Coaches and athletes took care of the business at hand at the District 5-5A track and field meet at Catholic on Thursday, namely competing for team points and personal records.
At the same time, they were aware of the importance of finishing in the top four of each event to qualify for next week’s regional meet at Ponchatoula, a meet St. Joseph’s coach Charlie Daigle said will be “a war, just like it is every year.”
The big orange wave of Catholic High washed over its new home track, rolling up 256 points to 89.5 for second-place Dutchtown, 70.5 for St. Amant, and 57 for Baton Rouge High.
Team scoring was a little closer on the girls side, with St. Joseph’s Academy scoring 165.5 to 118.5 for Baton Rouge High. Dutchtown and St. Amant tied for third with 95.
SJA had point production from its usual stalwarts such as distance runners Annie Hill, a double winner in the 1600 and 3200 meters, Gabrielle Chauvin and Sara Catherine LeBlanc; and hurdlers Chelsea Rose Bagnerise and Marguerite Poche, but it was the performance of his relay teams that had Daigle excited.
“If one thing stood out it was our relays,” he said. “We’ve never run times like that before. The last two weeks, we’ve had the four people we want (on the relay teams) and we got a senior, Ann Marie Barfield, back, and that really helped.”
St. Joseph’s edged Baton Rouge High in the 4x200 and 4x100 relays before the Lady Bulldogs came back with a convincing 8½-second win in the 4x400.
Baton Rouge High had a 1-2 finish from Terrilyn Legier and Tiera Henderson in the 200 meters and a strong showing by Loren James, who took first in the shot put and second in the discus.
James tied for top individual in the field events with Maggie Duplechein of St. Amant, who finished first in the high jump and second to SJA’s Landry West in the triple jump.
Duplechein left the pit area on a cart after she suffered an apparent knee injury following an awkward landing in the triple jump. Her status for the regional meet is now questionable.
East Ascension scored 33 points, and 20 of those came from sprinter Ariane Williams who took the 100 in 12.74 and the 400 in 57.32.
“I really wasn’t pushed tonight. I knew I had it from the get-go,” said Williams, who last week signed with Southeastern Louisiana. “Every meet is different, though, and next week will be more challenging.”
Williams said she has run “neck-and-neck” with Zachary’s Janie O’Connor, a state indoor sprint champion and a triple winner at Wednesday’s District 4-5A meet.
Catholic High had double winners in Nigel Despinasse (shot put and discus), Kam Cummings (110- and 300-meter hurdles) and Jace Attuso (long jump and triple jump).
Catholic High sprinters Logan Hart and Sethan Hollier swapped places in the 100 and 200-meters, with Hollister finishing second to Hart in the 100, then winning the 200 with Hart in second place.
“I tend to win the 100, and he (Hollier) tends to win the 200. We go at it in practice, too,” Hart said. “It (their friendly rivalry) is definitely a good thing.”
Both runners said they ran new personal best times in both the 100 and 200.
Baton Rouge High had strong runs from distance runners Kennedy Smith, Jeremy Wall and Ryan Burrell.
Catholic High coach Pete Boudreaux saw his team perform about as he expected.
“Until you do it, you don’t know, but I think we’ve got everything in place for next week,” he said.
And what will next week’s meet be like?
“It’s going to be hot,” BRHS coach Zach Winfield said. “Just hot.”