Brent Bailey’s track career began as a distance runner.
He ran the 1600 and 3200 meters as a freshman and a sophomore at Chalmette.
But one day in practice, his coaches decided that maybe he should try the sprints.
Bailey, now a senior, won the 100 and 200 meters on Thursday at the 49th annual Bobby Nuss Invitational at Chalmette High School.
Bailey won the 100 in 11.14 seconds and the 200 in 22.27 to win Most Outstanding Track Performer.
He also ran the second leg on the winning 4x100 relay team and finished third in the triple jump.
“I guess I had to find my true love,” said Bailey about the switch from distance running to the sprints. “Coming from the distances, it actually made me more conditioned.”
Bailey, also a basketball player, was pleased with his performance.
“I did OK, “ Bailey said. “I am still trying to improve, find that perfect spot and just get ready for district and state.”
Chalmette also got first-place finishes from Anthony Deal (400 meters), and Montrell Howard (300 hurdles) and Dominic Curole (javelin) to win the team title. It was the seventh time the Owls won the almost half a century old event.
Curole repeated as champion in the javelin with a throw of 174 feet, 6 inches.
He won the event on his first throw of the day. His best throw came on the last throw, but he fouled on his attempt to break the meet record mark of 176 feet, 8 inches, set by De La Salle’s Danshawn Jenkins in 2013.
“They said that last one was in the 180’s, so that’s heartbreaking,” said Curole. “But it feels good to win it two years in a row. Next year I hope to make it three.”
Next season, he can become the first to three-peat in the event.
Bailey was one of three double winners.
Lusher’s Ryan Theyard, Most Outstanding Field Performer, also doubled, winning the long jump and the triple jump.
Theyard is a relatively newcomer to the sport.
The junior was more of a baseball and basketball type of guy.
“People would see me playing basketball and they said I had hops and I should give it a try,” said Theyard.
And he had a little more incentive with his brother Ricky running track at Louisiana-Lafayette.
Theyard’s long jump of 21 feet, 10.5 inches was a personal best. He triple jumped 43 fett, 11 inches, coming just short of his personal best set last week in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic when he leaped45 feet.
Theyard also ran the third leg on Lusher’s 4 x 200 meter relay team that finished second.
Not bad for an athlete who splits his time between track and baseball at Lusher.
He gave up basketball this season because it conflicted with indoor track. He won the 3A triple jump title in indoor track and finished second in the long jump this past season.
“It’s a lot of work doing track and baseball, but the coaches make it easy,” said Theyard, an outfielder.
In one of the day’s closest races, Newman sophomore Michael Brown edged Shaw’s Kyle Soulant at the finish line in the 800 meters in a time of 2:00.09. Soulant finished in 2:00.20.
“At the end, he was slowing down and I was getting that little push,” said Brown, who ran a personal best time. “I got him at the very end. It was amazing.”
Brown also won the 3200 meters (10:23.58).
St. Thomas Aquinas won the girls championship, scoring 82 points to beat second-place Newman (80).
Haley Johnson of Newman doubled, winning the 1600 meters (5:30.79) and the 3200 meters (12.12.95).
Victoria Young of Chapelle also won two events, getting first place finishes in the 200 meters (26.04) and the discus (98 feet, 6 inches).
Cabrini’s Taylor Mumford, the 100-meter champion, was Most Outstanding Track Performer.
Jamie Hawkins of Newman was the Most Outstanding Field Performer after finishing as runner-up in the triple jump and the long jump.