The Division II girls competition at the LHSAA Indoor Track and Field Championships were as close as it could be Saturday afternoon at LSU’s Carl Maddox Fieldhouse.
It was so close that St. Katharine Drexel and defending champion Academy of Sacred Heart finished tied, and shared the team title after each scored 50 points.
Those were two of three team state girls champions for the New Orleans area; Curtis won the Division I title.
Sacred Heart led St. Katharine 49-40 entering the meet’s last event, the 4x400 meter relay, and posted a time of 4:18.64 in the first of two heats. The Cardinals needed a fifth-place finish or better, or for St. Katharine to place second or worse, to win the team title.
The Jackets won their heat and picked up 10 points with an event-winning time of 4:09.24. Sacred Heart missed a fifth-place finish when St. Thomas Aquinas ran 4:18.50, leaving the Cardinals with one point for the race.
“We ran our season’s best time, but by .14 seconds we finished sixth instead of fifth,” Sacred Heart coach Greg Caro said. “But, a tie is still a state championship. I’m very happy for St. Katharine because last year they were favored, and one of their main stars blew out her hamstring in the first running event. No one wants to win that way.”
St. Katharine was languishing in sixth place for much of the day but made a move after Alia Armstrong and Kayli Johnson finished first and third in the 60-hurdles. Armstrong, who also finished second in the 60, ran a meet record time of 8.59 to win the hurdles.
Armstrong’s hurdles time was the 12th-fastest by a high schooler in the nation this season.
“(Greg Caro) is my friend,” St. Katharine coach Don McGhee said. “Our schools are less than a mile away from each other. If we’ve got to share this, then I’m glad it's him.”
Sacred Heart set a meet record of its own with the winning team of Emily Leblanc, Olivia Boyd, Olivia McGoey and Mary Nusloch in the 4x800 relay. The quartet broke a 15-year-old record with a winning time of 10:02.11.
“Our coach told us before the race that we had a shot at the record,” Nusloch said. “During the last leg I was just thinking about my teammates and how I wanted to finish for them.”
In the Division I girls competition, John Curtis led St. Joseph’s Academy 56-55 before the 4x400. The Patriots finished second while the Redstickers were seventh, and John Curtis took home the team title.
John Curtis had 64 points while St. Joseph’s was second with 55.
“The girls did everything they were supposed to, and it all came together,” said Curtis coach Eric Smith, who added praise for jumper Diamond Smith.
“Diamond Smith was a big surprise (in the high jump). She put it all together today and jumped 5-4 (second place). That gave us eight points, which was essential to our victory today.”
Episcopal High of Baton Rouge won the Division II boys title with 82 points. Catholic High took home the Division I boys trophy after scoring 65 points. John Curtis and Brother Martin were tied for fourth with 26 points.
Curtis sprinter Corey Wren has battled a hamstring injury but still won his third consecutive individual title in the 60. Already the fieldhouse composite record holder in the event with a time of 6.80, Wren’s winning time of 6.83 on Saturday was the eighth-fastest high school time this year.
“It was a good race,” Wren said. “There were a lot of new guys I hadn’t seen before. But, really, at state it's all about points. I got the win, so it was good.”