There were no team scores, but plenty of fierce competition and outstanding individual performances at the LHSAA Indoor Qualifying Meet at LSU’s Carl Maddox Fieldhouse on Saturday.
It was a good day for youngsters as sophomore Abigail O’Donohue of Denham Springs won the girls high jump with a meet record of 5-7, freshman Armand Duplantis of Lafayette High won the pole vault at 16-4, and sophomore Janie O’Connor of Zachary was a double winner in the 60- and 400-meter dashes.
O’Donohue outpaced the competition by five inches, but Kyle Baudoin of Walker had the same height as Duplantis. Baudoin had two misses at 16-4 while Duplantis was perfect until the bar was at 17-0 where he missed on three tries.
“I felt good and didn’t miss anything until 17,” Duplantis said, “but I couldn’t move the pole. My goal for the indoor season is make 17. I could make it in my next meet.”
That meet will be on a big stage, at the 108th annual Millrose Games in New York City on Valentine’s Day.
Lafayette High claimed second place in the girls pole vault as Rebekah Markel finished behind Parish Kitto of Episcopal, with both clearing 11-01.
O’Connor, who has yet to lose a 400-meter race in her high school career, said she could have run a better race as her time of 59 seconds was two seconds slower than her personal record.
“I kind of slowed up at the end,” she said. “I need to work on strengthening my core so I can finish stronger.”
Alissa Williams of McKinley finished second to O’Connor in the 60-meter dash.
O’Connor also ran a leg on Zachary’s winning 4x200 relay team which edged Lafayette High 1:46.35 to 1:47.43.
O’Connor’s teammate, Kristian Jackson, won the shot put with a heave of 40 feet even.
“I was happy with my throws today, but I’ve been on 40 for a while, and I hope I get a new PR soon,” she said.
O’Donohue, the defending outdoor state champ, missed all three tries at 5-8¼.
“I guess I was a little tired. My goal for the season was 5-6, but now it’s 5-8,” she said.
Gabrielle Jenkins of First Baptist continued her outstanding season, besting St. Joseph Academy’s Annie Hill by nearly 10 seconds in the 1600 meters with a time of 5:13.42. Jennings finished third in the 800 behind Chelsey Jones of Mandeville and Kennedy Smith of Baton Rouge High.
Catholic High had a good performance as the Bears continued to position themselves to go after their eighth consecutive state indoor championship.
Their 4x800 relay team set a new meet record of 8:14.44 in winning that event. Nigel Despinasse and Kam Cummings gave the Bears to other first-place finishes — Despinasse in the shot put (53-04) and Cummings in the 60-metter hurdles (8:30).
“I hoped they (the 4x800 team) would run fast, but I didn’t expect them to run that fast,” Catholic High coach Pete Boudreaux said. “We had two changes, and they just got up and got after it. It’s going to make it hard to decide who to run, but that’s a good problem.”
The Bears put icing on their cake by winning the 4x400 relay, holding off a late charge by Natchitoches Central in one of the most exciting races of the day.
The Last Chance Meet on Feb. 7 will give athletes one more chance to qualify for the state indoor in at LSU on Feb. 21.