Zachary, Denham Springs standouts shine at LHSAA indoor track qualifying meet _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Zachary's Janie O'Connor takes first in the Girls 60-meter dash at an indoor track meet last month at LSU's Carl Maddox Field House.

Movie sequels like “Matrix Reloaded” are entertainment staples. Sequels aren’t just shows at a theater.

Will LSU’s Carl Maddox Field House be the site of LHSAA State Indoor Track meet “Reloaded?” That’s the question going into the one-day meet that begins at 11 a.m. Saturday with field events. Track events start at 2:30 p.m.

“I think it’ll be real competitive,” Zachary coach Chris Carrier said. “On the girls side, it could be the first one to reach 50 points. And the thing is you’ve got four or five teams capable of that.”

The typical indoor gang of track dominance is all set to be there. Baton Rouge High is the defending Division I/Class 5A-4A girls champion. Class 5A outdoor champion Zachary, Ruston, Lafayette and Mandeville also are in that leader group.

Catholic High has won eight straight Division I boys indoor titles. Karr and St. Paul’s are among the challengers.

“I think our situation is a lot like the girls,” Catholic coach Pete Boudreaux said. “We’ve qualified people in a lot of events, but they’re not all high seeds. We need to get points where we can and see how they add up. You’ve got several teams capable of doing the same thing.”

In Division II/Class 3A and below, defending boys champion John Curtis and last year’s girls champion, Lake Charles-based Hamilton Christian are safe bets to win again. Franklin, Episcopal, Southern Lab and St. Thomas Aquinas are among the Division II boys challengers. St. Louis Catholic, St. Thomas Aquinas and Episcopal also are among the girls challengers.

There is plenty of star power in the Baton Rouge area contingent. Zachary’s youthful girls squad is led by sophomore sprinter Janie O’Connor and freshman Kristian Jackson, who has the top shot put mark.

Another sprinter, Episcopal’s Rachel Misher, will be among the Division II girls to watch. Like O’Connor, Misher is set to compete in the 60- and 400 meters races.

Catholic is led by shot put specialist Nigel Despinasse, whose entry mark of 56 feet, is the best in either division. Ascension Catholic’s Zach Capello (3,200 meters), Episcopal’s Jeremiah Mayes (high jump) and Southern Lab’s Xavier Bell (400) are others to watch.

St. Joseph’s Academy’s Annie Hill has the top Division I girls mark in the 1,600 meters. St. Thomas Aquinas is led by Cameron Dantzler in the boys jumps.

Another Division I event to watch will be the boys pole vault. Lafayette’s Armand “Mondo” Duplantis and Walker’s Kyle Baudoin are both entered at 16-4.

Denham Springs’ Abigail O’Donoghue has the top mark in the Division I girls high jump and could challenge the meet record of 5-8. Dutchtown’s Leah Scott has the top Division I mark in the long hump.

Distance/middle distance runners Devyn Keith of John Curtis (Division II boys 1,600 and 800), Gabrielle Jennings of First Baptist Christian (Division II girls 1,600 and 800), Eric Coston of St. Paul’s (Division I boys 800), Assumption’s Jacob Daigle and Mandeville’s Chelsey Jones (Division I girls 800) are others to watch, along with Karr sprinter Edward Davis in the 400.

Also notable is the Division II girls pole vault that helps open the meet. Catholic-New Iberia’s Reagann Leleux and Opelousas Catholic’s Amy Stelly both cleared 11-6 at an earlier meet.