Two of the state’s most dominant distance runners will be looking to add another state championship to their already impressive résumés next week in Natchitoches at the LHSAA state cross country meet.
On Wednesday, the two made their future plans official.
Gabrielle Jennings of First Baptist Christian School in Slidell signed with Furman, while Devyn Keith of John Curtis signed with Tulane on the first day of the NCAA’s signing period.
“It just felt right,” Jennings said. “Furman had that same kind of small town feel I get here in Slidell. I was impressed with them from the start and think we can do good things.”
Jennings broke onto the scene as a slender fifth-grader at First Baptist Christian.
She won her first high school title at only 10-years-old and hasn’t slowed since.
She’s won 37 overall state titles in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track over seven years.
Jennings has never lost in a cross country meet in Natchitoches (site of the LHSAA state meet). She’ll attempt to win her eighth consecutive state cross country title next week on the campus of Northwestern State.
Keith, meanwhile, has dominated the distance events at the state meets since his sophomore year. He has won back-to-back individual cross-country championships. He was named the top male performer in the 2014 outdoor meet, defending his title in the 800- and 1,600-meter runs and winning the 3,200. In the indoor meets, he won the 800 and 1,600 both years.
Austin Brown, Keith’s distance running teammate at Curtis, signed with Texas Southern.
Keith and Brown have provided the one-two punch for the Patriots’ remarkable run of state titles in cross country and track.
John Curtis is seeking its third straight cross country state championship. The Patriots track team, coached by Preston Curtis, has won the past five state indoor championships and wrapped up their sixth straight state outdoor track and field title last spring.