St. Scholastica junior Samantha Zelden set an LHSAA state meet record in May in Baton Rouge.
Zelden was hoping to add her name into the Allstate Sugar Bowl Track and Field Classic record books as well at Tad Gormley Stadium on Saturday.
Her javelin throw of 145 feet, 3 inches was 10 inches shy of the Sugar Bowl record, but it was still enough for Zelden to earn Outstanding Track Performer.
“I tried really hard this year, but unfortunately I was a few inches short,” Zelden said. “Luckily, I’m only a junior so hopefully next year I can reach the record.”
The record of 146-1 was set last year by Kristen Clark of Ruston.
“Overall, I’m pretty pleased with my performance,” Zelden said. “This is only my second meet this season and practice has been scarce because I have softball as well. So honestly, I’m happy to be throwing back in the mid-140s.”
Last summer, she threw a personal best of 148-7 to win the gold medal in the 17-18 year old division at the AAU Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa. That came just a few months after she threw 146-0 at the state meet to lead St. Scholastica to the Class 4A state title.
Zelden, a third baseman on the St. Scholastcia softball team, said she is managing the double duties just fine.
“At times it can be tricky,” she said. “Fortunately this season, I haven’t had any games and meets that have interfered. It takes a lot of work, but I wouldn’t change anything about it.”
Zelden was one of just three Louisiana athletes (all from the New Orleans area) to get a first-place finish in the meet that also featured teams from Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Mandeville’s Chelsey Jones won the 800 in a time of 2:15.49. Jones won her race despite battling flu-like symptoms for the past 2½ weeks.
“Congestion, coughing, runny nose, stuffy nose, fever,” rattled off Jones when asked about her symptoms. “It’s harder to breathe when you run. You just have to know how to control it more. (After the race) is the worst part.”
But it didn’t stop her from winning by more than three seconds.
“I wanted to run faster,” she said. “I was on pace until the 600 (-meter mark) and I just slowed down. I don’t know if it was the wind or I just died. I wanted to do a 2:10, but it didn’t go as I planned today.”
Rikkianne Patterson, a sophomore at Karr, won the long jump with a leap of 17-8½.
The day’s top girl performer was Maia McCoy of Whitehaven (Tennesee). McCoy, a Tennessee signee, won the 100 (11.82) and the 200 (24.14). She also anchored the winning 4x400 relay team (4:00.11) and the second-place 4x200 relay team (1:42.41) to make her an obvious choice for Outstanding Track Performer.
Hoover (Alabama) won the team title easily, outscoring second-place Whitehaven 106-69.
Mandeville finished fifth with 31 points; Karr sixth with 25 points.
Hoover’s win, coupled with the boys’ win, marked just the third time a school has swept the girls and boys Sugar Bowl titles. The last time it happened was in 2006 when Fontainebleau pulled off the double. Ruston also did it in 2005.