Gents cruise to 4-3A Track and Field Championships title

IOWA –The conditions weren’t exactly what one would call ideal Wednesday at the District 4-3A Track and Field Championships hosted by Iowa High School.

A constant, gusty wind plagued everyone on the backstretch and led to very few personal best times on the evening.

But blustery conditions weren’t enough to take the winds out of the sails of the Crowley Gents.

The Gents scored 110 points on the track and stormed to the team title with 165 points, their seventh team victory in as many meets.

Jennings placed a distant second with 100 points, Notre Dame and Westlake finished with 75, Iowa had 74 and South Beauregard rounded out the field with 31.

“It wasn’t a very good night to run, not with the wind,  but fair is fair for everyone,” said CHS coach Jeptha Wall, whose team qualified 14 athletes in 15 events for next week’s regional meet at North DeSoto. “Our times weren’t as good (as expected) and we’re kind of concerned about what kind of heats we’re going to get stuck in next week.

“But what more can you ask for? It’s track. Some of them are going to have good nights and some will have bad nights. But as a team, that is a big “wow,” scoring that many points and qualifying in that many events.”

The Gents got things going in the field events with a 1-2 showing in the pole vault. Eric LaCombe won the event with a vault of 11-6 and Michael Stewart was second at 11-0.

Damon Guidry added a second-place finish in the high jump (6-2) and Andre Mills was fourth (5-8). Mills also placed third in the long jump (20-2), Jacquo Price was third in the triple jump (41-0) and Thomas Cavell was third in the javelin (154-9).

“We came out of the field pretty good,” said Wall. “Damon Guidry came back and jumped real well for us again and Jacquo qualifying in the triple jump; little things like that. We kind of nickled and dimed them and somehow we scratched out almost 50 points coming out of the field. I felt like once we got to that point, we were okay. I figured our depth on the track would get us through.”

Wall was spot on.

The Gents claimed six of their seven victories on the oval and capped the evening with a season-best winning time of 3:28.12 in the 4x400 relay.

“That was our fastest time of the year,” said Wall of his 4x400 relay team of Kirk Poullard, Tyler Credeur, Cavell and Chanz Moore. “They have been working hard and they are getting better. Cavell ran a 50 flat for the first time so that was a big plus for us.”

Jennings gave the Gents a run for the first two laps, but Cavell was able to put some distance between the two schools in the third lap before handing off to Moore. The senior speedster took it from there and crossed the line nearly six seconds ahead of the Bulldogs’ anchor leg.

“Tonight was the first time that we have been really pushed in the 4x400,” said Wall. “Thomas really opened it up on the third leg and, to be honest with you, I didn’t watch the last leg. When Cavell took the stick and gave us that big lead, I started filling out entry sheets. Whenever they give Chanz the stick with the lead, he’s strong enough to hold on.”

Although his relay team posted its fastest time in seven meets, Wall said the squad has not run the time that they are capable of yet.

“I’m interested to see what we can run at the next level,” said Wall. “We should run a little bit better, but we’ve never really put it together where every person has run their best yet. And part of that is because we haven’t really seen as good of competition.”

The top individual performance for the Gents was turned in by distance runner Rontrevius Foreman, who scored 26 points en route to earning the Outstanding Track Performer award.

He won the 1600 (4:58.17) and placed second in the 300 hurdles (43.59) and second in the 3200 (11:24.53).

Credeur added victories in the 300 hurdles (41.88) and the 110 hurdles (15.54), Poullard won the 800 (2:11.34) and Moore took top honors in the 400 (53.09).

Crowley’s 4x100 relay team of Ty’Von Griffin, Price, Tyler Castille and Damon Malbrough was second in a time of 44.96. The Gents 4x200 relay team of Poullard, Castille, Malbrough and Moore was also second (1:32.49).

Cavell added a second-place finish in the 400 (53.76), Leighton Killmer placed third in the 1600 (5:02.43), Castille was fourth in the 100 (11.50) and Malbrough placed fourth in the 200 (23.92).

Notre Dame logged three victories on the night.

Austin Thibodeaux won the triple jump (42-1), Hunter Stelly won the javelin (190) and Andrew Breaux was first in the shot put (49-2 1/2).

Thibodeaux was also second in the long jump (20-4) and Stelly took runnerup honors in the shot put (48-11 1/2).

Nate Link added a third-place finish in the discus (123-11), Tre Milstead was third in the high jump (5-10), Marcus Garrett was fourth in the 400 (54.49) and Josh Kilgore was fourth in the 3200 (11:44.51).

Notre Dame’s 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams also qualified for regionals after placing fourth in each event.

On the girls’ side, Mercedes Rogers won all four of her events and scored 40 points to lead the CHS Ladies to a third-place showing with 90 points.

Iowa racked up 115 points to claim the team title while South Beauregard was second with 109. Westlake finished fourth (83) followed by Notre Dame (66) and Jennings (56).

Rogers finished tied with Westlake’s Sayli Maynard for the Outstanding Field Performer award after winning both the long jump (16-4 3/4) and the triple jump (33-11 1/4)

“Mercedes still hasn’t PR’ed in either of those events yet this year, but for some reason she always seems to make the jump she needs when someone gets close to her,” said Wall.

Rogers turned around and claimed the title in both the 100-meter hurdles (16.34) and 300 hurdles (49.18).

“She ran her best time in the 100 hurdles and she hit seven of them,” said Wall.

Crowley also got third-place finishes out of Allana LeJeune in the shot put (29-9 1/2), Heather Trahan in the pole vault (6-6), Olivia Boullion in the 400 (1:05.10) and Teara Breaux in the 100 hurdles (18.01).

The Ladies 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams also qualified with third-place finishes.

Qualifying with fourth-place finishes were McKenzie Jabusch in the javelin (83-3), Baille Villejoin in the high jump (4-6) and Skylor Huval in the pole vault (6-0).

Notre Dame’s Laura Stevens logged the Lady Pios’ only first-place finish with a season best toss of 98-11 in the javelin.

Sam Lyons advanced with a second-place finish in the triple jump (32-6 1/2) as did Grace Morgan in the high jump (5-0) and Erin Trahan in the 1600 (6:01.79).

Katelyn Hoffpauir was third in the triple jump (32-6 1/4), Aline Gossen placed third in the 3200 (14:07.22) and fourth in the 1600 (6:03.91) and Elizabeth Dartez was fourth in the discus (81-9).

All athletes who placed in the top four at the district meet will advance to the regional meet next Wednesday at North DeSoto High School in Stonewall. Field events for that meet begin at 10:30 a.m. with the running events slated for 3 p.m.

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