A series of lightning-induced delays forced the Louisiana High School Athletic Association to postpone the conclusion of Friday’s Class 1A-2A portion of its LHSAA/State Farm Outdoor Track and Field meet Friday night.
Teams are scheduled to resume their meet at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium with the sprint events. Only one field event, the 2A girls discus, will need to be completed.
The LHSAA’s regularly scheduled meet for Class 3A, 4A and 5A will go on as scheduled with field events at 10:45 a.m. and running events at 3:30 p.m. also on Saturday.
“They talked to the National Weather Service, and this is supposed to keep up until 4 o’clock in the morning,” LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson said. “You just can’t keep everybody here that long. With the outlook being the way it is, the decision was made to call it a night and come back in the morning and pick up right where we left off.
“It’s just going to be much different. I think the big concern is going to be what are some of these schools going to do with the kids. If they’re from north Louisiana or southwest Louisiana, they were planning to go home tonight. They’ve got to try and make some kind of arrangements. I’m not sure what the outcome of the actual competition will be or who’s going to run. This definitely could affect that.”
Athletes in Class 2A worked their way through most of the field events in a light to heavy rain. Heavier rain and lightning started at the end of the Class 2A girls 1,600 meters. A delay of approximately two hours followed.
Under LHSAA rules, an event is postponed 30 minutes every time there is a lightning strike within six miles of the venue. A string of nearby lightning strikes made the delay longer.
Once the meet resumed it was stopped just two events later, after the boys 2A 1,600, because of another lightning strike.
One field event, the Class 2A boys pole vault, was moved indoors to the LSU’s Carl Maddox Field House after the coaches of the athletes involved agreed to the move. Catholic-New Iberia’s Gavin Gautreaux ultimately won the pole vault with an effort of 15 feet. CHSNI also got an early first place from Devin Verret in the javelin (175-4).
The title hopes for the Episcopal girls took a hit early when Bria Johnson injured an ankle before getting in a jump in the long jump. Johnson finished fourth in the high jump.
But the Knights picked up some added points when Kaitlyn Walker won in 5-2, edging Newman’s Avery Rowan on fewer misses. Walker had the No. 4 entry mark.
EHS placed fourth in the 4x200 relay and took a 28-20 lead when Alicia Stamey placed second in the 1,600 meters, the final race before the long rain delay. Calvary Baptist’s Hailey Hesterman won in 5 minutes, 21.53 seconds.
Alicia Stamey’s points gave the EHS girls a 28-26 lead over Jonesboro-Hodge and St. Thomas Aquinas through seven events.
Episcopal’s boys got a jump start in the field from Jeremiah Mayes, who won the high jump in 6-0 and placed fifth in the triple jump. St. James’ Jerrell Joseph was third.
The Knights’ Bryan Stamey won the 1,600 in 4:44.72, holding off Newman’s Michael Brown on the final straight away to add 10 points as heavier rain began falling, followed by more lightning just before 8 p.m.
Bryan Stamey’s finish pulled the Episcopal boys within one point of the lead. Newman had 27 points through nine events, followed by the Knights with 26.
Northeast had a second-place finish in the girls 4x200 relay,
Catholic-NI’s Reagann LeLeux won the girls 2A pole vault in 11-0, clearing in fewer attempts than St. Thomas Aquinas’ Anna Miller.
STA’s Crystal Rock had fourth places in the girls long and triple jumps.