Stories will abound at state indoor

Some high school track and field meets are like an open book packed full of stories to share. Expect the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s State Indoor Track Meet to be like one of those books.

Action begins at 11 a.m. Saturday at LSU’s Carl Maddox Field House with field events. Running events follow at 2:30 p.m. with titles for boys and girls teams in Division I and Division II at stake. Schools in Class 5A and 4A compete in Division I, while schools in 2A and below compete in Division II.

“There’s just something about a state meet that gets your blood pumping,” Catholic High coach Pete Boudreaux said. “I think there are several teams that qualified well, including us. I’ll be out there as a cheerleader for our guys and really for everybody, including the teams in the other division. I think you’ll see great competition.”

The meet will feature team and individual competitions. Baton Rouge-based Catholic High has a string of six straight Division I boys titles. The list of challengers includes BR rival Dutchtown, the 2012 5A outdoor champion, along with New Orleans area schools, Edna Karr and Covington-based St. Paul’s.

Baton Rouge High was last year’s Division I girls champion. Lafayette High, BRHS and St. Louis are among the teams to watch this year.

“We’ve been working on our relay exchanges and tweaking a few things,” said BRHS Zach Winfield. “It’s going be interesting. It’s going to take at least 50 points to win.”

The Division II competition should be equally compelling. New Orleans’ Xavier Prep is the defending girls champion and will no doubt be a sentimental favorite in light of the recent announcement that the 98-year-old school will be closing at the end of the school year. Hamilton Christian-Lake Charles and Hammond’s St. Thomas Aquinas are others to watch.

Defending champion John Curtis, of River Ridge, is the heavy favorite in the Division II boys competition. St. Thomas Aquinas is another team to watch.

There are many individual stories that will also unfold. The Division I girls 55 meters features Baton Rouge High’s Mikiah Brisco and two McDonogh 35 runners, Marcquite Stalbert and Nicole Henderson separated by two one-hundreths of a second in their qualifying times.

Stalbert also has the top time in the 400, while Brisco and Northside-Lafayette’s Kiesha Jack are expected to battle West Jefferson’s Alexia Fortenberry in the Division I girls 55 hurdles.

LSU football signee Jeryl Brazil, of Loranger, has the state indoor record in the 55 meters but will be challenged in the Division II race by Lakeside’s Chris Lewis. Though he is not the top seed, St. Augustine’s Leonard Fournette, a top football prospect in 2014, will compete in the Division I boys 55.

Zachary High’s Donald Gage, a two-time Division II long jump champion for Redemptorist, seeks his third individual title in a row.

Also in Division II, Curtis has a series of solid entries led by pole vaulter Dylan Duvio, who set a state composite indoor mark of 16 feet, 7 inches at the final indoor qualifier two weeks ago. Lusher Charter’s Ricky Theyard tops the Division II long and triple jumps entrants.

Dutchtown’s Cory McBride (55) and Catholic’s Ken Ward (55 hurdles) and Garret Broussard (shot put) are other BR area boys competitors to watch. Donaldsonville’s Ka’lynn Jupiter, who has top Division II girls marks in the 55 hurdles and triple jump.

The two girls pole vault events feature 12 competitors who have cleared 10 feet, including Division I leader Aaliyah Walker of West St. Mary (12-6).