Gents race to fourth place finish at AAA state meet
BATON ROUGE – The bad news for Crowley High’s Tonori Boutte Saturday was that he was unable to win the 100- or 200-meter titles he had hoped to win in the Class AAA State Track and Field Championships at LSU.
The good news was that the 16-year-old junior’s second-place finishes in both events were big improvements over his fourth- and seventh-place finishes in the same races a year earlier. And he still has another year to accomplish his goals.
“I’m disappointed that I didn’t do better,” he said afterward. “But I have next year, all next year.”
Boutte’s performance – he also ran a leg on the Gents’ sixth-place 4x200 relay (1:29.7) - was the highlight for a Crowley High team that brought its biggest contingent to the state meet in years.
Ten CHS athletes – nine of them boys – participated in the meet and the boys' 30-point effort wound up giving the Gents a surprising fourth-place finish.
“I was hoping for a little better,” said CHS Coach Wesley Jacobs. “But we ran our best in just about all the events (electronic timing) and that’s all I could ask. It just wasn’t good enough.”
Even at their best, the Gents would have been hard pressed to keep up with Franklin and Northeast, who shared the Class AAA title with 72 points each.
Jacobs took consolation in the fact that the Gents finished higher than just about anyone other than himself had expected. And with underclassmen – including Boutte- making up the majority of the CHS contingent, he left Baton Rouge encouraged
“I saw some little puppies grow up today,” he said. “Six out of our 10 kids today were underclassmen, so this was a good experience for them. It will help them and get them excited about next year.
"The main thing was getting them here, getting to see, getting them to compete. Now they have something to look forward to. Now they know what it takes. Now you don’t have to pull teeth. Now they know.”
Understandably, Boutte left the track looking forward to next year when he hopes to finally find gold at Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
Saturday, a slow start in the 100 for the second-straight week, and a falter in the stretch in the 200, prevented him from doing that.
He overcame the slow start in the 100 to surge to a second-place finish behind Northeast’s Dennis Richardson in 10.65 seconds. Richardson’s winning time was 10.61.
“I guess I could have gotten a better start,” Boutte said of the 100 meters. “Coach said I turned over too fast coming out the blocks and at the end I didn’t have any more turnover.”
In the 200, the start wasn’t the issue.
Boutte got off well and led coming out of the curve. But he was overtaken by Franklin’s Theophilos Porter and Richardson about 80 meters from the finish and again had to make up lost ground. He was finally able to nip Richardson at the finish, but only after Porter had crossed the finish line a stride in front of the two.
Porter’s winning time: 21.72. Boutte’s time: 21.89.
“I was hoping Tonori would win at least one of the races, but he PRed in both races so you’ve got to be happy with that,” said Jacobs. “We just have to keep working and getting better.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise for the Gents came not on the track, but in the field where junior Devin Hebert finished second in the discus. Franklin’s Gavin Stansbury won the event with a throw of 135-5.
“Going into the meet, the expectations for first or second were so high,” said Hebert, a junior who threw 129-10, 10 feet shorter than his season’s best. “So I went into the meet just trying to compete against myself , hoping to break my own record.
“I had trouble adjusting to the ring, but after that I think things just went my way.”
Hebert’s finish was the only other top 3 finish by the Gents.
Calvin Lewis added a fourth-place finish in the shot put (47-1 1/2); the 4x200 team was sixth (1:29.7) and sophomore Kaleb Cormier added the final point with another sixth place when he leapt 41-10 ¼ in the triple jump.
Marcedes Rodgers, Crowley High’s only entry in the girls’ competition, finished sixth in the 300-meter hurdles in 49.93 seconds.
Rayne’s Annie Simoneaux, who had been struggling with shoulder and elbow entries prior to the meet, provided Acadia Parish’s biggest highlight in the girls’ competition, winning the javelin (150-5). She also placed third in the discus (110-4).
The LSU-bound Simoneaux, got off her 150-foot throw - ninth-best among high school girls in the U.S. this season - on her final throw. That and her finish in the discus accounted for all of Rayne's 16 points and was enough to give the Lady Wolves a 10th place finish in the team standings.
Finishing second in the javelin was Notre Dame’s Mayme Cook (139-6). She accounted for all eight of the Lady Pios points (22nd in team points).