U-High boys, Episcopal girls claim regional track meets

There are never any guarantees going into a regional track meet. Ultimately, the Class 2A, Region 2 meet looked a lot like the Baton Rouge area’s District 7-2A meet held last week.

University High and Episcopal reprised their roles as frontrunners. UHS scored 90 points to win the boys title and the host Knights finished with 126½ points to claim the girls title Tuesday night at EHS.

“I don’t know the last time we (U-High) won a district or a regional title,” University co-coach Johnny Shoptaugh said. “It’s been many years since we’ve won one or the other, let alone both.

“Whenever you compete against Episcopal in track, you’d better bring you’re ‘A’ game. We had some people who really stepped up and did some things we needed to have.”

The Cubs were locked into a battle with 7-2A rival Episcopal on the boys side and edged the Knights to claim third in the final event, the 4x400 relay, to finish the meet with 96 points. Episcopal (77) and Delcambre (58) were next in the team standings.

Triple-winner D’Vonte Dotson helped set the tone for the Cubs, winning the long jump and two sprint events, the 100 meters and 200 meters.

The Episcopal girls got off to a slow start in the field but rallied on the track with sprinter Rachel Misher helping to lead the way. Misher won the 100 and 200 and also was part of two key relays, including the first-place 4x400 relay that set a school record with a time 4 minutes, 4.28 seconds.

And just like the boys division, the runner-up on the girls side also was a Baton Rouge area team in Northeast (83). West St. Mary (75) was third. The top three competitors in all events advance to next week’s Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Outdoor Track Meet at LSU.

“We knew it was going to be tough in the throws, but we came on and did well in the jumps,” Episcopal girls coach Eddie Cole said. “We knew West St. Mary was good in the field and also had speed on the track. They were ahead of us, but once we got rolling, I felt like there were good things to come.”

Catholic-New Iberia’s Gavin Gautreaux turned in one of the day’s top performances, winning the pole vault by clearing 15 feet. Vinton’s Whitney Adams was equally impressive winning the girls pole vault, clearing 11-4.

However, multiple-event winners were the order of the day for the top teams in both divisions.

Episcopal’s Christian Johnson and University High’s Dotson were both triple winners to top the boys division. Johnson was the meet’s Outstanding Track Performer for boys.

Johnson swept the boys distance events, winning the 1,600 meters in 4 minutes, 30.27 seconds, the 800 (1:58.80) and 3,200 (9:52.32). Dotson won the long jump in 22-10, and then won both sprints, taking the 100 meters in 11.10 seconds and the 200 in 22.61.

“Today was amazing,” Dotson said. “Last week there was a guy from Northeast who showed me out. Today, I just wanted to go out and with my head high and finish strong.”

UHS also got a key boost from Garrett Brumfield, who won the shot put in 45-5 and took second in the discus.

Double winner Dion Cantrelle, of Lake Arthur, claimed Outstanding Field Performer honors for the boys. Cantrelle won the triple jump in 42-7½ and the high jump in 5-10. He also placed third in the long jump.

Another double winner, Gerriana Lyons, helped set the pace for West St. Mary in the field, winning the shot put in 36-9¼ and the discus in 114-12. Lyons shared girls Outstanding Field Performer honors with teammate Gentrell Wells, who won the javelin in 126-9, also took second in the shot put.

Misher, who won the 100 meters in 12.19 seconds and the 200 in 24.79, was the girls Outstanding Track Performer. Misher took the most pride in the 4x400 relay finish.

“I wanted to focus on my team,” Misher said. “I knew we had the potential to win, and we started out slow. I got the feeling that we all needed to step up. Seeing everybody push toward it (title) was something.”

Northeast’s Jaylen Cowan, University’s Hayley Schwab and Runnels’ Madelinn Fink were all Baton Rouge-based double winners in the girls division. Fink won the 100 hurdles (15.64) and 300 hurdles (48.65). Cowan won the 400 (59.72) and the triple jump (34-7). Schwab was first in the 1,600 (5:46.43) and the 3,200 (12:14.87).