Northeast boys track and field coach Darren Taylor has a simple strategy when it comes to fielding a team each year.

“Track is a game of numbers,” said Taylor, who has been Northeast’s head coach since 1997. “You have to sell your program to get a lot of numbers of kids to come out. Numbers give you the opportunity to compete for championships.”

He knows about winning championships, too. He’s coached the boys’ squad to three state titles and four state runner-up finishes.

So far this outdoor track season, Taylor hasn’t had much opportunity to see his squad in action. It was scheduled to compete at the Bronco Relays and a meet in White Castle, but both were rained out. He finally got a good chance to see his team compete against other squads at West Feliciana High School’s Saints Relays on March 23, and he liked what he saw in the 13-team meet.

“We’re young and we have a lot of new people in the field events,” Taylor said. “But they’re eager.”

There were some excellent performances by his young squad at the Saints Relays. While the Vikings finished seventh overall with 31 points, Grovonté Stewart, a senior, was named the outstanding field competitor for the meet. Throwing the javelin for the first time in competition, Stewart won the event with a toss of 157 feet, 7 inches, topping the second-place finisher by more than 18 feet.

He also earned points for his team competing in the high jump and long jump, placing fourth in both events.

Other top finishers for the Vikings were Johnny Selders, third in high jump at 5 feet, 10 inches; and Keelyn Hogan, third in triple jump at 41 feet, 11 inches.

“Our strength is the field events,” Taylor said. “You have to get excited about track to do well because you’re competing against yourself.”

Darrin Wicker has assisted Taylor for nearly 20 years. He also likes what he sees from this Northeast squad.

Taylor and Wicker are extremely excited by the fact that for the first time, the Vikings will host the District 7-2A meet on April 19 in Pride.

“That’s really big for our school to host the district meet because it’s always been held somewhere else,” said Taylor, who also has taught advanced math and algebra II at Northeast for two decades.

“We have a lot of potential,” Wicker said. “I’m hopeful we can win district, and if we get it together, we can win state. We have to get the nerves out.”

While the Northeast boys finished seventh, the girls finished 10th overall, earning one point against the strong field that included East and West Feliciana high schools, Baton Rouge Magnet, Dutchtown, Glen Oaks, St. Joseph’s Academy, St. Amant, Southern Lab and Amite, among others.

ZHS players all-district

Zachary’s girls’ basketball team dominated the District 4-5A All-District team announced last week. Sophomore Bryanna Langford was named the district’s MVP while Coach Mike Stephens was named Co-Coach of the Year. Also selected to the girls’ team were senior Tamia Veal and sophomore Rayah Haynes.

Demione Bowie was named to the boys’ 4-5A All-District squad for the Broncos.

Bronco bowlers eliminated

The Zachary High School bowling squad was ousted from the first round of the Baton Rouge regional playoffs, falling to Madison Prep 26-1.

Dominic Taylor’s 593 was the high series for the Broncos, and he had a high game of 215.

Taylor advances to the individual championship.

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