Denham Springs distance runner Thomas Kelton had dueled Zachary’s John Paul Hardin in the 3,200 meters several times.
Kelton finished second this time and for once he was OK with it. Kelton knew he and teammate Christian Mallet got exactly what his team needed. By placing second and third in the 3,200 the duo helped give Denham Springs the District 4-5A title.
“I’d already run two races, so I was pretty tired,” Kelton said. “John Paul Hardin … I’ve got to give him a lot of credit. We’ve gone back-and-forth against each other all year. It’s awesome, and I can’t really describe it now. We’ve come close at some meet, but this is the best.”
The meet held Wednesday night at Walker featured two different team races. Zachary scored 235 points to run away with girls title with Janie O’Connor and Kristian Jackson predictably playing lead roles.
The Denham Springs boys took the lead after the 3,200 meters and finished with 137 points.
Scotlandville won the final event — the 4x400-meter relay — and finished second 127, just ahead of host Walker at 123. The top-four finishers in each event advance to a regional meet next week at Catholic High.
“This is the first district title for Denham Springs in a while,” first-year DSHS coach Josh Neal said. “I’ve been at the school for 10 years, and there hasn’t been one during that time. Our distance guys put us over the top, and our field guys really stepped up.”
Kelton placed second in three events, and D’Angelo Stewart, who shared Outstanding Field Performer honors with Walker’s Wes Price, won the high jump in 6-feet, 2 inches, placed second in the triple jump and third in the 110 hurdles. Matthew Guzzardo (pole vault) and Austin Dunaway (discus) won field events for the Yellow Jackets.
Price had second places in the long jump and triple jump. Zachary’s Kristian Jackson shared the girls Outstanding Field Performer honors with Abigail O’Donoghue of Denham Springs.
Jackson won her personal duel with Live Oak’s Ashley Davis with a personal-best throw of 45-0 to win the shot put and 127-1 in the discus to set the tone for the Broncos. O’Donoghue won the high jump in 5-4 and placed in three other events.
“I was excited when I threw 45,” Jackson said. “That’s about a foot longer than I’ve thrown. I had a 130-something on my last discus throw but I fouled. It was a good day.”
Zachary coach Chris Carrier agreed, saying, “It’s the same thing I say every year. One: we want to win the district championship and two: we want to qualify as many people as we can for regional. I thought we did that.”
O’Connor won three events and was the Outstanding Track Performer. She won the 100 meters in a sizzling 11.87 seconds. She later won the 400 in 57.01 and the 200 in 24.22.
Scotlandville’s Trenton Charles was the Outstanding Track Performer for the boys. Charles won the 100 in 10.78 seconds and the 200 in 22.04.
MEET POSTPONED: Weather conditions prompted meet officials to postpone portions of the District 6-3A meet at West Feliciana on Wednesday. The meet will be completed, starting at 11 a.m. Thursday at WFHS.