For Riverdale sprinter Donte Jackson, it was the perfect ending.
Jackson’s stellar high school athletic career ended right where his college career will begin.
The LSU-bound football player climbed to the top step of the awards stand twice at Bernie Moore Stadium, with Tiger Stadium looming in the background.
Jackson capped his high school career in blazing fashion, repeating as Class 4A champion in both the 100 and 200 meters at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Outdoor Track & Field Meet.
“With Death Valley right in the shadows of the stadium, I feel like I ran my best race from start to finish and did what I was supposed to do,” said Jackson. “It was my second straight year winning both and I think I gave the people what they wanted to see. People don’t want to see a state champion come out and look like they downgraded. I think I had a productive day.”
Jackson will play defensive back next season for LSU, but said he also plans to continue his track career.
“Although I’m going to college for football, track is what I do,” Jackson said. “A two-time state champions has to run track.”
Jackson ran personal best times (10.30 seconds in the 100 and 21.26 in the 200) in his final competition in a Riverdale uniform.
“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “I wish I had a another year to come out here and take the field as a Rebel and to take the track as a Rebel, but all good things come to an end. I have to get ready to come to Baton Rouge with the same intensity on my mind and with a chip on my shoulder.”
While Jackson went out on top, the Edna Karr girls track team returned to the top.
The Cougars won their first state title since 2003, scoring 60 points to outscore second-place St. Scholastica (48).
They did it with just five girls competing at the state meet.
Karr got a pair of first-place finishes from its 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams.
The 4x200 relay team (Rikianne Patterson, Imani Mulmore, Taylor Harris and Dimonquie Shannon) won their event in a time of 1:44.48.
The 4x100 relay team of Patterson, Mulmore, Tasia Wilson and Shannon won in 49.06
“It’s incredible,” said Mulmore, who finished fourth in the 100 and third in the 200. “I just came from basketball and we lost in the Final Four. Nobody believed we could do it in track, but I’m so proud of the girls individually. We have a freshman, a tenth grader and two juniors. So that’s really amazing.”
There were six individual girls winners from the New Orleans area in 4A.
Ellen Feringa of St. Scholastica won two events, taking first place in the 1,600 (5:17.90) and the 3,200 meters (11:23.44). She will run cross country and track next season at College of Charleston.
St. Scholastica junior Samantha Zelden repeated as champion in the javelin, breaking the class record she set last year.
Zelden threw a personal best 150 feet, 4 inches, surpassing the mark of 146 feet from her sophomore season.
“I’m pleased with it. Honestly, my goal was to throw in the 140’s because I have had elbow problems since the Mobile Meet of Champions. So being able to throw a personal best was a good showing.”
Tayla Celestine of Cabrini, who will compete at Southeastern Louisiana next season, repeated as champion in the 100 hurdles (15.44)
Other girls 4A winners from the New Orleans area were: Warren Easton’s Nikole Haroon (400 meters); Ben Franklin’s Paige Fatland (800 meters); and Ursuline’s Lauren Parker (high jump).
The Warren Easton 4x400 relay team (Tiyana Bienemy, Tailor Durousseau, Kiyante Harvey, and Haroon) captured first place in 4:05.88.
Jackson was the lone boys individual winner from the area.
The 4x200 relay team from McDonogh 35 ( Trayon Sanders, Anferne Burthlong, Ivan Brooks and Jared Miles) won in a time of 1:27.73.
Westgate scored 48 points to win the boys team title.