The passing of the baton has a literal meaning in high school track. It would be hard to top the figurative passing of the torch between Asia Nelson and Aldrianna Dupree.
The Plaquemine duo provided some special moments during the Class 4A portion of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Outdoor State Track & Field meet on Saturday.
Nelson and Dupree were entered in a total of four total events and scored 38 of their team’s 44 points. What was a going away party for Nelson, one of the few seniors for Plaquemine, turned into a coming out party for Dupree, a freshman who established herself as one the state’s up-and-coming young sprinters.
After Nelson won her lone field event Dupree took over. She won two sprint events and placed second in the other at the meet, which featured competitors from Class 5A, 4A and 3A at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium. Dupree was surprised to be selected as the Outstanding Girls Performer.
“Asia has been a great leader for us,” Dupree said. “I love her to death, and what she did inspired me. I was just determined to do my best, and whatever times I ran I knew I’d be OK with. Now I’m really happy. I didn’t expect this (award) at all.”
Plaquemine finished third in the 4A girls standings with 44 points, behind Edna Karr with 60 and St. Scholastica with 48.
“This is the third time we’ve finished third in the last four years I believe,” PHS coach Peter Villia said. “I’d rather be on the awards stand, but regardless I’m so proud of this group.
“We’re a very young team. Asia is one of the few seniors we have. And she came through for us. Aldrianna had a great day. It was a good day.”
Westgate edged Cecilia 45-43 to win the won the 4A boys title. Fair Park and Riverdale were a distant third with 24 points. Lutcher’s Tahrike Jones won the 400 meters and St. Michael’s Alex Landry was third in the 3,200 to lead the local 4A boys group.
Nelson’s event was the discus. The senior entered the meet with the top entry mark of 112 feet, 9 inches. The multi-sport Green Devil didn’t just better that mark, she obliterated it with a throw of 136-6.
“I’m very pleased, I actually PR-ed today,” a smiling Nelson said. “I was hoping to do my best, and I did. It feels absolutely amazing to known I did the best I could on the last event of my high school career.
“Because we didn’t have as many people at the meet I felt like I needed to push myself even more to do. I knew I could be better, so I pushed myself as hard as I could.”
Nelson’s victory took place before the running events began.
“At first, when I lined up for the 100, I was really nervous and my start really wasn’t good,” Dupree said. “But at the end I picked it up. I felt so good. After that I put my head down and ran as hard as I could.”
Dupree had a non wind-aided the winning time of 11.91 seconds, quite a coup for a ninth-grader. She was the only 4A competitor to crack the 12-second barrier.
She then finished second in a highly competitive 400 race in which the top five finishers all finished under one-minute. Warren Easton’s Nikole Haroon won in 57.65 seconds. Dupree was next at 58.22.
The Green Devils’ day ended with Dupree winning the 200 meters in 25.13 seconds. The freshman is now set to carry on for Plaquemine, yet another notable time for a freshman now set to carry on as one of the leaders. Though St. Scholastica picked up a late win in the 3,200 meters to claim a second place in the team standings, Villia saw the positive point.
“Hopefully, this is something we can build on for next year,” Villia said.