Notre Dame qualifies 16 for regional meet

Notre Dame’s Grace Morgan competes in the high jump Wednesday at the District 6-3A Track and Field Championships hosted by Erath High School. Morgan won the event with a leap of 5-2 to advance to next week’s regional meet at Abbeville High. (Photo by Jason Faul)

ERATH – For Notre Dame coach Jimmy McCleary, some of what he saw on Wednesday was expected.
But there were some things he saw that were totally unexpected.
All-in-all, it was a productive day for the Notre Dame Pios and Lady Pios’ track teams at the District 6-3 championships hosted by Erath High School.
The Pios qualified 11 athletes in eight events for the regional meet while the Lady Pios had five athletes qualify in six events.
“It was a great day for us,” said McCleary following the meet. “We’ve had some injuries here within the last couple weeks and we kind of had to piece some things together to qualify so to see as many athletes as we did (qualifying) was a pretty great accomplishment.”
The Pios racked up 62 points in boys’ competition to place fourth in the team standings behind champion Erath (160), Kaplan (134) and North Vermilion (62).
Hunter Stelly paced the Pios with 20 points after winning the javelin (200-6) and the shot put (48-9).
“It’s good to see Hunter peaking at the right time,” said McCleary. “He’s right where he needs to be at this time. He has kind of slowly gotten himself back to 200 (in the javelin), which I thought was good because he’s throwing a new javelin that’s a little stiffer and you kind of have to throw it perfect for that thing to go.
“The thing that has shocked me is the shot put. He has thrown over 50 a couple of times this year and he’s really improved on that part.”
Stelly didn’t hit 50 Wednesday, but he also only threw once in the finals.
“He hurt his elbow a little bit in his last throw of the javelin so I just told him to get a good throw in (in the shot put), qualify, and shut it down,” said McCleary.
The Pios also qualified their 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 relay teams for regionals.
Adam Berken, Boedy Borill, Hunter Miller and Jacob Leleux teamed to run a third-place time of 46.21 in the 4 x 100 while Hayden Amy, Borill, Miller and Leleux placed fourth in the 4 x 200 with a time of 1:38.11.
“We had to piece a few things together with the relays and I was pleasantly surprised, especially with the 4 x 100,” said McCleary. “We put two new people on there (4 x 100) this week and to be honest, I couldn’t believe we qualified. They ran really well.”
Another surprise for McCleary was Brent Didier’s performance in the 800-meter run. Didier, a senior, ran a 2:18.13 to place third and advance to the regional round.
“Nobody works harder than Brent,” said McCleary. “He’s a great kid and he ran a personal best today. We were all excited for him to see him finish the way he did on that last turn.”
Abbeville claimed the team title in the girls’ competition with 141 points. They were followed by Erath (109) and West St. Mary (84). The Lady Pios were sixth with 60 points.
Erin Trahan and Aline Gossen combined to score 36 points for the Lady Pios in the distance events.
Trahan won the 1600-meter run (5:42.67) and she was second in the 800 (2:31.83) while Gossen finished first in the 3200 (12:28.31) and second in the 1600 (5:55.83).
“Erin is a swimmer first and I think that has really helped her become a better distance runner because she doesn’t do all the mileage, running wise,” said McCleary of Trahan, who has only run the 1600 twice this season. “She’s a world-class swimmer and I think those two things married together have really helped her in the mile and the half mile.”
Gossen’s performance was exceptional as well, considering just three weeks ago she ran over a 13-minute two-mile.
“Aline has knocked nearly a whole minute off her time and she’s just a workhorse,” said McCleary of Gossen. “She just works so hard and she over achieves so much. She just brings it every day.”
Grace Morgan also won a district title in the high jump with a season-best leap of 5-2. The junior volleyball standout, who has been hampered with injuries this year, had a season best of 5-4 a year ago.
“Grace was injured for a while this year so what we did was kind of back her off in practice a lot and it has helped her,” said McCleary. “We’ve had her in the weight room and she’s been doing a little jump training on the side. Just taking the pounding away has helped her a lot.
“She’s a tremendous volleyball player and she’s been playing club volleyball on the side, so it’s helped us out a lot just having her do some technique work and see where it goes from there.”
The Lady Pios also got a pair of fourth-place finishes from Sam Lyons and Alex Miller.
Lyons earned a spot at the regional meet with a leap of 33-6 1/4 in the triple jump while Miller advanced in the discus with a toss of 91-0 1/2.
The top four finishers in the district meet advanced to the regional meet next Wednesday at Abbeville High School. The top three finishers at the regional will advance to the Class 3A State Track and Field Championships on Saturday, May 10 at Bernie Moore Stadium on the campus of LSU.

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