By Ron Brocato, Clarion Herald Sports
To echo the words of Maurice Chevalier’s hit from the internationally acclaimed screenplay, “Gigi”: “Thank heaven for little girls.”
That was the theme of the May 4-6 LHSAA Allstate Sugar Bowl Track and Field Championship meet at LSU.
St. Katharine Drexel Prep and the Academy of the Sacred Heart won team championships. Drexel claimed its first Class 2A title with speed, while Sacred Heart won the Class 3A hardware behind the talents of two exceptional athletes.
Mary Nusloch gave the Cardinals 30 points by wining her three specialties – the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs – and Claire Moreau set a personal record in winning the javelin throw, which she followed with a second straight state title in the high jump. Moreau then added third-place points in the discus throw later in the day.
The two seniors accounted for 55 of the Cardinals’ 90 points in their runaway team victory.
Moreau’s greatest accomplishment of the day was a personal best throw of 126 feet, 11 inches on her second of three javelin tosses in the final round. That enabled her to overtake the favorite, Caroline Standley of Archbishop Hannan, whose best throw was 125-6. Sacred Heart freshman Kamerynn Glasgow placed third to give Archdiocese of New Orleans schools a sweep of the three medals in that event.
Formerly known as Xavier Prep, the Class 2A school for girls renamed St. Katharine Drexel Prep seems to have culminated five years of athletic growth during the 2017-18 school year by first winning the Division II girls’ basketball championship and then ending the spring season with a Class 2A state outdoor track-and-field title.
Overcoming injuries during the indoor season, Alia Armstrong capped off a junior year by setting two class records in the hurdles.
Armstrong set a Class 2A record time of 14.11 seconds in winning the 100-meter hurdles, and then, after a misstep early in the 300-meter hurdles race, she finished strong to add a second gold medal in that event.
Teammate Kayli Johnson added points by placing second in the 100-meter hurdles and triple jump and third in the long jump.
Five single event champions
Three girls and two boys left the LSU facility with gold medals.
De La Salle’s Leah Kennedy demonstrated why she was the top qualifier in the Class 3A girls’ shotput by winning the event with a toss of 37-feet, 5 1/2 inches. The mark was short of her 38-8 1/4 qualifying distance, but was a foot past the second- place mark of 36-2 by Sacred Heart’s Mykhala Coleman.
Cabrini’s Bailey Braud had thrown the shot in Kennedy’s shadow in earlier events, but she had her breakthrough moment in the Class 4A meet.
Braud won her specialty by tossing the iron ball 36 feet, 7 1/2 inches. She was the No. 2 qualifier behind Cecilia‘s Schrell Chevalier, whom she bested in the finals by an inch and a half.
If the time lapse between winning the state cross country meet seemed like forever, it didn’t show in the Class 4A 1,600-meter performance of St. Scholastica’s Molly McHale.
She took command of the four-lap race early and coasted to a winning time of 5:16.22. McHale won by more than six seconds and bettered her qualifying time of 5:26.06 by nearly 10 seconds.
It was less than a stellar season for local Catholic school male athletes. But two emerged as individual track champions.
After Hunter Appleton of Brother Martin failed in his attempt to win the 1,600-meter run, in which he was the top qualifier, he made amends by running to victory in the boys’ Class 5A 3,200-meter run.
Appleton’s qualifying time of 9:51.17 placed him fourth in the starting lineup.
That placement didn’t prove to be an issue once the gun sounded.
Seeded behind three other qualifiers, including Fontainebleau’s Adam Wise, the upset winner of the 1,600 but favorite in this race, Appleton avenged the earlier loss in a big way when he circled the oval eight times in 9:22.58. He ran more than 14 seconds faster than runner-up Will Dart of Airline. Wise finished third.
Archbishop Hannan’s Victor Harvey, the only 800 meters runner to qualify under two minutes (1:58.80) in the regional meet, was nearly true to form in the finals when he completed the two-lap event in 2:00.64.
While the girls stole the show at Bernie Moore Stadium, there was little fanfare among the local Catholic school boys’ teams.
Brother Martin (10th place)was the highest scorer among Class 5A with 18 points.
How the others fared
- JaMarr Chase, Abp. Rummel, 4th, long jump.
- Kym Wimberly, Holy Cross, 5th, long jump. No other points came from field events.
- Donovan Rolland, St. Augustine, 3rd, 100 and 200, ran on the fifth place 400-meter relay team.
- Jermie Walker, Abp. Rummel, 4th, 100- and 400-meter dashes.
- Cade Martin, Holy Cross, 4th, 3,200-meter run.
- St. Augustine, 5th, 400-meter relay.
- Jonathan Bertucci, St. Paul’s, 6th, 3,200-meter run.
- Abbey Slattery, Dominican, 5th, javelin.
- Jailen Doyle, Cabrini, 4th, discus.
- Molly McHale, St. Scholastica, 3rd, 800-meter run.
- DeAndre Keller, St. Charles Catholic, 2nd, shotput.
- Caroline Standley, Abp. Hannan, 3rd, triple jump.
- Mykhala Coleman, Acad. Sacred Heart, 4th, discus.
- Contributing to St. Katharine Drexel’s near sweep of the three relay events were sprinters Ka’islah Banks, Tamara Guy, Cydni Samuel, Alexia Barnes, and Sanaa Morris.
- Banks placed third in the 400-meter dash; Samuel, 5th in that event.
- Madison Wiliford, Pope John Paul II, 3rd in shotput.
- Mallory Norton, Pope John Paul II, 5th, javelin.
Ron Brocato can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos by Ron Brocato | CLARION HERALD
St. Katharine Drexel Prep’s victorious 800-meter relay team of, from left, Ka’Isiah Banks, Tamara Guy, Alia Armstrong and Cydni Samuel crossed the finish line in 1:43.93. Drexel also won the 1,600-meter relay event (above).
Mary Nusloch, Academy of the Sacred Heart
Won 800, 1,600, 3,200
Alia Armstrong, St. Katharine Drexel Prep
Won 100, 300 hurdles
Claire Moreau, Academy of the Sacred Heart
Won high jump, javelin
Bailey Braud, Cabrini
Won 4A shotput
Victor Harvey, Hannan
Won Class 4A 800
Molly McHale, St. Scholastica Academy
Won Class 4A 1,600
Hunter Appleton, Brother Martin
Won Class 5A 3,200
Leah Kennedy, De La Salle
Won Class 3A shotput