Edna Karr sprinter Edward Davis shook his head and started to walk off the infield when the first numbers of the 60-meter dash final flashed up on the official clock.
He thought it was the third time that day he missed out on a top-place finish at the LSU Indoor High School Qualifier Meet — this time, by the slimmest margin yet.
But as Davis was halfway back to the staging area, he heard something over the loud speaker of the Carl Maddox Field House that put a smile back on his face: by less than one-hundredth of a second, Davis was named champion of the 60-meter dash.
“The way they lined it up, I didn’t think I won,” Davis said. “They had someone else’s name as No. 1, so I was just going to walk it off.
“(When I won), I was happy.”
The race was one of the more closely contested of the night as five sprinters finished within .05 seconds of each other. Davis came out ahead, though, crossing the finish line in 6.991 seconds.
East St. John’s Dontrelle Allen finished second with a time of 6.999 seconds.
The win was a major comeback for Davis, and the Cougars who missed out on several close calls throughout the meet, including Davis’ run in the 400-meter dash in which he closed a seemingly insurmountable gap between him and Southern Lab’s Xavier Bell to finish at 50.42 seconds, just .15 seconds slower than Bell.
Karr also started the meet dropping the boy’s 4x200-meter relay after a bad handoff on the final exchange. Franklin High School eventually won the race with a time of 1:31.88. Karr’s team — on which Davis ran the second leg — finished at 1:32.28.
“Our third-to-fourth leg on the 4x200 was a faulty handoff, and that kind of slowed us up,” Davis said. “Franklin gained on us, and we had to take second.”
Not all of the night’s races were as close as some of Davis’, however, with a pair of north shore schools dominating in their competitions.
The Mandeville girls distance runners took home several titles, particularly ones Chelsey Jones ran.
Jones not only took home an individual title in the 800 meters by posting a 2:18.00, but she also anchored the Skippers to a commanding victory in the 4x800-meter relay with a time of 10:08.15, a full 14 seconds faster than second-place St. Joseph’s.
“The girls did a pretty good job overall,” Mandeville coach Gerald Singer said. “Chelsey is Chelsey — she’s going to give you a good performance all the time.
“(10 minutes, 08 seconds) is not bad for right now.”
St. Paul’s junior Eric Coston earned himself a trip to the podium in the 1,600-meter run early in the day when he coasted to victory with a time of 4:25.44.
But Coston missed out on a chance to test himself against one of the state’s top talents in John Curtis’ Devyn Keith who sat out of the meet for unspecified reasons, Curtis distance coach Chaz Caiado said.
“It’s always a great race with Devyn because he’s a great guy and a great competitor,” Coston said. “But we still had a pretty good, star-studded mile field with (Ascension Catholic’s Zach) Capello, (Parkway’s Hayden) Kingfisher and (Catholic’s) Jeff Kelley and all those guys. It was still good without Devyn either way.”