It could be a good day for defending champions as the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s State Outdoor Track Meet begins its second day of competition.
But as competitors in classes 1A and 2A, descend on LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium there also are other teams and individuals primed to make their mark.
“The way I see it, there are three of us,” Southern Lab boys coach Henry Combs said. “Ascension Catholic is loaded in the distance events. Ouachita Christian has a little bit of everything.
“We’re going to be relying on our seniors. We have to make every jump and every race count. That’s what a state meet is all about.”
Action begins at 1:30 p.m. with field events. Running events are set for 5 p.m.
A year ago, Ouachita Christian’s boys and girls swept 1A titles, while River Ridge-based John Curtis outdistanced the 2A boys field. Newman-New Orleans won the 2A girls title in a title competition in which no team scored more than 50 points.
The parameters have changed somewhat this year. Curtis remains the huge favorite to win the boys 2A title.
The Patriots are led by Malachi Dupree in the jumps and Anthony Taylor, who has a best of 57 feet, 7 inches in the shot put, while teammate Eric Thomas is seeded third. Curtis’ Dylan Duvio ranks among the national leaders in the pole vault at 17-3½.
“Curtis could almost win it in the field,” Episcopal coach Claney Duplechin said. “We’ve told our guys to go out and have fun and treat it like any other track meet. I think there will be a group of teams, like us, U-High and St. Thomas Aquinas and Lakeside, in the hunt for second.”
Episcopal’s Christian Johnson and Bryan Stamey should team with Lakeside’s Enrique Soto to make the 2A distance events crowd pleasers.
The 1A boys competition in expected to center around a Southern Lab team led by seniors Marquise Ricard (jumps, relays) and Maalik Marshall (hurdles, relays), along with Ascension Catholic and Monroe-based OCS.
Ricard has the top entry marks in the high jump and triple jump. Marshall has the top mark in the 110 hurdles and is among the 300 hurdles leaders.
Ascension Catholic is led by distance runner Zach Capello, who has the top marks in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. Jesse Hood has the top mark in the 800 and the Bulldogs’ Trey Capello is among the distance leaders.
“What you have is three teams that are capable of scoring 60 points,” ACHS coach Rocky Capello said. “But Southern Lab is the only one that I think can score 70, and to me, that gives them an advantage.”
The 1A girls competition figures to be a battle between a number of teams with Ouachita Christian, Kentwood, Hamilton Christian and others in the mix.
Once again, the 2A girls competition could include a mix of teams. Episcopal and Northeast lead the Baton Rouge contingent. Newman, Calvary Baptist and Hammond’s St. Thomas Aquinas are others to watch.
“You always say the usual suspects, and in this case it’s true,” Episcopal girls coach Eddie Cole said.
“We’re excited to be in the hunt. The thing we stressing is competing up to our capabilities and having some fun with it.”
Sprinter Rachel Misher has the top marks in the 100 and 200 meters and also is a part of a top-seeded 4x400 relay for Episcopal. The Knights’ Bria Johnson has the top entry mark in the long jump. Jaylen Cowan (triple jump, 400) helps lead Northeast.
There are a number of individuals to note including Calvary’s Hailey Hesterman, who has the top marks in two of the three girls 2A distance races. St. Thomas Aquinas’ Craig Rock leads the 2A boys 110 and 300 hurdles.
Curtis’ Jacolby Cooper tops the 2A boys 400 entrants, while Lakeside’s Chris Lewis leads the boys 100 and 200 meters entrants. U-High’s D’Vante Dotson tops the long jump entries.
Runnels’ Madelinn Fink has the top 2A mark in the girls 100 hurdles and is among the leaders in the 300 hurdles and long jump.
Catholic-Pointe Coupee is the leader in two of the three girls distance races. Class 1A girls competitors to note include Kentwood’s Darnelia Muse (100 hurdles) and Christian Life’s Brianna Elliott. Christian Life’s Joseph Moses (100) and White Castle’s Robert Franklin (long jump) have top 1A boys entry marks.