The Opelousas High boys and St. Scholastica girls overcame the elements and their challengers Saturday in the Class 4A competition at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association outdoor track and field meet.
Opelousas totaled 46 points to take the boys but had to sweat out the meet’s final event before claiming the team trophy.
Opelousas entered the 4x400 meter relay needing no worse than a third place to finish to surge past Benton, which led by four points. The Tigers did just that as they scored six to edge Benton (44) and West Ouachita for the win.
Any number of mistakes would have done in Opelousas’ chances, Tigers coach Kenneth Winfrey said.
“All those things went through my mind — slipping, dropping the baton, exchange zone violation, all sorts of things,” Winfrey said. “And we only needed six points. That was the hardest six to get, but I am so proud of my boys. They came through.”
The team title was the first for Opelousas since 2007.
St. Scholastica took a different path to its title and held a lead so comfortable that the outcome was decided when it ran the 4x400 relay. The Doves won the event anyway with a time of 4 minutes, 9.68 seconds.
St. Scholastica finished with 65 points and was followed by Vandebilt Catholic (32), Plaquemine (31) and St. Michael (28).
“We knew we would be in the mix as long as we ran what we were supposed to,” St. Scholastica coach Sam Sanders said. “We ran amazing. We ran better than we expected in some events, and we did what we needed to in others. They all contributed to this team effort.”
Opelousas got the bulk of its points from three individual wins. On the track, Collins Roberts won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:00.33. In the field, Daquon Bellard was a double winner taking first in the long jump (23 feet, 8½ inches), and the triple jump (43-6).
Bellard was named outstanding male performer. for his efforts.
Along with its closing relay triumph, St. Scholastica’s title was also punctuated by three individual wins. Carley Boyce won the 1,600 with a time of 5:19.43, and Madison McDaniel was tops in the 800 with a time of 2:18.96. Samantha Zelden helped out in the field winning the javelin with a throw of 146-0.
St. Michael’s Tyler Morrison was the only local athlete to record a win. Also a basketball player for the Warriors, Morrison won the 400 with a time of 58.77.
“My expectations were very high. I don’t like losing. It wasn’t an option, at all,” Morrison said. “After running summer track for so long, and then giving it up for basketball I thought it was time to come out here again.”
Morrison was a nationally-ranked middle distance runner before redirecting her competitive spirit to basketball.
“I was No. 1 in the nation (in the 800) two years in a row. I was just tired, and I fell in love with basketball.”
Plaquemine’s Aldriann Dupree was second to Morrison with a time of 59.43. Other top area finishers were St. Michael’s Tylor Row, second in the 100 hurdles: Plaquemine’s Asia Nelson, third in the discus: and St. Michael’s Joy Onwuzuligbo, second in the high jump.