NATCHITOCHES — There was traditional symmetry. And a bit of a surprise.
St. Joseph’s Academy and Catholic High swept the Class 5A titles and St. Michael the Archangel claimed both runner-up spots in 4A on the final day of the LHSAA Cross Country meet.
The Redstickers won their fifth straight title and it was the fourth in a row for Catholic. Notable for St. Michael was its first runner-up boys finish five years. The University High boys in Class 3A also were runner-up finishers.
The surprise came with the first race of the day when Albany’s Cayden Boudreaux won her first LHSAA title in Class 3A. Boudreaux, a freshman, was the Baton Rouge area’s only individual champion on Tuesday at Northwestern State’s Walter Ledet Track.
That victory was an effective starting point for a local contingent that found ways to excel throughout the day.
“I don’t really know how to describe it,” SJA coach Mark LaHaye said. “Five in a row is something you might dream about, but I don’t think it is something you expect.
“We thought it was going to be the best racing conditions we have had here in a few years. Sophie (Martin) had been sick last week and she was very impressive. Our whole mantra was perseverance and they persevered.”
The Redstickers had 48 points to place ahead of Dominican at 84. Martin led the way with a second-place finish and a three-mile time of 18 minutes, 37 seconds, just behind Dominican’s Kelsey Major whose 18:33 was the fastest girls time during the two-day meet.
“This year was hard at times.” Martin said. “I am just so proud of my team.
SJA placed three runners in the top 10 and so did Catholic in the 5A boys race. Daniel Sullivan led the Bears with a third-place finish in 15:39. Ruston’s Dyllon Nimmers (15:17) and Evan Pardo (15:18) ran the fastest boys times of the two-day meet. The Bears had 44 points and Jesuit was next at 66.
“I knew if I hung with those guys they would take me out fast,” Sullivan said. “At the two-mile mark, they (Nimmers and Pardo) made a good surge. I didn’t have that left in the tank. This was about the team, not me. I needed to hold onto third.”
“We did exactly what we had to do today,” Catholic coach Pete Boudreaux said. "What a great race."
The jubilation on the face of St. Michael coach Neil Borel was evident after both second-place finishes. Rebecca Quebedeaux finished third individual for the Warrior girls squad that edged Teurlings Catholic by eight points (57 to 63) for the runner-up trophy.
“Last year I was fourth and I had it in my mind that I wanted to push to get into the top three,” Quebedeaux said. “That was great. Being able to get a trophy with my team this year is special.”
Dawson Latona finished fourth to lead the St. Michael boys, who scored 50 to finish behind Belle Chasse at 31.
“I am ecstatic to be able to bring two trophies home,” Borel said. “Nothing has been normal about this year with the pandemic. Today was so much fun.”
University High senior Nick Edmonson called the year, “A wild ride with COVID.” The Cubs scored 92 points to take second in their 3A race with fifth-place finisher John Hall Hays leading the way.
“Sometimes you a rated high and it doesn’t pan out,” UHS coach Pat Fellows said. “This year we were back in the pack and I think that makes it more exciting.”
And that 3A girls race Albany’s Boudreaux won in 18:57 also was exciting.
“I have never been in a race like this before,” Boudreaux said. “Most races, I go out and run as fast as I can. This was different because. So many great runners. It was amazing.”