St. Augustine’s track and field team appears to be well on the road to recovery, as indicated by the Purple Knights’ second-place finish at the March 23-24 Allstate Sugar Bowl Track and Field meet.
Led by double winner Donovan Rolland, who placed first in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and ran a leg of the second-place 400-meter relay team, St. Augustine scored 45 points to finish second in team scoring to Edna Karr (55 points).
Once a state power on the oval, St. Aug has been slowly rebuilding its program since its post-Katrina demise in 2005.
And the Knights’ resurgence is the product of pure speed on the swift heels of Rolland, Terroll Jolla and Timothy Cola, whose efforts in the sprints and relays accounted for every team point.
Rolland’s performance in winning two events and anchoring one of the second- place relay teams earned him the meet’s Outstanding Male Athlete award.
Jolla anchored the second-place 800-meter relay team and added points with fourth-place finishes in the 100 and 200. And Cola gave the Knights valuable points in the 300-meter hurdles.
Competing against outstanding athletes in the area and southern U.S., local Catholic school competitors won nine events.
Just two came in field events, where Archbishop Rummel’s Ja’Marr Chase had the best long jump of 23 feet, 1 3/4 inches. And Claire Moreau of the Academy of the Sacred Heart had the top height in the girls’ high jump of 5 feet, 4 inches.
Chase is the reigning Class 5A champion in that event with a leap of 24 feet, 2 1/2 inches.
Moreau scored 18 points for the Cardinals, whose 34 points were good enough for fifth place in the team standings. The senior placed fourth in the javelin and discus throws in addition to her winning effort in the high jump. She scored 16 points in the 2017 state meet.
Last season Jermie Walker of Archbishop Rummel ran in the shadows of his 400-meter counterpart, Jesuit’s Jandon Briscoe. But he made his presence known by speeding past his competition in the 400-meter dash at the Sugar Bowl meet.
Walker’s winning time of 47.95 is closing in on Briscoe’s best clocking of 47.75.
Holy Cross and Brother Martin ran 1-2 in the meet-opening 3,200-meter relay.
The Tigers won by five seconds over the Crusaders, having been clocked in 8:18.46 to Rummel’s 8:23.63.
Drexel performed well
Finishing just one-half of a point behind Sacred Heart in sixth place was St. Katharine Drexel Prep.
The Yellow Jackets won the girls’ 1,600-meter relay in 4:01.01 and had athletes score points in six other events.
Among their top performers were Alia Armstrong, who finished second in the 400-meter dash and ran a leg on the winning relay team, and Kayli Johnson, another relay runner who also scored in the 100-meter hurdles and long jump.
Mary Nusloch, the Class 3A state distance champion a year ago, was one of two second-place finishers among the Catholic schools.
Nusloch placed second in her only event of the two-day meet, the 3,200-meter run. Grace Johnson of girls’ team champion McGill-Toolen (Alabama) won the eight-lap event in 11:18.29. Nusloch crossed the finish line in 11:21.45.
Nusloch’s time was still faster than the winning numbers she turned in at last year’s state championship meet of 11:34.54, when she was uncontested.
Nusloch also won gold medals in the 800- and 1,600-meter runs last year. She did not compete in the 1,600 on March 24.
The other runner-up was Bailey Braud of Cabrini in the girls’ shotput, with a best toss of 38-6 1/2.
As a team, Cabrini placed 18th. On the boys’ side, Rummel finished eighth with 20 points (scored by Chase and Walker) and Holy Cross was 15th with 14 points.
Ron Brocato can be reached at email@example.com.