It was all about Baton Rouge as the Louisiana High School Athletic Association/State Farm Outdoor Track and Field meet concluded Saturday with Class 5A.
Catholic High won its second 5A boys title in a row and sixth in seven years, while Zachary High edged five-time defending champion Baton Rouge High by one point to win the girls title. Another area team, Dutchtown, was the 5A boys runner-up.
Zachary needed a second-place finish in the final event, the 4x400-meter relay, to win and placed second to Natchitoches Central with a season-best time of 3:58.93.
“I tell you what, those girls came out in the 4x400 knowing what they had to do and they did it,” ZHS coach Chris Carrier said. “These four ladies came out and performed. You’ve got to give Baton Rouge High credit they came out and did what they had to do. It was a fight to the end.”
The 4x400 relay team of Kenyetta Franklin, Tia Coleman, Jennifer Brown and Janie O’Connor put the finishing touches on the Broncos’ 51-point total. Baton Rouge High (50), Barbe (43) and C.E. Byrd (43) were next.
There was no suspense in the 5A boys race as Catholic rolled up 50 points in the throws and ended up with 72 points in the field events. The Bears tallied 103 points, to finish ahead of Dutchtown (48), Haughton (38) and St. Paul’s (36).
“We got such a huge jump start with our throwers and all of our field,” Catholic coach Pete Boudreaux said. “It was a case of picking up what we could on the track. That’s a special team. They’re all special.”
Baton Rouge High’s Mikiah Brisco concluded her career with three individual wins and was voted the Outstanding Performer for the girls. Brisco also anchored the Bulldogs’ crucial relay win. She won the 110-meter hurdles in 14.02 seconds, the 100 meters in 11.55 (the nation’s No. 4 time) and the 200 in 24.07.
Dutchtown’s Tyler Hughes won the 110-meter hurdles in 13.83 seconds, a time that ranks second nationally. Hughes was third in the 300 hurdles and was voted the boys Outstanding Performer.
“I thought it (second-place finish) was a possibility,” Dutchtown coach John Talley said. “We’re a little surprised, but we’ll take it. We were just talking about it ... in 5A we distributed the trophies out in our region. The competition is pretty tough, but we’re proud of our teams.”
The Bears took the top two spots in two field events and placed second and third in another.
Matthew Venable won the javelin with a toss of 183 feet, with teammate Matthew Root finishing second. Ross Quinlan won the discus (177-9) and Nigel Despinasse was second. Quinlan was second and Despinasse third in the shot put.
“We helped set the tone for how the rest of the meet would go,” Venable said.
Catholic picked up a win from Chance Stephens, who won the high jump in 6-8 and caused a few moments of excitement by attempting 7-0 after notching the win.
Walker’s Kyle Baudoin and the Bears’ Chadd Burns cleared 16-0 in the pole vault, with Baudoin getting the win based on fewer misses. Central’s Craig Jones placed first in the long jump in 23-4¼.
There were some other impressive marks. Hahnville’s Brandon Singleton was second to Hughes in the 110 hurdles, but came back in a big way by winning the 300 hurdles in a 5A-record time of 37.43. In addition to Hughes’ win in the 110 hurdles, Dutchtown also won the 4x200 relay in 1:27.13.
Meanwhile, the girls race was a nail-bitter.
After Brisco won the 200, BRHS held a slim 50-43 lead over rival Zachary. Barbe-Lake Charles and Shreveport-based Byrd were both at 39.
“I said it would take 52 points,” BRHS coach Zach Winfield said. “We were spectators in the last event (4x400), and we’re not used to that. We’ve always had that before, but that’s what we were dealt.”
O’Connor, a freshman, helped Zachary into the spotlight by winning the 400 in 55.10 and anchoring a winning 4x200 relay in 1:40.20.
Baton Rouge took the lead by winning the 4x100 relay in 47.76, edging out Dutchtown and Zachary by less than a second. The win gave the Bulldogs a two-point lead over Barbe.
Two other BR area competitors were first-place finishers, Live Oak’s Ashley Davis (shot put, 40-9) and Denham Springs’ Abigail O’Donoghue in the high jump (5-4).
Zachary also picked up key points with second-place finishes by O’Connor in the 200 and Kenyetta Franklin in the 300 hurdles.
Byrd’s Caroline Campbell (300 hurdles, 43.64) and Fontainebleau’s Madison Heath (pole vault, 12-7) set 5A class records. Mandeville’s Chelsey Jones set class and composite records by winning the girls 800 in 2:12.04.