It was the first meet Catholic High completed under the lights at its upgraded track/soccer/football facility. The host Bears and St. Joseph’s Academy were ready for prime time at Catholic’s Grizzly Relays long before the lights came on Thursday night.
Both teams claimed the lead before the running events began. And then they did what you’re supposed to do on the track — never look back.
Scattered showers and one lightning delay couldn’t rain on the parade of winners for the District 5-5A schools during the final regular-season meet of the year.
“Really the entire team performance stood out for me,” SJA coach Charlie Daigle said. “We use the Grizzly Relays as like a dress rehearsal for district. Pretty much what you saw today is what we’re going to go into district with.
“I was really pleased with the relays, especially the 4x200. We feel like we’ve got a little bit of speed this year so we might be able to hang in there at regional and possibly get them to state. It was a solid team performance … a lot of good things.”
The Redstickers didn’t win an event in the field, but more than made up for it on the track. Double winner Annie Hill helped lead the way as SJA won seven of the 11 track events to finish with 184 points. Episcopal was next with 108 points, followed by Parkview Baptist at 75.
The tally for Catholic was higher. The Bears won all but one track event and five of seven field events while piling up 236 points. Episcopal at 125 points and Southern Lab at 59 completed the top three.
“This was the first time we’ve had the lights on for a meet, and we had to turn them on a little earlier than anticipated because of the weather,” Boudreaux said. “You can’t do anything about weather. You just have to go out there and do what you’re supposed to do.
“(The Bears) ran great day. Even with the weather, we had some guys who had PRs (personal records) and others that got close to them.”
One of the PR-setters was hurdler Kam Cummings. It is not unusual for Cummings to sweep the hurdle events. But on Thursday he won the 110-meter hurdles in 14.94 seconds and then won the 300 hurdles in a personal best of 39.19 seconds.
“We’ve had a lot of times the last couple of years where we’ve had to run in the rain, and we’re kind of used to it,” Cummings said. “Coach Boudreaux wants us to just go out there and push it like we do in practice. My 300 hurdles was a big PR for me.
“I still think I can get a little better. We all can. I’ll keep working with my trail leg, and it’s getting stronger and stronger for both races.”
Cummings was one of three Bears double winners. Field specialist Nigel Despinasse pulled off his typical double play by winning the shot put with a throw of 53 feet, 8 inches. He also won the discus in 146-0. Sprinter Logan Hart won the 100 meters (11.24 seconds) and the 200 (22.58). Scotlandville’s Dwayne Williams Jr., who won the 400 in 49.69, kept Catholic from sweeping the track events.
Hill was one of four double winners in the girls division. She won the 1,600 meters in 5:16.07 and the 3,200 in 11:49.62, finishing 29 seconds ahead of the next closest runner. Hill vowed to be better for the 5-5A meet next Thursday at Catholic.
“That was the slowest I’ve run the 3,200 this year,” Hill said. “Of the two, the 1,600 was the better race. But I’m definitely excited about the team outcome. I’m excited about what we feel like we can do at regional and state. We just need to keep training hard.”
Episcopal’s Rachel Misher, Baton Rouge High’s Loren James and Parkview’s Jade Hayes were the other double winners.
Misher won the 100 in 12.45 seconds and the 200 in 25.72 in addition to anchoring the winning 4x100 relay.
“With district a few days away we played it safe,” Misher said. “The important thing is getting some work in.”
James and Hayes were the field standouts. James won the shot put in 37-7, just three inches ahead of Broadmoor’s Darnese Woods. She outdueled Woods a second time to win the discus in 103-2. Hayes won the long jump (17-11¼) and triple jump (34-5) finishing nearly a foot and a half ahead of the next closest finisher in each event.