After suffering unexpected setbacks earlier in the meet, the Gents led in the boys’ standing by four points over league rival Rayne. But with no competitors entered in the 3200-meter run, the Gents’ lead was in jeopardy.
The Wolves, with two runners in the 3200, needed only a first- and third-place finish in the event to secure the title and it appeared the Wolves were going to finish in that exact order as the race unfolded.
But Notre Dame’s Kurt Venable spoiled the Wolves’ plans, rallying over the final two laps to finish third, just in front of Rayne’s Austin Meche.
The Wolves 1-4 finish translated into 10 points and a six-point lead over the Gents heading into the final event, the 4 x 400 relay.
The opening was all the Gents needed. They proceeded to retain their title in the 4 x 400 relay while Rayne finished fifth, giving Crowley High its first league track and field championship since the 1980s.
The final team score: Crowley High 87, Rayne 85.
Notre Dame followed the two with 80 points while Church Point was fourth with 72 and Northwest was fifth with 50.
“Kurt (Venable) is our new, best friend from Notre Dame,” said Crowley coach Eric Rekieta after the meet. “We knew we were in trouble in the mile and two-mile because that’s our weak point. We were hoping for the help...we got it and we’re very thankful for that.”
Even with Venable’s third-place finish, Crowley still had a little work to do. In order to win the meet, the Gents had to place first in the 4x400 meter relay and Rayne had to finish last.
Luckily for the Gents, that was the way the scenario played out. Britian Nolan, Tory Carey, Kyron Benoit and Keith Pierson raced to a winning time of 3:32.68.
“Our 4x4 has been one of our biggest strengths this year,” said Rekieta. “Tonight, everybody stepped it up. It wasn’t our best time yet, but it was good enough to get it done.”
Although Crowley led for the entire race, Northwest’s Kendrick Edwards gave Pierson a run for his money on the final leg. Edwards road Pierson’s heals in the final curve before the junior Gent speedster kicked it in during the straight away to win by two seconds.
“I could hear his (Edwards) spikes hitting the ground in the curve and I knew I had to kick it in,” said Pierson of the final leg. “He was right there, but there was no way I was going to let my teammates down. We weren’t going to lose.”
The Gents also survived a scare in the 330-meter hurdles when Steven Boulet, the race favorite, hit the fourth hurdle and went head over heals onto the track. Despite suffering a bruised heal and some scratches, the junior hurdler jumped back to his feet and wound up finishing an improbable third behind Church Point’s Joseph Carrier and Northwest’s Michael Barnes.
Had Boulet not fallen and won the race, the Gents would have had a comfortable 10-point advantage heading into the final two events.
“Some people were saying that Boulet falling might cost us, but if he doesn’t get up and place third, that would have cost us,” said Rekieta. “Him getting up and finishing helped us to pull it out.”
Crowley’s 4x100-meter relay team of Troy Wilridge, Brandon Harmon, Benoit and Pierson also was a winner with a time of 44.59.
In the field events, Carey won the high jump with a leap of 6-2 and Dexter Scott was second, also at 6-2. Malcolm Richard won the discus with a career best throw of 161-2 and also placed second in the shot put (47-8.5) behind Notre Dame’s Michael Casanova (48-1.5).
Rayne’s Broc Menard was named the overall boy’s Outstanding Performer after winning the 100- and 400-meter dashes, running the anchor leg of the winning 4x200-meter relay and placing second in the 200-meter dash.
The shocker was winning the 400, an event he had run just once before the district meet.
“I wasn’t supposed to run the 400, but we thought we could score some points so I worked real hard the last two weeks and I pulled away with it,” said Menard. “This was my best meet this year. I had some real stiff competition in each event and that helped push me.”
Other winners from Rayne included John Reynolds in the 3200 and Rickey Judice in the 110 hurdles.
Notre Dame’s Ted Gall earned the Outstanding Track Performer award after winning the 800- and the 1600-meter runs while Church Point’s Johnathon Walker won the Outstanding Field Performer award by winning both the triple and long jumps.
Notre Dame’s Seth Fruge won the 200-meter dash.
Church Point’s performance was highlighted by Caleb Stanford’s school-record pole vault of 14-0.
On the girls’ side, Northwest slipped past Church Point for the overall title, 88-87.
Rayne followed in third with 85 points, Notre Dame was fourth with 73 and Crowley was fifth with 34.
Rayne’s Krystal Chevis was named the Outstanding Track Performer after winning the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes while fellow teammate Annie Simoneaux was tabbed the Outstanding Field Performer for winning the discus and the javelin and placing second in the shot put.
Northwest’s Victoria Guillory earned the overall Outstanding Performer award following victories in the triple and high jumps and the 100 and 300-meter hurdles.
Church Point’s Erizona Caffey won the shot put with a throw of 35-0 and also scored in the pole vault when Maci Richard and Mariah Louiverre went one and two respectively. Richard’s jump of 8-7 broke Church Point’s school record.
Church Point’s team of Shirley Alexander, Deniseo Citizen, Richard and Kellie Lewis won the 4x100-meter relay in a time of 52.17.
Notre Dame’s Hayley Gossen was a two-event winner, taking first place in the 1600 and 3200-meter runs and Amber Domingue won the ling jump.
Rayne’s only other first place finisher was Deja King in the 800-meter run.
Crowley’s lone first place finish came in the 4x200 meter relay by the team of Lavetta Chassion, Amber Stewart, Phayla Joseph and Keianna Wilridge.