Scouting the competition is something every coach does.
But when the Episcopal cross country program made it into the National Federation of High School Association’s record book a few years ago, coach Claney Duplechin took it to another level.
The Knights won the 20th boys state title in a row Monday in Natchitoches. Episcopal’s streak is the nation’s second longest behind Hopi High of Keams Canyon, Arizona. Hopi won its 26th title in a row earlier this month.
“When I saw their streak, my first thought was ‘Wow, that’s awesome … who are these guys?’ ” Duplechin said. “So I starting researching Hopi to find out everything I could.”
Like many cross country coaches, Duplechin keeps parents and runners informed about practices, meets and other information through emails and newsletters. As Duplechin learned more about the Arizona-based team, he passed that information along too.
One of the great things about high school athletics is the diversity. Episcopal and Hopi offer the perfect study of contrasts.
Episcopal is a private school located in a metropolitan area in a large college town. Hopi is a public school with a proud Native American heritage located in more of a rural setting. The more Duplechin learned about Hopi, the more it intrigued him.
Part of the story behind running for the Hopi teams stems from the area’s Native American roots. Running was a ritual for those looking to end a drought.
This information was part of what Duplechin shared. Consider that sharing of knowledge to be part of the educational experience. It’s something few coaches, especially the successful ones in all sports, ever get enough credit for.
Of course, the streaks are still alive and this story is one that will continue. There might be an additional chapter that brings the schools from different states and backgrounds together.
Duplechin has contacted Hopi and hopes to visit the school during a vacation to a nearby area planned for the summer.
The Episcopal runners have told Duplechin they’d love the chance to run against Hopi one day. And they’d like it to be one day soon.
“It’s definitely something we’d like to do,” Duplechin said. “We could we go to Arizona or maybe we can work out a way for them to come to Louisiana. That would be something.”
Indeed it would.
Red Stick selections
Head football coaches from throughout the Baton Rouge are invited to take part in selecting the 90 players who will participate in Red Stick Bowl XIV at 1 p.m. Monday at Woodlawn High School.
Players from throughout the Baton Rouge area will be picked to play on one of the two teams who will square off in the annual all-star game set for Dec. 29 at BREC’s Olympia Stadium.
Plaquemine coach Paul Distefano and Central assistant Ken Hilton have been selected as the head coaches. Contact organizers Barrett Murphy at (225) 266-4997 or Dennis Lorio at (225) 936-4921 for additional information.
Team Drew clinic
Former University High basketball coach Ari Fisher is conducting another “Team Drew” fundraising clinic designed to help defray the medical expenses for Drew Moscona, son of popular broadcaster Matt Moscona.
The clinic will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at the Forest Park BREC gym on Harrell’s Ferry Road.
Drew Moscona was hospitalized in Houston and underwent several surgeries to repair a heart defect during the early stages of his life last year. The clinic is for fifth-graders through eighth-graders. The cost is $80 per camper and all campers should bring their own labeled basketballs.
Walk-up registration will be accepted the day of the clinic, but those campers won’t receive T-shirts. Call (225) 933-7887 for details. Checks made out to Fisher can be delivered Friday at the clinic.
All football and volleyball coaches should submit their all-district teams to The Advocate this week.
Football teams will not be published until their respective seasons are over. Volleyball teams will be published in the days ahead. Our staff needs to start processing them. Teams can be submitted by fax to (225) 388-0318 or email to