There aren’t always sure bets when it comes to high school track and field. Baton Rouge teams competing in Class 5A have been pretty close to it.
Local teams have combined to win 12 state titles over the past seven years. A solid group of challengers will put the local run of dominance to the test when the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Outdoor State Track meet on Saturday.
“I feel good about the number of guys we qualified,” Catholic High coach Pete Boudreaux said. “Now of course that doesn’t mean they’re going to win their events. But if you’re in the meet, you have the chance to score. And that’s big.
“We did a good job of qualifying. Now it’s a case of getting the points. Just to be out there and compete in a meet like this with teams like Ruston and Natchitoches Central is exciting.”
Field events begin at 10:45 a.m., followed by running events at 3:30 p.m. at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium. Catholic (boys) and Zachary High (girls) help lead the list of local teams set to compete in Class 3A, 4A and 5A.
Catholic has won six of the past seven years, including the last two in a row. Zachary won its first outdoor title last spring, snapping a string of five straight titles by Baton Rouge High.
Coming up with the right approach to score the most points is the goal for every team. The Bears and Broncos will approach the meet quite differently.
Catholic qualified 20 positions for the meet. The Bears have an entrant in every running event and all but one field event. That’s the most outdoor-entrants in Boudreaux’s 47-year career that includes 42 state titles in indoor track, outdoor track and cross country.
By contrast, Zachary has eight individuals who will compete in nine spots in the 18-event meet.
“Ruston, I believe, has nine individuals and nine events, so they’re comparable to us,” Zachary coach Chris Carrier said. “Again, it comes down to who can get in that 50-point range. Barbe has some quality and so does Lafayette High. Thibodaux probably has the most total entries.
“Making sure you take care of scoring points where you’re supposed to and controlling the things you can control is the most important thing.”
St. Louis Catholic in 3A and St. Scholastica in 4A are the other defending girls champions. John Curtis in 3A and Opelousas in 4A also won boys titles a year ago.
One the most intriguing entrants in the meet will be Port Allen’s Telson Allen in Class 3A. Allen, who signed with Hinds Community College this week, cleared 6 feet, 10 inches in the high jump at last week’s regional meet and is eyeing 7-0 this week.
Plaquemine was third in the 4A girls competition in 2014 and is led by Asia Nelson and Aldrianna Dupree. Nelson has the top mark in the discus and Dupree ranks among the leaders in the 100 and 400 meters races.
Zachary’s list of girls entrants to watch starts with sprinter Janie O’Connor and shot put specialist Kristian Jackson. O’Connor has the top marks in the 100 in 11.84 seconds and the 400 in 55.90. She is second in the 200. Jackson has the top throw of 41-4 in the shot put.
Other local 5A girls to watch include Denham Springs’ Abigail O’Donoghue (high jump), Live Oak’s Ashley Davis (shot put, discus) and St. Joseph’s Annie Hill (1,600 and 3,200).
Nigel Despinasse and Jace Attuso help lead Catholic in the field events. Despinasse has Louisiana’s top shot put mark of 57-10¾. Attuso ranks among the leaders in the long jump and triple jump. Hurdler Kam Cummings and distance runners Jeffrey Kelley (3,200) and Pierce Hill (1,600) rank among the leaders on the track.
A list of other 3A boys to watch include Parkview’s KJ Drummer (long jump), Hank Patrick (1,600), West Feliciana’s Ryan Reed (100, 200) and Port Allen’s Cameron Brantley (300 hurdles).
WFHS’ hurdler Raven Davis, Jade Hayes of Parkview (long jump) and Baker’s Iyanna Alexander (400) help top the list of girls entrants.