Catholic High Invitational expects big numbers

Another week brings another major high school cross country meet set for Highland Road Park.

The Catholic High Invitational on Saturday at Highland is expected to feature about 1,500 runners and helps highlight this weekend’s schedule that also includes two Capital City Swim League meets at the Crawfish Aquatics pool.

“One thing is for sure, young people are running,” Catholic coach Pete Boudreaux said. “We’ve got 85 schools coming and a total of 155 teams. And it’s not just the high school runners. There are 374 boys and 333 girls registered for the two middle school races.”

Action begins at 8:30 a.m. with the two-mile junior high girls race. The two-mile junior high boys race is next at 9 a.m. The two three-mile varsity races for girls (9:30 a.m.) and boys (10 a.m.) help complete the action along with a 10:30 a.m. junior varsity/open division race.

Though 707 runners are registered for the two junior high races, the 350-runner boys varsity and 295-runner girls varsity races will be showcases for many of the top teams in Louisiana.

The two top-ranked Northshore area teams in the latest Louisiana Track & Field Coaches Association polls, St. Paul’s (boys) and Mandeville (girls) help lead the field.

“You’ve got a group of teams, like us, Brother Martin, Jesuit, Curtis and Episcopal who are all pretty similar,” Boudreaux said. “St. Paul’s is just out there ahead of the rest of us. For the girls, you have Mandeville and you also have (St. Joseph’s Academy) along with Menard. That should be a great competition.”

St. Paul’s Zachary Albright was first at last weekend’s St. Joseph’s Academy Invitational and leads the list of boys competitors. Albright’s teammate Eric Coston, a freshman, was second last week.

Episcopal’s Bryan Stamey (third) and Ascension Catholic’s Zach Capello (fourth) top the list of Baton Rouge runners. Twins Bryce and Beau Robinson of Hannville also should be part of the top group.

The girls race should feature some intrigue. St. Joseph’s freshman Annie Hill is unbeaten but will face one of the state’s top distance runners, First Baptist Christian’s Gabrielle Jennings for the first time. Mandeville’s Olivia Murphy placed second to Hill last week.

Swimming

The first Capital City Swim League meet starts at 8 a.m. and features Lutcher, Zachary, St. Michael, Parkview Baptist, Baton Rouge High and Scotlandville. Catholic High helps top the list of teams set to compete at 11 a.m., along with Episcopal, St. Amant, University, Central and Walker.

Parkview’s Jolee Liles (100- and 200-yard freestyles) and BRHS’ Kara Ye (200 individual medley, 100 butterfly) are girls will two top entry marks in the first meet. PBS’ John Miller (100- and 200 freestyles) is the only boy with two top marks.

Catholic’s Brady Grenfell (200 freestyle, 100 butterfly) and Connor Futch (200 IM, 100 backstroke) have two top boys entry marks for the second meet.

Episcopal’s Bailey Stevens (200 and 500 freestyles), Chanler Turnley (50 and 100 freestyles) and Alyssa Kelliher (200 IM, 100 breaststroke).