Ouachita Christian School’s boys squad completed a mission that was a year in the making Thursday evening at the LHSAA/State Farm track and field championships.
After finishing second by one point at the 2011 meet, the Ouachita Christian boys squad was determined to prove itself worthy of a championship finish.
Mission accomplished for the Eagles’ boys, who more than doubled their output from a year ago with a winning total of 103 points. Ascension Catholic was second with 44 points, and Southern Lab third with 39.
The Ouachita Christian girls captured their second consecutive team title and third in four years with a tally of 98 points. Hamilton Christian led early but finished second with 79 points.
“This is what we went into the year expecting,” Ouachita Christian coach Daniel Bristo said. “The girls had everybody back, and the guys were just ticked off about losing by one point (to Hamilton Christian) last year.
“The guys were focused and they worked, and our girls are just amazing.”
The Ascension Catholic boys battled Southern Lab for second, and Zach Capello’s first-place finish late in the meet in the 3,200 meter run (10 minutes, 20.43 seconds) was enough for the Bulldogs to hold off the Kittens.
The Ouachita Christian boys picked up three individual wins to go along with firsts in the 4x100 (42.46) and 4x400 (3:26.97) relays. Other Eagles wins came from outstanding male performer Braden Bristo in the 300 hurdles (40.00), Ahkeem Henderson in the 200 (22.15) and Bo Harper in the shot put (53 feet, 4¾ inches).
Southern Lab had three wins, including two from Marquise Richard, who defended his titles in the high jump (6-4) and triple jump (47-0). The Kittens’ Moalik Marshall won the 110 hurdles (15.28).
“I wanted to go 50 in the triple, and at least 6-8 in the high,” said Richard. “I knew there would be competition, but I felt I would come out with the win somehow. I had a little trouble in the high jump, but I pulled it together.”
Another local athlete, Christian Life’s Jerrell Richardson, won the 100 dash with a time of 11.01 seconds.
The Ouachita Christian girls fell behind early but dominated on the track. The Eagles girls had two wins and scored in nine of 11 events on the track.
Ouachita Christian’s Ashton Chowns set a Class 1A record in winning the 800 (2:17.86). Becca Dark won the closest race of the day, edging Christian Life’s Anna-Katherine Devitt in the 1,600 (5:19.43) by a hundredth of a second. Devitt, who came back to win the 3,200 (11:55.51) for the fourth consecutive year.
“I wasn’t expecting anything,” said Devitt, a senior whose early season training was hampered by illness. “I always go into a race just trying to run as hard as I can. It’s been a joy to come out and still be able to win after a season like this.”
Hamilton Christian’s Nique Griffin was named outstanding female performer after wins in the 400 (58.31) and 200 (25.40).
Another dual winner for Hamilton Christian was Rhea Thompson with wins in the shot put (35-6) and discus (119-7). Kentwood’s Darnelia Muse won the 100 hurdles (15.58), and broke her own class 1A mark in the 300 hurdles (46.14).
But, in the end, it was Ouachita Christian’s day to shine.
“When we looked at the meet on paper, we felt like we could win it just in the field or on the track,” Bristo said. “That’s how balanced we were, and it panned out just like we thought.”
Copyright © 2011, Capital City Press LLC • 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • All Rights Reserved