Crowley's Rogers has career day at regional meet

STONEWALL – Crowley High’s Mercedes Rogers isn’t quite where she wants to be just yet, performance-wise that is.

But where she finished Thursday suits her just fine.

Rogers, a senior, outlasted and out leaped all of her competition at the Class 3A Regional Track and Field Champions at North DeSoto High to claim victories in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles as well as in the long and triple jumps.

Her 40-point effort helped lead the Ladies to a sixth-place finish in the overall girls’ team standings and earned her berths in all four events in next week’s Class 3A state meet at LSU.

Westlake won the girls’ title with 60 points while South Beauregard was second with 54. Marksville was third with 53 points and was followed by Bossier (51), Richwood (48) and Crowley (47). Notre Dame finished 14th in the field of 17 teams with 17 points.

“I had a pretty good day today,” said a smiling Rogers following her victory in the 300-meter hurdles. “Last week, at the district meet, I really didn’t jump or run real well. This week, I knew I had to kick it up a notch.”

That she did.

Rogers soared to a season best 36-2 mark in the triple jump and went 16-3 in the long jump. She also had a season-best time of 48.12 in the 300 hurdles. She won the 100 hurdles in a time of 16.61.

“I have improved all season long, but I still haven’t performed to my potential yet. I know I can hit a 17 in the long jump and a 37 in the triple.”

Rogers jumped 17-11 in the long jump to place third at the state meet in 2012. She also had a leap of 37-2 in the triple to win that event.

“Of course you want to win every event you are in at state,” said Rogers. “My goals going in are to jump a 17-18 in the long jump, try and get the 37 (triple), try to get a 15 in the 100 hurdles and a 48 or 47 in the 300 hurdles.”

Rogers will be joined at the state meet next week in Baton Rouge by teammate McKenzie Jabusch, who qualified in the javelin with a third-place heave of 94-10.

Notre Dame will be represented at state by Erin Trahan and Aline Gossen. Trahan placed third in the 1600-meter run (5:56.14) and Gossen was third in the 3200 (12:58.07).

In boys’ competition, for the first time this season, the Crowley Gents failed to win a team title.

The Gents racked up 103 points to place second behind champion North DeSoto, which finished with 132 points.

“We knew coming in that they (North DeSoto) had so many kids that qualified that it would be tough for us,” said CHS coach Jeptha Wall. “We knew that if we didn’t just flat out win everything on the track, their depth would eat us up. And it did.”

Despite not winning the team title, the Gents did qualify nine athletes for the state meet.

Perhaps their most impressive performance was in the 4x200-meter relay.

Despite running in the first heat, the Gents’ team of Kirk Poullard, Tyler Castille, Damon Malbrough and Chanz Moore claimed the title with a time of 1:31.27. North DeSoto, which won the second heat, crossed the line in a time of 1:31.39 to finish second.

“Last week, we kind of botched the exchange so it kind of put us in a bad position and I had a feeling that we would be in the bad heat this week,” said Wall of his 4x200 team. “We talked about it all week long and worked on those exchanges.”

While it is not as rare to have a qualifier out of the first heat, it is very uncommon to have a winner from the so-called slow heat.

“They understood that they were running against time and it is good to have two seniors (Malbrough and Moore) there at the end who can comprehend that and put together a very good time for us.

“What was impressive was that we were 20 meters out in front of everybody in our heat and we didn’t let up. But like I said, Chanz and Damon, our two seniors, got the stick at the end and they understood that in order to get to Baton Rouge, it had to be an all-out effort.”

Moore also teamed with Cavell, Credeur and Poullard in the 4x400 relay. That team closed out the meet with a 3:27.57, their best time of the season, to win the event by nearly three seconds over North DeSoto (3:30.39).

The Gents also logged three other victories on the day.

Poullard won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:04.60 and Moore claimed top honors in the 400-meter dash (50.81). Sophomore Eric LaCombe also came up big in the field events with a first-place showing in the pole vault (12-6).

Cavell was on Moore’s heels in the 400 and placed second (50.99) as did Andre Mills in the long jump (20-2). Credeur was second in the 300 hurdles (40.86).

Rontrevius Foreman also qualified in two events after placing second in both the 1600 (4:48.75) and the 3200 (10:37.89).

Notre Dame, which placed seventh in the team standings with 26 points, qualified two athletes in three events.

Hunter Stelly kept his unbeaten steak alive in the javelin by winning the event with a throw of 188-8. He also took runnersup honors in the shot put with a mark of 48-3. Teammate Andrew Breaux punched his ticket to the state meet with a third-place heave of 46-9 in the shot put.

The top three finishes in each event from the regional meet qualified for the Class 3A State Track and Field Championships which will be held Saturday in Baton Rouge at LSU’s Bernie Moore Stadium.

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