in a row, edging Catholic’s Colin Bone and University’s Nick Brossette.
But O’Connor has grabbed plenty of attention in her short career at Zachary High School.
In leading the Lady Broncos to their outdoor state title, she won the 100-meter dash in 11.52 and won the 400-meter run in 54.86. She finished second in the 200-meter dash in 23.78, although her time smashed the state’s previous 5A and composite record of 24.07 in the event.
O’Connor also ran a leg on the Lady Broncos’ 4x200 relay team with Dakota Williams, Jenet Campbell and Kiara Bethley, which finished second in 1:41.79. So dominating was O’Connor in the spring, she was named the outstanding performer at the district, regional and state outdoor meets.
That followed an impressive indoor season. Anchored by O’Connor’s two first-place victories, the Lady Broncos won the 5A indoor title. She captured first place in the 60- and 400-meter races, set a personal best in the 400, winning in 56.35 seconds, and won the 60 in 7.74 seconds after notching a 7.55 in an earlier heat.
Last summer, O’Connor competed in the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, and in just a short time, she has established herself as one of the state’s elite runners and one of the region’s top athletes.
Coaches hosting summer sports camps
Zachary High coaches are hosting a series of sports camps for youth. The Jesse Cassard baseball and Madeline Gugich volleyball camps began May 26 and wrap on Friday. Next up are the April Brown Barnes basketball camp and David Brewerton football camp, both scheduled for June 1-5 at ZHS, followed by the Kenny Almond basketball camp June 8-12.
Send your sports news, photos and stats to Howard Arceneaux at harceneaux @theadvocate.com.