Sugar Bowl track meet starts Friday

The Allstate Sugar Bowl Track & Field Classic returns to Tad Gormley Stadium on Friday and Saturday, with a record number of entries slated to compete.

The event features more than 100 boys and girls teams from the Southeast. This year’s event has set meet records with 124 teams (64 boys, 60 girls), 1,484 student-athletes and 2,463 total entries.

Other states represented in the meet include Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee.

While strong performers are featured throughout the schedule, the girls sprints should be hotly contested. Marcquita Stalbert, a junior from McDonogh 35, is the two-time defending champion in the 100-and 400-meter dashes. She also won the 200 as a freshman in 2011, the year she took home Outstanding Track Performer honors. She is entered in all three events this year, as well as the 800-meter relay

At the Class 4A state championship last spring, Stalbert captured titles in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes, while also adding a title in the 4x200-meter relay. She broke the 32-year old composite state mark in the 400. This weekend, she will be challenged by a strong sprint field, including Aleia Hobbs (McMain), Nicole Henderson (McDonogh 35), Victoria Young (Chapelle), Alexia Fortenberry (West Jefferson), Bryianna Richardson (Helen Cox) and Shannon Ray (Xavier Prep). Hobbs was the Class 3A state champion in the 100 and 200 last year, while Young, just a freshman, is undefeated in all sprints this spring. She will also compete in the 100, 200 and 400.

The boys’ sprints will feature some star power from the football field as St. Augustine’s Leonard Fournette, one of the top running backs in the nation, is slated to run the 100- and 200-meter dashes as well as the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.

The boys event that may prove to be the highlight is the pole vault, which will feature defending champion Dylan Duvio of John Curtis. Duvio has a career-best mark of 16-9.25 and will hope to upset Devin King, from Jewel Sumner, who has cleared 17 feet, 1 inch this year.