Iota qualifies four for Class 2A state meet

ALEXANDRIA – Madison Meche had her spirits crushed a year ago when she was beaten out for a state qualifying finish on her second to last throw in the javelin at the Lady Bulldogs’ regional meet at Donaldsonville.

On Tuesday, Meche wasn’t about to let history repeat itself.

The Iota sophomore popped a throw of 127-09 early in the first round and held off Winnfield’s Chelsi McDowell (126-07) to win the javelin and earn a berth in next week’s Class 2A State Track and Field Championships at LSU’s Bernie Moore Stadium.

She provided one of the few highlights for Iota, which qualified four athlete’s for next week’s state meet.

“She (Meche) is a little bit better technically this year, but the big difference is mental,” said IHS coach Bill Smith, who coaches the throwers. “Last year, she was in position to qualify for state. They got on top of her and it was just hard for her to handle.

“This year, she came out loose; came out comfortable and came out with the understanding that if I throw my best today, it was going to be good enough. It was like that last year, but she didn’t have the confidence in herself. She has confidence in herself now.”

Meche’s winning mark in the regional is a personal best, topping her previous mark of 121-1 last week in the District 5-2A meet.

“Last week, a little girl from Pine Prairie went on top of her after two or three throws,” said Smith. “Last year, that would have been very much cause for concern because mentally, it was just hard for her to see somebody go in front of her.

“But on her next throw, she was right back in first place. That was a big confidence boost for her and today she was loose and comfortable and she won it with one of her first throws.”

Meche also teamed with Kate Lege, Hannah Gonzales and Emily Navarre to place sixth in the 4x100 relay.

Chelsea Welch also turned in a solid performance for Iota. The senior claimed top honors in the shot put with a heave of 99-06.

“Chelsea didn’t have one of her best throws today, but she normally manages to compete whether she’s throwing her best or not,” said Smith. “She threw two out of bounds and she fouled on two throws. So she was having a tough time in the ring today but she got her first throw out there. It was a good throw and managed to be good enough to win.”

Dominiqua Thomas also advanced to next week’s state meet by placing third in the triple jump with a mark 33-4. The senior all-round athlete also placed fifth in the 400-meter dash (1:02.70) and ran a leg on two of Iota’s three relay teams. She teamed with Claire Regan, Navarre and Kate Lege to place fourth in the 4x200 (1:50.40) and joined Alexis St. Andre, Jillian Boone and Regan for a fifth-place showing in the 4x400 (4:23.35).

“We knew the triple jump was something that she could easily qualify in,” said IHS coach Hildred Sam of Thomas. “She did a good job and she wasn’t even hitting her mark. She just kind of passed by on ability today. She can easily place at state if she can hit her mark.”

Iota’s Claire Regan earned an alternate spot with a fourth-place finish in the 800 (2:40.65).

Also scoring points for the Lady Dogs were Boone in the 1600 (5th, 6:17.41), Kate Lege in the long jump (6th, 15-4 1/2) and Anna Lege in the triple jump (6th, 33-2 1/4).

“Everybody did well today,” said Sam. “We had a number of personal bests today. Everyone came out and competed and that’s all I can ask for.”

On the boys’ side, Brandon Fantroy was the lone qualifier for the Bulldogs.

Fantroy, who competed in three events, earned his spot with a second-place finish in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.28. He turned right around and in the next event and placed seventh in the 100 (11.47) before earning an alternate spot in the 300 hurdles (42.51) later in the meet.

“This was one of Brandon’s better times this year in the 110 hurdles,” said Iota coach Bret Fuselier of Fantroy, who has been hampered by a foot injury. “He has been doing good in both hurdle events all year long from week to week. But this was definitely one of his better times. He ran a good time and he went out there and competed.

“He’s been nursing a turf toe and an ankle injury and in the 300-hurdles, it looked like it might have caught up to him. We were trying to get him qualified in both (hurdle) events but qualifying in the 110s is a big deal for him. He made it last year and took fifth.

The Bulldogs also had a number of athletes earn alternate spots for the state meet. Dakota St. Andre was fourth in the 400 (51.68) as was Jarrette Fontenot in the shot put (44-4 1/2) and Connor Meyer in the pole vault (10-0).

“Our performances were good today,” said Fuselier. “One thing, these guys, every week, they’ve gotten a little bit better and that’s what you’re really looking for in track. Better times from week to week and that’s what these guys did.”

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