Southern Lab coach Henry Combs expects a “good gumbo” mixture. Like the other coaches, Combs hopes that the second day of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Outdoor Track and Field meet doesn’t get too watered down.
Forecasts calling for rain could be a factor as teams in Class 1A and 2A compete on the second day of the LHSAA’s annual three-day meet at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
“Right now I see White Castle as the team that’s in front of everybody,” Combs said. “But I look for this meet to be unique in a lot of ways. I think there will be a number of races decided by the smallest margins, whereas in the past you had people who won easily.”
SLHS is the defending Class 1A boys champion and is part of a large Baton Rouge contingent looking to garner top honors Friday. Field events start at 1:30 p.m., followed by running events at 5 p.m.
Classification changes will impact team races in both classes. A year ago, John Curtis scored 169 points to win the 2A boys title and Evangel Christian was second. Both schools moved up to 3A for 2013-14. Also moving up from 1A to 2A was Westminster Christian, last year’s 1A girls champion.
“With Curtis and Evangel moving up, you could have more of a traditional 2A meet where the winning team scores between 50 and 60 points,” Episcopal coach Claney Duplechin said. “Right now I think you’ve got teams like St. Thomas Aquinas and us with a chance to do that.
“We both have quality in some areas that can make a difference. There are others ways to win too. A lot goes into winning a state meet. You have to compete well and get some little luck. And if it rains, that will be a factor for everyone to deal with.”
Defending 2A champion Menard-Alexandria is part of the 2A girls mix along with Episcopal, Newman, Westminster and STA. Episcopal was the runner-up a year ago.
“I’m one of those coaches who doesn’t sit down and figure out who has the most points based on the heat sheets,” Episcopal girls coach Eddie Cole said. “I feel like you’ve got a group of teams that can be a factor, and we certainly want to be one of those teams.
“For us, the thing that’s different this year is that we have the chance to score more points in the field. Last year we did about as well as we could on the track but there was a lot of ground to make up.”
The Episcopal boys are led by distance runner Bryan Stamey, who will be entered in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200-meter races. St. Thomas Aquinas sprinter-hurdler Craig Rock is entered in the 110 and 300-meter hurdles as well as the 100 dash. Lakeside’s Chris Lewis is one of the state premier runners in the 100 and 200 meters.
Sprinter Rachel Misher, who won the 100 and 200 meters a year ago, helps pace the Episcopal girls. Distance runner Hailey Hesterman of Shreveport’s Calvary Baptist is another 2A girl to watch.
Distance runners Zach and Trey Capello help lead the Ascension Catholic boys in 1A. Christian Life’s Joseph Moses is a defending champion in the 1A 100 and 200 meters, while Robert Franklin (triple jump) helps lead White Castle.
Xavier Bell (400) has a top mark for a Southern Lab, which also will rely heavily on its relays.