Getting the chance to break a record is a huge motivator for runners.
Distance runners Eric Coston of St. Paul’s and Gabrielle Jennings of First Baptist Christian came into the LSU High School Last Chance Qualifier with records in their sights.
Neither got exactly what they were looking for Saturday at LSU’s Carl Maddox Field House. But with the LHSAA State Indoor Championships still two weeks away, both said they got what they needed.
Coston was one of the top performers early in the meet. He won the 800 meters in 1 minute, 56.89 seconds, just one-tenth of a second off the Last Chance meet record.
“Ive already qualified and my coach said to come out and get some speed work in,” Coston said. “I heard the (800 meet) record was 1:56 and at that point I wanted to go get the record.
“I knew it was reachable. It was close and overall it was a good race. I want to possibly break the record in the mile (1,600 meters) at state. It’s a 4:15. This was good training for that.”
Despite missing a few days of practice in recent weeks with an illness Jennings came in with a lofty goal, challenging the 3,200 meters field house mark of 10:45.01 set by Benton’s Kaitlyn Flattman in 2009.
Through 1,600 meters, Jennings was just under record time. Her pace slowed in the second half of the race and she posted a winning time of 11:18.28, 12 seconds ahead of the next closest competitor.
“It would have been really nice, but I haven’t been training the two-mile,” Jennings said. “I was hitting all my splits (early in the race). I could look up at the clock and see it. Overall I’m happy with how I ran. I know where I am … I’m not disappointed.”
John Ehret’s Ebony Hills, Brother Martin’s Chace Edwards and East St. John’s Dontrelle Allen were also among the winners at the day-long meet that attracted competitors from across the state.
Hills won the girls 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9.21 seconds. Allen was the boys 60 meters winner in 6.96 seconds.
“It was just my technique,” Hills said after her race. “I think my form and my speed have gotten better since the last meet It’s hard to get both right at the same time, but I think I did well. I want to make my time go lower and lower each week.”
Allen, a first-year indoor track competitor, said his coaches had him focus on longer distances in recent practices in order to built stamina.
“I’m giving it my all,” Allen said. “My goal is to get under 6.95 in the next meet. I want to get better.”
John Curtis boys shot put specialist Devin Savwoir also was among the meet’s early winners with a toss of 50 feet, 3 ½ inches. Assumption’s Jacob Daigle won the 1,600 meters in 4:29.14, while Lutcher’s Tahrike Jones was the 400 meters winner in 51.22.
Edwards closed out the meet by winning the boys 3,200 in 9:56.60, just a tenth of a second ahead of Rummel’s Conner Killian.
“I didn’t do very well in my last race and I made it clear to my coach I didn’t care about the time,” Edwards said. “I was going for the win and I’m happy with it.”