The Episcopal High School boys and girls track teams are both trying to climb the mountain for the third consecutive year, but there was preliminary business to be taken care Tuesday night.
Both squads are two-time defending state champions for Class 2A, and both led most of the evening as they won their respective classes at the Region II meet hosted by Episcopal.
The Episcopal boys rolled up 162 points to finish well ahead of Madison Prep, which was second with 66. Christian Life (54), Capitol (51) and East Feliciana (48) were the next closest challengers.
The Episcopal girls had 135 points, and were chased by Madison Prep (95), Notre Dame (68), Christian Life (51) and Delcambre (47.50).
Individually, the Knights advanced boys competitors for 20 spots in 14 events for next week’s state meet at LSU’s Bernie Moore track stadium. The Episcopal girls qualified for 15 spots in 11 events.
“I’m thrilled to death,” said Episcopal boys coach Claney Duplechin, who was too busy running the region meet to notice how many athletes had qualified for the state meet.
“We started out a little rough, but then we kind of caught ourselves and said, ‘Let’s go after it.’ We had a so-so district meet and not many (personal records), but tonight we were hitting on all cylinders.”
The Knights won five events, including two each by Graham Frazier and Kevin Tripeaux. Frazier won the 1,600-meter run (4 minutes, 37.06 seconds) and the 3,200 (10:16.48). Tripeaux was first in the long jump (22 feet, 5 inches) and the high jump (6-6).
It was redemption for Tripeaux, who was seeded first in the javelin, but failed to qualify for the final.
East Feliciana’s Treydarius Carr won the 100 (11.44) and went on to score 22.5 points, and was named outstanding track performer. Tripeaux was the top field athlete.
The Episcopal girls won six events total, and had a pair of multiple winners in Alicia Stamey and Parish Kitto.
Stamey won three events; the 1,600 (5:25.22), 800 (2:20.65) and 3,200 (11:44.94). The Knights distance runner finished in the top six or better in all three events at last year’s state meet. Her regional times in the 800 and 3,200 were well ahead of the pace she kept in those races last year.
Kitto won the pole vault at 12-0, and then came back to win the 100 hurdles (16.30).
Despite his team winning the team title, the evening was bittersweet for Episcopal coach Eddie Cole.
“We celebrate with those that are celebrating and we grieve with those that came up a little short,” Cole said. “The thing about the regional meet is there’s finality to it if you don’t advance. We have a large group of seniors that has been a part of two championship teams.”
The Madison Prep girls also had a successful meet winning five events and qualifying for 10 places in nine events at the state meet. Of particular note were the Chargers’ relay teams which won the 4x200 (1:43.82), the 4x100 (50.67) and the 4x400 (4:06.83).
MPA’s Alexis Augustus was named the top field athlete after scoring 23 points including a win in the high jump (5-0). Stamey was the top track performer with 30 points.