Having just competed in her fourth event of the day, the 200-meter dash, it took a minute for St. Thomas More senior Camille Hensarling to catch her breath to talk about how she, somewhat unexpectedly, became the biggest star of Wednesday’s Region II-4A track and field meet at Ragin’ Cajuns Track Facility.
But when she was able to answer a few questions, albeit through heavy breathing, she couldn’t really explain it. Her only goal at regionals was to qualify for state in her three individual events -- the long jump and the 100 and 200 meters.
Instead, she won them all and, most impressively, set new Class 4A high in the 100 meter. She already set the class standard in the long jump at last week’s District 4-4A meet, leaping 17-10.5. Then on Wednesday, she edged Carencro’s Johneisha George to win the 100 meter with a class-best 11.98. In the 200 meter, Hensarling crept past George, the class leader in the event, to clock a winning 25.20.
“I didn’t think I was going to make it at all in the 200,” said Hensarling, who placed fourth in the long jump and 100 meter at state last year but didn’t start competing in the 200 meter until this season. “It just happened. (Coach Walter Whitfield) just put me in the event, and it happened. I didn’t think I was going to make it until district. Then I knew I had a chance to qualify (for state).”
In total, Hensarling, the regional’s Most Outstanding Female Performer, tallied 32 points. She was part of STM’s second-place 4x200 relay team.
“I was hoping to at least place in all three to go to state,” Hensarling said. “I wasn’t thinking I was going to do this well today.”
“She’s excellent,” Whitfield said of Hensarling. “You couldn’t ask for a better athlete, especially as far as a teammate. She sets the standard on what it means to practice hard and do what she needs to do. She takes coaching very well.”
Hensarling’s outing helped the STM girls best Teurlings Catholic for the regional title by 16.5 points, clipping the Rebels by a small margin for the second week in a row. Teurlings finished just 12 points behind the Lady Cougars in last week’s district meet.
The STM girls, which finished fifth at state last year, qualified for state in 11 events, including three relays, six running events and two field events.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take a regional championship any year,” Whitfield said. “But my concern is just trying to get as many kids to state as possible because a state championship ain’t possible unless you got the bodies to produce the numbers you need.”
On the boys side, defending Class 4A champion Carencro removed the bitter taste of last week’s district loss to Westgate by winning the regional title, outscoring second-place Breaux Bridge by 49 points. As it always is with the Bears, they shined on the track, winning three relays and four individual races.
“We got in the back of our minds that we don’t want to lose anything,” said Carencro coach Stephen Barrett. “District kind of hurt a little bit. We got a couple of guys that didn’t show up, and then we just didn’t really run up to par that week.”
The biggest surprise with Carencro was that sophomore Jonathan Green beat senior teammate Trejun Jones, the Bears’ team captain and UL signee, in the 200 meter. Jones and Barrett were pleased to see that, however.
“I’ve been telling (Green) all year, ‘You’re going to get (Jones). You’re going to get him. You’re going to get him.’ And he finally got him today,” Barrett said. “Jones might be a little tired, but, hey, I’m happy because he got him today.”