McDonogh 35’s Stalbert cruises in Sugar Bowl prelims

NEW ORLEANS — McDonogh 35 sprinter Marcquita Stalbert isn’t really chasing times. Or goal medals.

“I’m chasing a dream,” Stalbert said.

Stalbert’s dream is to run professionally one day. Being one of Louisiana’s top sprinters certainly has her on the right path.

Cruising through Friday afternoon’s preliminaries in the girls 100, 200 and 400 meters at the AllState Sugar Bowl Track & Field Classic was a simple task for Stalbert, who won all those events in Class 4A at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Outdoor Track Meet last spring.

On Friday, she had the fastest time in the 400 meters (56.08 seconds), several seconds off last season’s state performance which broke the race’s 32-year-old record (53.73).

In the 100, Stalbert enjoyed the second-fastest time (12.03), setting up a showdown today with Eleanor McMain’s Aleia Hobbs, herself a defending Class 3A state champion who finished in 11.93. Also in the finals are Xavier Prep’s Shannon Ray (12.11) and McDonogh 35 teammate Nicole Henderson (12.13), who at state last season, placed third in the 100 and 200 meters.

Later, in the 200 meters, Stalbert ran the fastest time again, this time in 24.02. Henderson (24.70), Hobbs (24.79) and Ray (25.21) will join her in the finals.

“She gives me a push,” Henderson said of Stalbert. “We compliment each other in a lot of races.”

Competition Saturday starts at 10:30 a.m. with heats of the 1,600 and 3,200 meters and field events. Running events continue at 1 p.m.

Meanwhile, Saturday’s finals of the boys 100 meters read like a Who’s Who of local football powerhouses, with Edna Karr’s Jeremy Hicks heading into the two-heat finals with the fastest time (10.62), followed closely by teammate Sharkieth Beverly (10.83).

Not to be outdone, John
Curtis’ Sherman Badie (10.87) also qualified, as did St. Augustine’s Leonard Fournette (10.95).

“I felt good during prelims; just getting ready for tomorrow with me and my teammate making the finals,” Hicks, who predicted records will fall in the boys 4x100 and 4x200-meter relays.

Several meet records were broken Friday.

Helex Cox’s Bryiana Richardson blew through the preliminaries in the girls 300-meter hurdles (43.19) to set one record. West Jefferson’s Devin Scott won the long jump with a performance of 24 feet, 11 1/2 inches and John Curtis’ Anthony Taylor dominated the boys shot put with a throw of 58 2 1/2 meters.

“It wasn’t my best, but I can settle,” said Taylor, who two weeks ago placed fourth at indoor nationals with a throw of 61 feet.

“I know I can throw a lot further, but other than that, it was an alright day.”

Taylor is aiming to win state titles this spring in the shot put as well as the discus, which he started throwing late last season.

Hewitt-Trussville of Alabama won the boys 4x800-meter relay, helping it enter the second day of competition in first place in the boys competition with 22 points.

St. Paul’s Episcopal of Alabama leads the girls competition thanks to first-place finishes in the pole vault, discuss and high jump.