The Mount Carmel volleyball team (above) celebrates its Division I championship match victory over St. Joseph’s Academy on Nov. 11, 2017, at the Pontchartrain Center. The win was the first of 16 state, class or division titles won by Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans during the 2017-18 school year. Photo by Ron Brocato | CLARION HERALD
By Ron Brocato, Clarion Herald Sports
With a lift of my figurative goblet, I toast the teams and athletes who earned the highest athletic accolades in the state, and those who gave the ultimate effort only to fall short of their goals.
As we put the wraps on the 2017-18 prep sports seasons, the championship count reads 16 state or division titles won and 17 runners-up awards now resting in a display case at one of 15 Catholic high schools.
I’d call that another banner year. Wouldn’t you?
When you consider the number of LHSAA member schools whose coaches and athletes have the same goals in mind, accolades are hard to come by.
But once again, the boys and girls put down their classwork for a few hours to accomplish the following:
LHSAA team championships were won by the Academy of Our Lady, Academy of the Sacred Heart, Brother Martin, Holy Cross, Jesuit, Mount Carmel, Pope John Paul II, St. Katharine Drexel Prep and St. Scholastica.
Several of the same schools were runners-up in various sports as were De La Salle, Dominican, St. Charles Catholic, St. Mary’s Academy and St. Paul’s.
And no one wasted any time as the 2017 fall season began.
VOLLEYBALL – Mount Carmel won its fourth consecutive Division I title by beating St. Joseph’s Academy in four games.
Pope John Paul II duplicated that feat by crushing Notre Dame, 3-0, for a fourth straight Division IV title.
Cabrini was the Division II runner-up as the No. 2 seed behind champion Teurlings Catholic.
CROSS COUNTRY – Academy of the Sacred Heart (ASH) began its sweep of the running classics by winning the 3A team title over Lusher by more than four seconds. ASH runners, led by multiple champion Mary Nusloch, finished 1, 7, 9, 12, 13 and 15 in the large field. ASH would go on to win the Division II indoor trophy and Class 3A outdoor track gold trophies.
Molly McHale of St. Scholastica (18:27.14) was the Class 4A winner, and Nusloch (18:47.83) the 3A champion.
SWIMMING – Jesuit won an unprecedented 38th state championship, a record that leads the LHSAA. Mount Carmel was the runner-up in Division I.
St. Scholastica scored 409.5 points to easily capture the girls’ Division II title.
Holy Cross was the Division II boys’ runner-up.
FOOTBALL – De La Salle made it to the Division II championship game for the first time in its 67-year history. The Cavaliers won the silver trophy after losing to University Lab, 45-19.
WRESTLING – Brother Martin was the Division I champion for the 18th year. Jesuit, which had won 23 titles on the mat since 1951, was runner-up to its Catholic League nemesis.
Without winning a single individual match, De La Salle was runner-up to St. Louis in Division II.
Local schools provided nine individual champions in Division I and two in Division II.
INDOOR TRACK – ASH repeated as the Division II champion. Nusloch won the 800- and 1,600-meter runs, and Claire Moreau won the high jump at 5-3.
Drexel Prep’s 1,600-meter relay team of Cydni Samuel, Ka’Islah Banks, Sanaa Morris and Tamara Guy ran a winning time of 4:15.67.
Brother Martin’s Hunter Appleton ran a 9:40.67 time to win the boys’ 3,200-meter run, and the St. Paul’s 3,200-meter relay team recorded a time of 8:24.31.
BOYS’ SOCCER – Jesuit edged defending and four-time champion St. Paul’s, 2-1, for the Division I crown. The title was Jesuits’ 13th overall but first since 2013.
Holy Cross defeated Beau Chene, 3-1, for the Division II title. The Tigers were runners-up in 2015.
GIRLS’ SOCCER – St. Scholastica gained its third Division II team title since 2014 via a 3-1 win over Mandeville.
BOYS’ BASKETBALL – CYO Tournament champion St. Paul’s capped its finest season by finishing runner-up to Scotlandville.
2017 Division II champion De La Salle fell in the semifinal round to University Lab.
GIRLS’ BASKETBALL – Behind the stellar performance of “Miss Basketball” Kourtney Weber and a veteran starting lineup, Ursuline won its second Division II title in three years via a 70-43 rout of Lee High.
Drexel Prep culminated a Cinderella season with a 43-42 win over one-time archrival St. Mary’s Academy to claim the Division III crown, the first in the school’s history.
POWERLIFTING – Perennial powerhouse Pope John Paul II took home the runner-up trophies in the boys’ and girls’ Division IV tournaments. Between 1993-2014, the Slidell school’s boys’ and girls’ teams claimed eight state titles each.
Jaguar Brady Becker was named the best lifter in light platform after totaling 1,021.90 pounds.
BOWLING – The Academy of Our Lady defeated East Ascension, 19-8, to win its first title trophy in its 11-year history. Erin Burkhart was the individual champion.
Brother Martin defeated Catholic (B.R.) for the boys’ title, its third in four years.
GOLF – Jesuit was runner-up to Byrd High and ASH was runner-up to Lacassine in Division II after a two-day total of 317 strokes.
ASH’s Cassidy Lambert was the Division II medalist, having won in the first playoff hole over Newman’s Liza Lapeyre. Both shot 151s.
SOFTBALL – For the second consecutive year, Dominican finished as the Division I runner-up. Dominican eliminated 2017 champion Mount Carmel, 2-1, in the semifinal round.
St. Charles Catholic earned a berth in the Division II championship game by defeating Archbishop Hannan, 4-1. But the Comets went home with the runner-up trophy after losing to Parkview Baptist.
BASEBALL – The No. 3 seed, St. Paul’s was the Division I runner-up, its highest finish.
TENNIS – Brother Martin and Jesuit were co-runners-up behind champion Catholic High.
St. Paul’s doubles team of Jordan Edney and Kent Shriell earned gold medals.
Mount Carmel was runner-up to St. Joseph’s Academy in the girls’ Division I tournament.
OUTDOOR TRACK – The Academy of the Sacred Heart completed its sweep of track and field championships by winning the Class 3A team outdoor championship.
The Cardinals scored 90 points, 55 of which were tallied by Nusloch, who won at 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters, and by fellow senior Claire Moreau, the high jump and javelin individual champion.
Nusloch was named the Outstanding Female performer in Class 3A.
Drexel claimed its second state championship of the school year, the Class 2A outdoor crown.
The Yellow Jackets won two of three relay races, and junior Alia Armstrong set class time records in winning the 100- and 300-meter hurdles.
While the chapter closes on another exciting year of high school sports, another is about to open.
The names and faces may change, but the parade of champions will continue to march on. As for the 2017-18 seasons, that’s a wrap.
Ron Brocato can be reached at email@example.com.