CHS' Boutte hopes third time is the charm
CROWLEY – Tonori Boutte has been there before.
The Crowley High sprinter began running track as a sophomore and has steadily improved each season, earning a trip to the Class AAA State Track and Field Championships each year since.
Saturday’s championships at LSU’s Bernie Moore Stadium will be his final hurrah as a prep thinclad and Boutte hopes the third time is the charm.
“I just want to come out and run well for my team,” said Boutte, who will be competing in the 100- and 200-meter dash as well as two of the three relay events. “I also want to show the college recruiters that I can run on the big stage and get a good time.”
Boutte, who already has scholarship offers from UL-Lafayette and McNeese and has also drawn interest from Clemson, placed fourth in the 100-meter dash as a sophomore and followed that up his junior year with a second-place showing in both the 100 and 200.
“My first year, I was the only runner from Crowley High that qualified so I went by myself and I was kind of nervous,” said Boutte. “I actually did better than I thought I would. Then last year I was second.
“I have progressed each year. I ran a 10.9 (in the 100) my first year and 10.6 last year. My times are going down .3 seconds so I’m hoping to run a 10.3 this year. I ran it already this year so, hopefully, I can do it again.”
Boutte will lead a strong contingent of Crowley High athletes into the state meet. The Gents will also be represented on the track by Rontravious Foreman in the 1600- and 3200-meter runs as well as Taylor Doughty, Kristian Allen, Tuskani Figaro, Chanz Moore, Ben Murphy and Davante Bourque in the relays. Qualifying in the field events are Kaleb Cormier in the triple jump and Nick Cavell in the javelin.
“This is the largest group that we’ve sent to the state meet in a while,” said CHS coach Wes Jacob, who was a member of the Gents’ last state championship track team (1988). “I don’t know the last time we qualified in nine events. We didn’t even have nine events when we won it all.”
The Gents will have to be on top of their game in order to bring home another state title, however. Erath is the heavy favorite heading into the meet while Crowley looks to be in the mix somewhere in the Top 5.
“On paper, we’re looking at fourth or fifth,” said Jacob. “Erath looks like the team to beat, but you never know. A point swing here and there and five different schools could win it.
“If we do exactly what is projected, we’re going to score about 41 points and there are a couple teams that will have 44 and Erath will end up with like 50. We’ll have to have some of our best performances to be in the mix. We don’t necessarily have to win each event.
“Heck, in nine events, we’re not projected to win any of them. But if we move up one spot here, one spot there, get a point that we’re not expected to get, we could have a chance. It’s just a matter of taking it one event at a time and we’ll see what happens.”
Crowley’s lone participant on the girls’ side is Mercedes Rogers. The sophomore won the triple jump, the long jump and the 300 hurdles at last week’s regional meet in Alexandria to qualify for Saturday’s event.
“Mercedes has really come around the last three weeks,” said Jacob of Rogers, who was sixth last year in the 300 hurdles at the state meet. “She’s only been triple jumping the last three weeks. If she jumps exactly what she jumped last week, she’s expected to finish second or third in both events. But she jumped a foot further from district to regionals. If she goes out and has one of those days and she’s in the groove, anything can happen.”
Notre Dame will also be in action in the state meet, sending four athletes in the field events.
Mayme Cook will be making her third appearance at the state meet when she competes in the javelin. Cook won the event last week at the Region II meet with a toss of 133-2.
Kylie Pannell will compete in the high jump after placing second at regionals last week with a leap of 5-4.
On the boys’ side, freshman Hunter Stelly threw a 177-5 last week on his final throw to win the javelin and advance to state while Jeremy Smith placed second in the high jump (6-2).
Church Point is sending six boys and two girls to the meet.
Gallen Williams will represent the Bears in the shot put on the boys’ side while Tyler Veronie will run the 800 and Rene Veronie will run in the 3200.
The Bears’ 4x400 relay team of Tyler Veronie, James Bellard, Desmond Bellard and Zach Meche will also be in action.
On the girls’ side, Robbie Dailey will participate in the javelin and Tequila Richard will compete in the shot put.
Field events for the state meet get underway at 10:45 a.m. while the running events are slated to begin at 3:30 p.m.