It wouldn’t be a typical state track meet unless Catholic High, Zachary and Episcopal played a significant role.
But the biggest question was whether Catholic could win its 10th straight Division I state title at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA indoor championships.
The Bears saw John Curtis end their streak. But there were enough trophies to go around Saturday at LSU’s Carl Maddox Field House.
“We left some points in the field,” Zachary girls coach Chris Carrier said. “Everybody knows Janie (O’Connor, star sprinter) is going to get her points. This was a total team effort. Last year it took 50 points, and this year we needed 60.”
The Broncos won their second straight Division I girls title with 61 points, fending off Mandeville (52) and Lafayette (42). The Episcopal boys edged Lusher Charter by five points to win a Division II title, while the EHS girls were the Division II runner-up to Lusher.
It was a fight to the finish for Catholic and Curtis. The teams traded the lead throughout the day long meet. Going into the final event, the 4x400-meter relay, Curtis had 68 points; Catholic was at 67½.
The first meeting between the two boys track titans didn’t disappoint. Curtis, which previously competed in Division II as a 3A school, moved up to Class 5A and Division I in 2015-16.
Distance specialist Devyn Keith sealed the deal by anchoring the Patriots’ winning 4x400 relay that finished in 3 minutes, 25.17 seconds. Catholic was fourth, and Curtis won 78-71½. Keith also won the 800 and 1,600 meters in addition to anchoring the winning 4x800 relay.
“I saw Preston (Curtis, John Curtis coach) all day and we said it would probably come down to the last event and it did,” Catholic coach Pete Boudreaux said. “First, I’ve got to commend Curtis. … They’re such an outstanding team. They performed very well. We did well.”
There was a role reversal for Episcopal. The Episcopal girls won a Division II title last season and were supposed to rebuild.
“We’re very young, and we figured it might take the whole indoor season to figure out where we’d be,” Episcopal girls coach Eddie Cole said. “Good thing we didn’t tell the girls. We set four school records today.”
Lusher had 49 points, just ahead of Episcopal at 46. On the boys side, the Knights had 47, compared to 42 for Lusher. The EHS boys had no individual winners.
“You never know what to expect,” Episcopal coach Claney Duplechin said. “We didn’t get the points we thought we might get in the field, but thank goodness for the distance events. We got second and third in the 1,600, and it took off from there.”
Zachary’s Janie O’Connor led the way. The junior was part of a winning 4x200 relay that survived a dropped baton and went on to win the 400 meters in 56.14, just four-hundreths of a second off the meet record. O’Connor also won the 60 meters in 7.48 seconds, a time that ranks seventh nationally. Frankie Griffin (high jump) was the other winner for ZHS.
Nigel Despinasse and Kam Cummings powered Catholic. Despinasse cut loose with a throw of 56-11½ on his final throw to win the shot put. Cummings won the 60 hurdles in 8.22 seconds.
Parkview Baptist’s Nicky Dawson and Ta’la Spates of Brusly made their mark. Dawson, an LSU softball signee running track for the first time, competed in multiple events. She won the Division II 60 meters in 7.70 seconds, just ahead of White Castle’s Ariel Bell.
Spates, a freshman, won the Division II 400 in 58.81. Alicia Stamey broke her own school record while winning the 1,600 meters in 5:18.62 for the Episcopal girls.