Episcopal and White Castle High don’t normally have much in common because they compete in different classifications.
The two schools get the chance to display their track traditions when the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Track & Field meet continues Friday with competition for Class 2A and 1A.
“We’ve qualified people with some good marks, and I feel like we’ve done everything we can,” Episcopal girls coach Eddie Cole said. “But I keep coming back to the fact that this is the state meet and anything can happen. Through the years, I’ve seen some crazy stuff things, so you can never take anything for granted.”
Episcopal swept the 2A titles for boys and girls a year ago. White Castle was the 1A boys runner-up in 2014. The WCHS girls, along with Ascension Catholic boys and girls, also figure to be among the others to watch.
Field events start at 1:30 p.m., followed by running events at 5 p.m. at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
The race for the team title and the competition for the top individuals are two key points for any meet. The LHSAA’s 2A-1A meet is no exception.
Episcopal used a balanced attack led by sprinter Rachel Misher to win its 2A girls title, edging Hammond’s St. Thomas Aquinas by 10 points. Misher has the top marks 100 meters and 200 meters once again. The Knights are traditionally strong in the distances and are led by Alicia Stamey.
It’s much the same story for the Episcopal boys squad that finished 40 points ahead of the second-place team in 2014. Jumps specialist Jeremiah Mayes (high jump, long jump, triple jump) and distance runner Alex Dunbar (1,600 and 3,200 meters) are Episcopal standouts.
“It’s time … everybody is qualified, and they’ve trained and prepared,” Episcopal boys coach Claney Duplechin said. “The goal is to improve on where you’re seeded.
“We’ve qualified well and have guys who are in position to do some good things in the distances and some other places. Sometimes, it comes down to who has the best day. You have to get points wherever you can.”
Perhaps the most compelling story could come in the 1A boys competition. White Castle was the runner-up to Haynesville last year. At that time, White Castle coach Kevin Jackson declared that the Bulldogs would be back and they are. Sprinter-hurdler Jacory Jones helps lead the way for WCHS.
Southern Lab and the ACHS boys also should factor in the 1A boys picture. Ascension Catholic will be among the teams battling Hamilton Christian-Lake Charles in the 1A girls competition.
“We are back, but now we have to perform,” Jackson said. “We’ve got four spots in the field, and it’s important for us to get as many points as we can there before the running events start.”
While the Episcopal distance runners will be worth watching, 1A Ascension Catholic distance runners Zach Capello and Stephanie Breaux are also in position to provide some highlights.
Capello, a Yale signee, is concentrating on the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. Capello has a season best of 9 minutes, 12 seconds at an out-of-state meet and will look to take down a 27-year-old class record.
The 35-year-old 1,600 meters mark could be something Capello and the other top competitors, St. Mary’s Scott Maggio and John Ellender of St. Frederick, shoot for. Breaux has the top marks in the 1A girls 1,600 and 3,200.