Church Point's Zack Meche inks with Louisiana-Lafayette
CHURCH POINT – For Zack Meche, track and field was just a way to stay in shape for football during his first three years at Church Point High School.
But heading into his senior season, all that changed for the 5-3A All-District defensive back.
“This year, I actually set my goals high (in track),” said Meche. “I went out and worked hard every day. Coach would give us a time that we had to run a certain workout in and I’d always try to beat it and it showed in the end.”
Did it ever.
The senior shaved over four seconds off his time in the 400-meter run from the prior season and his time of 48.63 in the District 5-3A broke a school and area record in the event that has stood for nearly 30 years. The previous record was held by Jeff Richard (48.65).
His performance in the regional meet at Louisiana-Lafayette was also impressive. Meche ran a 49.06 but was disqualified after running out of his lane.
But his effort didn’t go unnoticed.
Ragin Cajuns’ coach Lon Badeaux was on hand for the regional and apparently liked what he saw.
So much so that he offered Meche a scholarship, which the senior signed and faxed back to the Ragin Cajun Athletic Office Thursday morning.
“The first time I ever saw or heard of Zack was at the regional meet,” said Badeaux. “His coaches came up to me and told me I might want to watch this kid. I knew he ran a PR the week before and he really kind of came on at the end (of the season).
“He’s the kind of kid that you run into every once and a while that I think is really going to be able to help us out down the line.”
Despite the disheartening disqualification in the 400, Meche returned to the oval later in the meet and helped lead his 4x400 relay team to the regional title in a time of 3:26.41.
“It was aggravating getting disqualified in the 400,” admitted Meche. “I could have easily gone to the 4x400 relay and just folded. But I knew my team had worked just as hard as I did to get there. I wasn’t going to let them down by not running good.”
Meche ran even better at the state meet.
Despite getting the exchange on the anchor leg behind 400-meter champion Johnta Hebert of Glen Oaks, Meche made up the ground at the 200-meter mark and never looked back, leading his team to the state title in a school record time of 3:21.42. The previous school record was 3:22.4 set back in 1984.
Meche’s split on the state championship relay team was an impressive 48.7.
“Zack runs the anchor, which is actually the longest leg,” said Church Point coach Eric Cooley. “He actually probably ran about seven meters longer. It’s a 20-meter exchange zone but the way we do it, he probably got the exchange roughly seven meters before the zone ended.”
Cooley, who has coached Meche in the 400 his entire prep career, said he sees nothing but good things in his sprinter’s future.
“I think Zack is just starting to touch his potential,” said Cooley. “He’s improved greatly in two years and I think he has a lot left to go. He’s still young (17) and he still has a lot of improving to do. But I think he will reach his potential because he is such a hard worker.”
Coach Badeaux also sees room for improvement in Meche.
“Zack actually fits into what we’re trying to do over here,” said Badeaux. “He fills a need with the 400. He’s got to get a little better to place in this conference but I think he will. I think he has a big upside. But he also fills a need with a 4x4 leg.
“From talking with Zack and his family, they really seem like great people and you really like to get a kid who is excited and really wants to be here. Like I said, he has a great upside and I’m really excited about getting the chance to work with him through the years.”
Meche, who was also offered a scholarship by McNeese, is also excited about what his future at ULL holds for him.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity that coach Badeaux has given me,” said Meche. “I really like the facilities and the coaches were just great on my tour. They were real welcoming on my tour and I just fell in love with ULL.”
Meche, who plans on majoring in the field of biology and going to veterinarian after his time at ULL, is the son of Keith and Denise Meche of Church Point.