The running list of honors for Zachary High track star Janie O’Connor continues to grow.
O’Connor has been selected as Louisiana’s Gatorade Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
During her junior season O’Connor, Louisiana’s top girls sprint prospect in the class of 2017, led Zachary to Division I indoor and Class 5A outdoor state titles this spring.
She becomes the second ZHS athlete to win a Gatorade award during the 2015-16 school year, joining quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr., who won the football award last fall while leading the Broncos to the school’s first state title in football.
“I’ve got to thank my coaches and my teammates for everything they’ve done to help me get to this point,” O’Connor said. “This is a big award; it’s an honor to win it. I’m proud to receive it.
“I still feel like there were times when I could have pushed myself harder, especially in the 400 (meters). But I’m pleased, and something like this (award) gives me motivation to finish stronger my senior year.”
The Gatorade award is given annually to the top track & field athlete who excels on the field and also contributes to their community. Recent winners include two current college All-Americans, former Baton Rouge High sprinter Mikiah Brisco of LSU and ex-Catholic-New Iberia pole vaulter Morgann Leleux of Louisiana-Lafayette. As Louisiana’s winner, O’Connor is eligible to win the national Gatorade honor that will be announced in the weeks ahead.
“She definitely keeps getting better and is dropping her times every year,” Zachary track coach Chris Carrier said. “The thing about this that’s so impressive is that she’s also being honored for the other things she does. Janie’s a good student and does service projects in the community. It’s not all about track for her.”
O’Connor recorded the state’s fastest times in the 60 meters of 7.48 seconds and 400 meters of 56.14 to help the Broncos at the Division I indoor meet in February.
In May, O’Connor posted the state’s top times in the 100 meters (11.62 seconds), 200 (23.82) and 400 (53.73) at the 5A outdoor meet. She also was part of winning relay teams at the indoor and outdoor meets.
O’Connor’s 53.73 time in the 400 meters at the LHSAA outdoor meet tied a state meet record. Her indoor and outdoor 400 times ranked among the nation’s top 10.
“As she’s matured you can see her attention to detail grow,” Carrier said.
“On relays and in practice, she makes others around her better. Finishing second to Janie in practice means you’ve got a chance to beat a lot of people.”