Notre Dame's Cook wins javelin; Gents place seventh at state meet
BATON ROUGE – Notre Dame’s Mayme Cook was understandably nervous heading into the Class AAA state track and field championships Saturday morning at LSU’s Bernie Moore Stadium.
But it took just one throw in the javelin for that nervousness to go away.
Cook, who placed second in the event last year and fifth as a sophomore, unloaded a personal best of 147 feet on her first throw which gave her a huge cushion over the rest of the field.
The senior then bettered her mark on her third throw, tossing a 155-3 which was more than enough to win the event and give her the fifth-best throw in the nation in 2011.
“Going in, I was just as nervous as I was the first time when I was a sophomore,” said Cook. “This year, I really wanted to win and I knew I had a chance. And after my first throw, I knew it was only going to get better.”
Just how much better surprised even Cook, however.
“I couldn’t believe it when I heard how far it was,” said Cook of her third throw. “I had no idea I could even throw it that far and when it happened, it was just an amazing feeling.”
Abbeville’s Rechelle Bessard was a distant second in the event with a heave of 132-7, which the senior posted on her final throw.
“I knew that there was a possibility that she (Bessard) could throw just as far as I did so I was still very nervous going into her very last throw,” said Cook. “It didn’t really set in that I had won until we were up on the podium taking pictures.”
Cook signed with UL-Lafayette in volleyball in the fall, but she hopes to have a chance to compete in the javelin for the Cajuns.
Cook will have to be released by her college volleyball coach in order to also run track.
“Mayme has worked so hard at it (javelin) and we’re hoping that it is something that she gets to continue to do in college,” said ND coach James McCleary. “Anytime you’re in the top 5 in the country, I think you should at least have the opportunity to do it in college if you decide to do so.”
Cook’s performance along with Kylie Pannell’s fourth-place finish in the high jump (5-2) left the Lady Pios at No. 13 in the final girls’ team standings.
“I was really excited about Kylie having a chance to finally get to state because she has been so close the last two years,” said McCleary. “For her to get there and compete in a very tough division...she competed with all of them and she was right there with them. To be fourth in the state is just awesome.”
West Feliciana won the girls’ team title with 75 points while last year’s state champion Abbeville, was second with 42. Xavier Prep rounded out the top three with 40 points.
Crowley High, which was expected to contend for the Class AAA title in the boys’ division, had a difficult outing on the track and finished seventh overall out of the 36-team field.
Holy Cross won the team title with 43 points while Erath and Franklin tied for second with 42 each. Jewel Sumner finished fourth with 38 points followed by West Feliciana (37), Cohen (31) and Crowley (30). Notre Dame finished at No. 15 with 13 points and Church Point was No. 25 with six points.
What hurt the Gents’ chances was their performances in the relays – events they were expected to be in the top three in each.
Crowley finished fifth in the 4x400, seventh in the 4x100 and fifth in the 4x400.
“We were expecting to get 18 points out of the relays and we got two,” said CHS coach Wes Jacob.
An injury played a major role in the Gents’ misfortunes in the relays. Senior Kristian Allen pulled a hamstring on the second leg of the 4x200 and limped through nearly his entire leg of the race. He was taken off the other two relays following the injury.
“The injury to Kristian just killed us,” said Jacob. “If we finish our relays the way we were expected to finish, we win the state championship.
“With an injury, that’s one thing. Anytime you have an injury that affects three relays, it’s tough.
“Am I disappointed? No. Proud? You bet!”
As expected, CHS sprinter Tonori Boutte made a run at the state title in the 100- and 200-meter dashes but fell just short in each event, placing second.
Loranger sophomore Jeryl Brazil slipped past Boutte in the 100 with a time of 10.49. Boutte ran a 10.50.
Brazil appeared to unintentionally bump Boutte with 20 meters to go in the 100, causing the CHS speedster to lose his balance and throw him off track.
“In my book, he (Tonori) won the 100,” said Jacob. “It was a photo finish and he gets pushed the last 20 meters of the race. He stumbled and that’s how he wound up losing. I appealed it, but you can’t use the cameras except at the finish line.
“But taking second with a 10.50, I can accept that.”
Brazil then took first in the 200 in a time of 21.36 while Boutte was second (21.79).
It was the second straight year that Boutte had to settle for runnerup honors in each event.
“I knew in the 200, it was going to be tough because the kid he was running against (Brazil) was only running two races and he (Boutte) was running four,” said Jacob. “I knew he would be tired so I kind of expected him to finish second.”
Jacob got some unexpected finishes from senior Nick Cavell and junior Kaleb Cormier in the field events.
Both were expected to finish sixth in their respective events.
Cavell uncorked a career best throw of 176-3 on his final throw of the javelin to place second while Cormier had a personal best jump of 44-9 1/2 in the triple jump to place fourth.
“Both Nick and Kaleb had their career best marks today,” said Jacob.
Rontravious Foreman had an eighth-place finish in both the 1600 (5:01.29) and the 3200 (11:45.30).
Notre Dame got eight points from senior Jeremy Smith, who was second in the high jump (6-4) and and six from freshman Hunter Stelly, who third in the javelin (175-0).
“Jeremy is an untapped resource,” said McCleary. “It was his first year in track and he was just a sponge as far as learning the techniques of the jump. I think there’s a tremendous upside for him if he decides to continue to compete in college.
“And Hunter was an even bigger surprise. With him being a freshman and having the opportunity to compete in the state meet, that in itself is a great honor. He’s just a competitor and he did a great job of competing.”
On the girls’ side, Mercedes Rogers earned a spot on the podium with a third-place showing in the triple jump (35-5). She also placed fifth in the long jump (16-11 3/4) and seventh in the 300 hurdles (51.43).
“Mercedes had a good day,” said Jacob of his sophomore standout. “She didn’t do as well as she would have liked in the long jump but that was her first event and she was kind of nervous being out there by herself. But placing fifth was a pretty good start.
“She had a personal best in the triple jump and that says a lot. She’s only been triple jumping for about six weeks now.”