The Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s State Outdoor Track and Field Meet ends Saturday with competition for teams in the state’s three largest classifications.
It’s a large-scale meet that likely will feature competition of huge proportions, with the competitors in Class 5A leading the way and challenging the Baton Rouge’s top-ranked teams, Catholic High (boys) and Baton Rouge High (girls).
“Everybody is really looking at us, but the competition is coming from many areas,” BRHS coach Zachary Winfield said. “Our regional was probably as tough as a state meet, and hopefully that helped prepare us. St. Scholastica has distance runners and (its) field is strong. Thibodaux is another team you can’t count out. They’ve got a lot of entries. And Lafayette High is there.
“We’re strong, but we also have to do a real good job of doing what we’ve done throughout the year. Don’t get uptight about it. You’ve got to be at your best and perform on the day of the meet.”
The meet for teams in Classes 3A, 4A and 5A begins at 10:45 a.m. at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium with field events. Running events start at 3:30 p.m.
BRHS won the girls title by a wide margin a year ago. The question is, can others close the gap? The Bulldogs rely on sprints and relays to score their points.
Thanks to the fact that each girls relay is expected to be competitive with several teams bunched close together, points are not guaranteed to any team.
A year ago, Catholic finished as the runner-up to Dutchtown. This year, the Bears have powered their way past competition all year, winning most meets by 50 points or more.
Along with having some top entrants in events, Catholic has entrants in a variety of events with chances to score.
“We feel pretty good about the way we qualified,” Catholic coach Pete Boudreaux said. “We qualified well, but then you have Airline with 14 or 15 spots. St. Paul’s is strong in the distances and can score well there.
“I just love the state meet because the competition is so great, and it’s fun to watch. As a team, you want to be able to say you did the best you could.”
BRHS is led by sprinter Mikiah Brisco, who has the top entry marks in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and 100 hurdles, while also competing in the relays.
Ken Ward (110 hurdles), D.J. Woodard (300 hurdles) and Matthew Rhorer (800) have top entry marks for the Bears. Dutchtown’s David Elias (shot put) also has a top mark, while Ponchatoula’s Steven Barze (high jump) is another competitor to watch. Live Oak’s Ashley Davis (shot put) and East Ascension’s Ariane Williams (400) have top girls entry mark.
New Orleans area competitors with top 5A marks include West Jefferson’s Devin Scott (long jump, 100) and St. Paul’s Zachary Albright (1,600 and 3,200). St. Scholastica’s Marygrace Gitz (high jump) and Fontainebleau’s Nicole Durham (1,600 and 3,200) are among the girls to watch.
Competition for 3A and 4A also should be intense. Abbeville won the 3A girls title last year, with Donaldsonville finishing as the runner-up. Jewel Sumner was the 3A boys champion a year ago.
McDonogh 35 of New Orleans edged Northside of Lafayette by two points to win the 4A girls title a year ago; both teams have impressive entries again. Another New Orleans team, Karr, was the runner-up to Breaux Bridge for the 4A boys title and is expected to be among the frontrunners.
Football standouts will be showcased in the 3A and 4A sprints. LSU signee Jeryl Brazil, of 3A Loranger, and St. Augustine’s Leonard Fourette, the nation’s top prospect for 2014, are competing. Karr’s Speedy Noil competes in the 4A long jump and relays.
Sumner has a sprinter of its own in Brandon Jynes and also relies on distance specialist Leonel Moreno and pole vaulter Devin King. Texas A&M signee Darian Claiborne will compete in the throws for Port Allen.
Recent LSU signee Ka’Lynn Jupiter (100, 300 hurdles) helps lead the Donaldsonville girls in 3A. New Orleans girls sprinters to note include McMain’s Aleia Hobbs in 3A, McDonogh 35’s Nicole Henderson and Marcquita Stalbert in 4A. Helen Cox’s Bryiana Richardson (100, 300 hurdles) is another competitor to watch.