Big day for Lionel Dufrene, Fisher track and field program _lowres

Lionel Dufrene, Fisher track and field athlete

Lionel Dufrene was in the fifth grade the last time a Fisher athlete won a state track championship.

The senior ended the school’s drought Friday.

Dufrene won the Class 2A state title in the discus with a throw of 129 feet, 9 inches at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Track and Field championships at LSU’s Bernie Moore Stadium.

“It feels pretty awesome,” Dufrene said.

“People are calling me crying saying how proud they are of me.”

Dufrene won his title before a pair of lengthy lightning delays that lasted over two hours.

He became just the third Fisher athlete to win a track title.

He joins Justin Walker, who won the javelin in the early 2000’s, and Alwyn Payadue, who won the 800 meters in 2007.

Dufrene won the title after making a giant leap from the previous two seasons. He finished seventh as a sophomore and sixth as a junior before making his way to the top of the podium this year.

“That’s a big jump, but it was just hard work and technique,” Dufrene said. “It was just practice, practice. I came in with high hopes and expectations, and I did it.”

The toughest part, he says was overcoming the rainy conditions.

“You really had to watch your footing,” said Dufrene, a center on the football team.

Dufrene just missed his personal best throw of 131 feet.

His title didn’t come as a surprise to Fisher coach Lance Guidry.

“Since I have been doing this, he is the hardest working kid I have had the privilege to coach,” Guidry said. “He does everything you ask and much more.

“There have been times I needed an extra runner on a relay team, and he steps in. He does whatever it takes for the team.”

Guidry is hoping Dufrene’s title will be a springboard for more success for the Fisher track program.

“Track is a sport where it takes a lot of individual hard work,” Guidry said. “We hope when the others see how Lionel excels, it builds up our future. He’s just one of those all-around good people that you love having around.

“He is very coachable and just a great leader.”

Dufrene, given the nickname “the Sherman Tank” by his uncle for his 6-foot, 250-pound frame, led a 1-2-3 sweep for New Orleans area schools in the discus.

Drew Drouilhet of Newman finished second (128-6) and Gary Sampson of Northlake Christian finished third (122-4).

Dufrene plans to attend Southeastern Louisiana next season and may try to walk on to the track team.

But he spent Friday night celebrating.

He stopped at a local restaurant in Baton Rouge and ate alligator with his family and coaches.

“It still hasn’t hit me yet,” he said. “I think it will all sink in sometimes in the morning.”