CROWLEY – Michael Primeaux has been on the big stage before.
The Midland freshman distance runner surprised many last year by qualifying and placing fourth in the 3200 meter run at the LHSAA Class B State Track and Field Championships as an eighth grader.
This year, he’s back at it in his first year in high school.
With the Rebels fielding their first cross country team in over 20 years, Primeaux defied the odds Monday, running a personal best 16:50 over Northwestern Louisiana University’s 3-mile course to claim the Class B individual state championship by 12 seconds.
Choudrant’s Tyler Sadler and Colby DiGiovanni followed at 17:02 and 17:27 respectively.
“I am very happy,” said Primeaux following the race. “I didn’t know if I could do it at first and then, I just pulled it off.”
Primeaux’s game-plan heading into the race was to take the first two miles in stride before giving it his all over the final mile. That plan paid off when he jetted to the lead down the final stretch and never looked back.
“I stayed with the leader and the last mile I picked it up,” said Primeaux. “They had a real steep hill and I got him (Sadler) there. I beat him on the steep hill and I guess he didn’t go down fast and I went down faster. I was hurting really bad, but I wasn’t thinking about anything else but finishing.”
Primeaux’s best finish heading into the state meet was back in early October when he finished fifth in the McNeese Cowboy 5K Stampede with a time of 18:24.78. That race was actually 3.1 miles opposed to the state meet course of three miles.
“I kind of figured Michael would be in the top three, but I wasn’t really expecting him to win the whole thing,” said Midland coach Todd Briley. “He is just in the ninth grade and he really hasn’t run a lot. I think he can get a lot better as we go. He’s just a really talented kid when it comes to running.”
As a team, Midland finished fourth behind state champion Choudrant, ESA and Lacassine.
Midland had seven runners compete in the event. Chase Vincent had the Rebels’ second best time (19:16), finishing 26th out of 119 competitors.
Also running for the Rebels were B.J. Cormier (19:50), Cody Stutes (20:08), Steven Primeaux (21:07), Devon Durnell (21:53) and Taylor Bonnie (22:15).
Briley was pleased with his team’s efforts and thinks his young squad, which consists of two eighth graders, eight freshmen and one junior, could have a bright future.
“We have some kids that are pretty good,” said Briley. “And we didn’t spend a lot of time this year on cross country. We kind of just wanted to have a team so I didn’t push them real hard. I just tried to make it fun for them so I was pleased with fourth place. But if we continue to work and put in the time, I think we have a chance to have a real good team as these kids get older.”