Coaches Poll Results 9/11

Girls Small School Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 Menard (10) 100
2 Episcopal 80
3 Episcopal of Acadiana 62
4 Covenant Christian 58
5 Ascension Catholic 50
5 St. Martin’s 50
7 Newman 44
8 St. Thomas Aquinas 40
9 Catholic- Point Coupee 18
10 Ascension Episcopal 16
Others receiving votes:
Country Day, Cedar Creek, Runnels

 

Girls Large School Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 St. Joseph (10) 100
2 Mandeville 90
3 Vandebilt 73
4 St. Michael 64
5 Lafayette 53
6 Mt Carmel 27
6 Sacred Heart 27
6 St. Scholastica 27
9 Parkview 25
10 Dominican 20
Others receiving votes:
Zachary, University, Parkway, Dutchtown, Fontainebleau, Ponchatoula, Belle Chasse, ED White, Curtis
Boys Small School Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 Episcopal (10) 100
2 St. Martin’s 86
3 St. Thomas Aquinas 63
4 Menard 60
5 Episcopal of Acadiana 53
6 Ascension Catholic 48
7 Newman 45
8 Cedar Creek 33
9 Runnels 20
10 Country Day 17
Others receiving votes:
Dunham, Ascencion Episcopal, Choudrant, Catholic- Point Coupee
Boys Large School Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 St. Paul’s (3) 86
2 Catholic (6) 83
2 Brother Martin (1) 79
4 Holy Cross 71
5 Jesuit 38
6 Curtis 30
7 ED White 26
7 Parkway 26
9 Live Oak 21
10 Airline 20
Others receiving votes:
St. Michael, Belle Chasse, Mandeville, Fontainbleau, West Monroe, Lafayette, West Feliciana, Ruton Zachary, Dutchtown, Benton

Girls Composite Top 10 Pre-Season Team Rankings

Girls

1) Mandeville- Under second year with head coach Anthony Pequeno, Mandeville will be a tough opponent for SJA and enters the season as the slight favorite.

2) St. Joseph- In what could be interchangeable at first or second, SJA should be right on the heels of Mandeville with the returning experience that won a state title last year.

3) Vandebilt- The 4A State champs last year could make an argument for top team in the state considering they graduate any runners from last year.

4) Menard- The 2A powerhouse just trucks along each year like a well oiled machine.  The talent on the roster this year should be enough to take home the 2A title.

5) Sacred Heart- Always a great peaking team, Sacred Heart looks poised for another 3A title again in a few short months.

6) Lafayette- A big question mark as far as where to be placed, Lafayette certainly has more than enough capable distance runners in the program to be a top composite program.

7) Dominican- This year Dominican is without a household name as the low stick, but should have a tight spread to keep them competitive.

8) Mt. Carmel- Under second year coach Casey Kaiser, MCA should be improved from last year, looking to avenge the one point loss at district to Dominican.

9) St. Michael- Despite graduating a former state champion, St. Michael should have the talent to podium finish in a 4A race that will be one of the strongest in years.

10) St. Scholastica- SSA will have several girls who should be in the mid to low 19s, but has great depth and can always find new blood to help the team out.

Photo courtesy of HoumaTimes.Com

Boys Composite Top 10 Pre-Seaon Team Rankings

Boys

1) Brother Martin- BM enters the season with the best returning track credentials of any team in the.  While track isn’t XC, Brother Martin will have the same distance coach (Drew Haro) for both track and cross country for the first time in a few years, and the continuity may help continue that forward trend.

2) St. Paul’s- SPS has won 2 state titles in the past 4 years and will have a very good chance to win a third this year.  The battle between BM and SPS should be just a narrow, few point margin.

3) Episcopal- It should never surprise anyone when EHS is ranked high.  Despite graduating top tier runners each year, EHS will always find a way to be a distance powerhouse again the next.

4) Holy Cross- Coming very close to beating Brother Martin last year at state, Holy Cross looks very capable of competing with the top level teams this fall.

5) Airline- Slowly creeping up the past few years, Airline should be able to springboard off a strong track season in addition to some new young freshman who could contribute.

6) Catholic- Only finishing 6th last year at state and graduating a large amount of runners, the numbers game will always work in favor of CHS and their top 3 returners should score low enough to keep the team towards the top of every meet they race.

7) St. Thomas Aquinas- With no superstars, STA should be able to rock and roll this year with a strong pack and the ever present motivation of having to compete against EHS at state.

8) Jesuit- There is nearly a 100% chance Jesuit will finish the season with a higher ranking, as far as returners, Jesuit will need to rely on a slew of new names to get the job done this year.

9) Belle Chasse- The 4A state champs lost a couple to graduation but should still see steady progression entering the second season with head coach Micah Simoneaux.

10) John Curtis- With their candidates for 5th man running in the 10:30s during track, Curtis should be able to hang with most other top programs this fall.

Nike South, Footlocker South and AAU XC Junior Olympics

Each year some of the state’s top talent travels to post season cross country meet around the country to compete against other top athletes in an assortment of races.  The 2015 season was the height of LA XC against regional and national competition.  Devyn Keith qualified for Nike Cross Nationals (only LA runner to qualify in NXN history), Gabrielle Jennings was the AAU Junior Olympics national champion, Eric Coston was first alternate for Footlocker Nationals after finishing 11th at regionals and Olivia Murphy was 3rd Team All-South at Nike South.  Last year team Louisiana won the AAU XC Nationals as a team in the girls 15-18 division.

When will LA reach those height again or even qualify a team to NXN?  Can LA continue to have success with the AAU Junior Olympics?  We will only have to wait a few shorts months to find out.  Here is some information on these post season meets:

Footlocker South– Novemeber 25th, Charlotte NC

Nike Cross Regional South– November 28th, Woodlands TX

AAU Cross Country Junior Olympics- December 2nd, Charlotte NC (Information is not available yet but will be linked at a later date).

Boys CO ’18 Individual Rankings

1) Adam Wise, Fontainebleau- Fresh off a 4:17c from his Mobile win this spring, Wise looks to be the next big miler from LA.

2) Graham Frazier, EHS- With a 9:29c from Mobile, Frazier has the wheels to give Wise a run for his money for top honors.

3) Hayden Courrege, Brother Martin- His 4:24 fom the spring is nothing to sneeze at, but his 15:05 at Highland remains his standout performance to date.

4) Nicholas Scott, Tara- Dropped his PR from 2:01 to 1:55 in 2017.

5) Blake Baldassaro, Holy Cross- Earned a 15:35 and 4:24 this year.

6) Kenny Schafer, EHS- Enters the season with PRs of 15:40 and 9:50.

7) Key Alfred, Carencro- Big year of improvement for Alfred who dropped his PRs to 1:57/4:26/9:51/15:42.

8) Kolyn Saltzman, Westgate- A big 9:44 win at 4A state earns Saltzman some recognition.

9) Zachary Barthel, Curtis- A 4:25 at regionals got him a spot at the state meet in 5A.

10) Tyrell Hargrove, McKinley- More of a long sprinter, Hargrove ran 48.8/1:56 this spring.

Photo courtesy of the Advocate.

Girls CO ’18 Individual Rankings

1) Angelle Primeaux, Lafayette- A healthy Primeaux will be very tough to beat; as a sophomore she ran 2:14, 5:05 and 11:22.  Last year sickness and recovery from an injury took significant effect on her fitness, but assuming those issues have been sorted out, Angelle looks like the class of the field.

2) Sydney Minor, Lafayette- A 1-2 punch could be deadly in the spring with 2:17/5:09 runner Minor gaining so much momentum this spring.

3) Ciara Gilroy, Barbe- The daughter of great distance coach, no wonder she makes this list.  Gilroy finished the spring with 2:17/5:19 PRs.

4) Adrianna Wilder, Parkway- Earning a 5:12 this spring, Wilder also finished the year with a SB of 11:31.  Potential is there to make a big jump, though, as her PR is actually 11:10, and should she regain that form this year may give Primeaux a run for her money on the track.

5) Emily Blanchard, Hahnville- Seemingly more at home in the longer events, Blanchard enters the season with an 18:24 PR from Walker last year and a runner-up finish at state last year indoors in 11:55.

6) Jennifer Bennett, SJA- Finishing 6th at XC state last year and 4th in the Indoor 3200, Bennett will be a big player in the team race this XC season.

7) Mikala Ruhl, Newman- Enters the season with 5:40/11:49/19:27 PRs.

8) Jessi Ruhl, Newman- Has run 12:12 on the track and 19:11 in XC.

9) Oneke Gwan, Ruston- Ran 2:17 for the podium in the 5A 800 last year.

10) Haley Dean, Lakeshore- Ran 5:29 in the spring to win the 4A 1600 and ran 19:11 during XC.

Photo courtesy of Bossier Press-Tribune

Top 5 Cross Country Storylines To Follow In 2017

5) Will Weather Have A Major Effect Again?: Last year saw warm temperatures well into October, slowing down some of the races that were known for their fast performances.  This year we are already seeing significant rain and a higher chance of tropical storms than in previous years.  Weather has always wreaked havoc on XC in Louisiana (see the state meet in 2015) and the question isn’t will it, but rather to what extent will the weather affect cross country this fall?

4) Schedule Shake-Ups: As noted before, there is no more NOLA Metro championship this year, instead having the meet moved up two weeks into September.  The Walker meet will not take place this year, nor the Rummel/Chapelle Invite.  At Highland, a rare September SJA meet happens on the 30th and Catholic is on the 7th of October.  With so many changes, traditional XC schedules will be drastically altered to accommodate the substantially different mid-season schedule.

3) Mandeville-SJA Rivalry: Entering the 2017 season SJA holds the score of 2-1 in the past 3 seasons as both teams have occupied the top 2 spots at state each of those years.  This year they look to be two of the more serious contenders for the 5A title again, and both return a strong team.  Coach Pequeno of Mandeville enters his second season at the helm so the Skippers may be strengthened by a full year of continuity with their current coach.

2) Will There Be A National Class Male Runner?: It’s been 6 years since we had a season where the top runner didn’t break 15.  In that time, LA has produced an NXN qualifier, a first alternate for Footlocker, and several runners who would go on to run great times in spring and be ranked nationally at the time (Zachary Albright was ranked top 20 in the country when he ran 4:12 at Sugar Bowl).  This year Hunter Appleton is poised to take the reigns based off his 9:18 last year.

1) Can Brother Martin Win?: It’s been 10 years since brother Martin has won the 5A title and they have their best team since then.  They will have a tough battle in order to win the title, though, as last year’s champ St. Paul’s seem to be returning enough to win again despite losing their all-time runner Eric Coston.  As of right now, it seems like the difference between the two teams is less than 5 points.  Brother Martin will have the best 1-2 punch in the state, but SPS is always known for depth.

Photo courtesy of the Advocate.

Top 5 Cross Country Meets To Watch For

As we do every year, we will plot out the top 5 regular season cross country meets to watch for big performances and clashes of top teams.  Here is our 2017 list:

5) Airline Viking Invite, Sept. 23rd- Coach Hamiter at Airline has been working to get teams from all across the state (and some from outside the state) and has received a few confirmations from SELA teams to take the trip to Bossier to take on the north LA teams.  Coach Hamiter looks to make the meet have a distance carnival feel.

4) St. Michael’s Warrior Run, Nov. 4th – In it’s first year last year, the warrior run ended up being one of the fastest meets of the year and was a great way to watch many non-5A programs have one last shot at a fast time on the infamous Highland Road Park course.

3) Sugar Bowl XC Meet, Sept. 30th- What used to be the New Orleans Metro Championship, Sugar Bowl has become a meet geared towards bringing top local schools and some out of state programs to the City Park course in New Orleans.  It will conflict with the SJA invite for teams though.

2) St. Joseph’s Invite, Sept. 30th- If based on the performances the past few years, it seems SJA has passed up the CHS meet in terms of competitiveness and times, but with the emergence of the Sugar Bowl meet it may miss out on some SELA programs that would have gone in previous years.

1) Catholic High Invite, Oct. 7th- Of course the grand daddy of them would be first, holding strong after all those years.  The coveted orange t-shirt is still a staple of the who’s-who in the LA distance circle.

 

10 Questions With SLU Distance Coach Rocky Capello

Rocky Capello is entering his second year as the distance coach at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond after spending several years producing several state champion squads at Ascension Catholic High School.
LRC: Coming from a small high school squad, how was the transition to coaching at the D1 level?
RC: The transition was actually pretty smooth.   From a training perspective, my High School kids actually had a training program pretty similar if not more difficult than the training being done by my college returners.  It was great to see how well the College kids adapted and embraced my style of training.
LRC: How would you rate your first year as a college coach in terms of reaching your goals?
RC: I thought we had a successful year.  Our Men’s goal was to average 26:30 at the Conference Meet for the 8K race.  We came close and averaged 26:44 which was a nice improvement over the 27:58 average from the previous year. The Women’s team did really well considering the circumstances.  For most of the season, we only had 3 distance runners on the girls squad.  At the Conference Meet, we raced 6 girls including a sprinter, pole vaulter and Tennis player.  Despite this, we were able to beat 3 teams.
LRC: How has the recruiting process been and how did your first class shape up?
RC: My first recruiting class looks solid on both the Boy’s and Girl’s side.  We added a lot of quality and should be really competitive for the next few years.  On the Boy’s side, our top signees were Adam Cortez (15:21, 5K/ 9:25, 3200m), Jonathan Respress (1:52, 800m/ 16:33, 5K), Anthony Cordero (1:57, 800m/15:45, 5K), and Parker Phillips (15:45, 5K/ 4:24, 1600m).  In addition, Devyn Keith (1:53, 800m/ 4:16, 1600m/ 14:55, 5k) has decided to transfer to our school from Tulane, so he is expected to be a huge contributor to our program.  On the Girl’s side, our top signees were Sophie Daigle (18:18, 3mile/5:20, 1600m), Tara Stuntz (18:21, 3 mile/ 5:19, 1600m), Breanna Bernard (19:12, 3 mile/ 11:59, 3200m), and Lindsey Hutcheson (19:31, 3 mile).
LRC: How long each week do you spend recruiting?
RC: After I was hired last Summer, I spent about 15-20 hours each week either recruiting or researching recruits.  It seems to have paid off.  We have 13 new distance runners on the squad this year.  Of the 24 distance runners who will be on the 2017-18 team, only 1 is a Senior.  Because of that, I haven’t spent nearly as much time recruiting for the 2018 class.  We are hoping to sign 1-2 guys and 2-3 girls for next year’s class.
LRC: What is your vision for the future of the SLU distance program?
RC: As I told Coach Brady when he offered me the position, my goal is for SLU to compete for  Cross Country Conference Championships every year and to have one of the top 5 programs in the Region.
I also look forward to training Track athletes looking to be NCAA Regional and National qualifiers.
LRC: What does a typical training week look like for your team during cross country?
RC: During the Summer, it is all about building a stamina base by increasing mileage and adding in long Steady State Runs and Tempo Runs before arriving to campus in August.  In August, September and October, depending on the race schedule,  we will generally do easy runs on MondayWednesday and Saturday and have either a Tempo, Interval or Fartlek session on Tuesday and Friday.  On Sunday we do either a Long Run or Steady State Run.
LRC: What advice would you give to a high school athlete who isn’t sure if they want to run in college?
RC: If you believe you have the talent to be a college athlete, you should accept the challenge.  You won’t ever regret trying.  You will probably regret not trying.  There are so many talented runners out there who are not in a training program which will generate recruitable marks.  I would encourage anyone who has a dream of being a college athlete to try to find a program willing to give them a shot.
LRC: If I was a top high school athlete, what stands out about your program that should make me choose SLU?
RC:
1. SLU is a great university with many quality academic opportunities at an affordable cost including one of the best Freshman Scholarship programs in the State.
2. The Cross Country squad is a tight knit family and the 24 members are very supportive of each other.
3. The training program is a science-based, progressive system designed to maximize the potential of each member of the team and not just the superstars.
4. In my program, the well-being of each athlete will always take precedence over anything else.
LRC: Is there anyone on your team who you feel is ready to have a breakout year?
RC: As far as returners, I expect Grant O’Callaghan to have a huge year.  Last year, he was one of the top Freshmen in the Conference, running 15:16 in 5k and 3:55 in 1500m.  I think he will easily exceed those marks and compete for Conference honors in XC and Track.  I also expect Junior, Clarissa Smith to have her best Track season of her career.  She will redshirt this XC season, but she should be one of the top Steeplechase competitors in the Spring.  In addition, without mentioning names, I think 5-6 incoming Freshmen have a chance to score at a Conference Meet this year.
LRC: What is the biggest lesson you learned this year?
RC: I learned that you have to sometimes let go of the reins and trust the athletes to prepare themselves.  Coming from a small HS setting, I micro-managed athletes training them from 5th grade until 12th grade.  That just isn’t possible in a college setting.

Outdoor Track Preview 2018

Now moving onto the preview for outdoor track:

Girls

5) Baton Rouge- While currently looking like a two girl squad of thrower Logan Lewis and jumper Taylor Strickland, far too much talent flows through the halls of Magnet and we can expect a few other athletes to enter the fold to put together at least a good relay or two.

4) Sacred Heart- The usual suspects of Mary Nusloch and Claire Moreau will anchor the team.  Sacred Heart will fill in several other spots with other distance, sprinters and javelin throwers to make for a very powerful team next May.

3) St. Joseph’s- SJA will find a way to score in a wide variety of events and their program is known for developing athletes who can compete for podium spots.

2) Lafayette- While Lafayette will rack up points in distance, throws and jumps as well as relays, outdoor does a much better job of slowing top programs down.  Lafayette has the talent to win next year, but so does our number one team.

1) CE Byrd- Byrd returns everyone except their top sprinter, Kyah Loyd who will be Tulane this year.  While this may seem like a huge loss, and it is, don’t forget the other 7 girls who competed for Byrd at state also finished on the podium.

Boys

5) Cecilia- Sprints and hurdles will go a long way for Cecilia this coming year.  Ryan Malbrough in the 100 and 200 and the combination of Terrell Chevalier and Kaleb Carter will be a force in the hurdles.

4) Episcopal-  As we saw before, EHS will probably get both runners on the podium in the distance events and Caden Dickinson will score many points in the hurdles for the Knights.  They will also scoop up some points in the jumping events as usual.

3) Catholic- The Bears return a couple distance runners who can score for them and their top dog Sethan Hollier, but lack star power outside of that.  No worries though, as Catholic will still figure out a way to podium in the 4×2 and 4×4 as they always do.

2) West Feliciana- They rival the top team in terms of sheer talent, but have slightly less depth.  They will own the sprints and throws and will probably produce a national class 4×2 time.

1) Curtis- The Patriots will have a shot to podium in the 100, 200, 1600, HJ, LJ, SP and Jav while also picking up potential points in the 800, 300H, Disc and 4×2.  Not bad for any class, much less in 5A.

Indoor Track Preview 2018

As mentioned in our previous post, we will include a track preview for next year to help hold you over until the school year starts again!  Here we look at the rankings for the top 5 programs for the indoor track season to keep an eye on.

Girls

5) St. James- Three girl team of Kionne Octave, Kaylin Martin and Korri Martin look to rack up points in the hurdles and jumps and will be a force in the small schools division.

4) Sacred Heart of NOLA-  Another small school squad of three girls, Mary Nusloch, Claire Moreau and Sara Spinosa could get on the podium for both individual events and team standings, especially if they can also get a 4×8 and another distance runner in the mix for some open event points.

3) Zachary- It’s no surprise that Zachary will still be good at the sprints with Indya Jackson returning as the heir-apparent to Janie O’Conner.  They should also pick up a few points in the shotput as well.

2) St. Joseph’s- Distance will still carry the bulk of the workload for SJA even with the departure of Gabriella Chauvin, but there is still opportunity for the Redstickers to get some points in the jumps and throws which they’ve traditionally done well at.

1) Lafayette- There’s little surprise that Lafayette would enter the year as the favorite, but to put things in perspective, they would be competitive for the title without their distance points, but that happen to be their overwhelming strength point entering the season.

Boys

5) Zachary- Outside of Sean Burrell, Zachary can nickel and dime themselves some points in a variety of other events to have a high finish at the state meet.

4) Catholic- Despite winning indoor and outdoor last year, graduation hits Catholic very hard this year.  The ranking here is based on potential, and that potential is that the coaching staff will always put together a great squad each season but much like two indoor seasons ago, if another team has the serious guns, Catholic won’t get the win on coaching alone.  Sethan Hollier is the only surefire athlete on Catholic’s team who we can expect to see on the podium.

3) West Feliciana- This squad is very top heavy and has a bunch of great athletes.  Sprinters Kam Jackson, Darius Davis and Derek Turner combined with Jacob Fudge in the shotput has this team looking very good for next season.

2) Episcopal- EHS usually only does three things during the indoor season: distance, hurdles, and jumps.  That’s generally enough.  Their distance squad is an endless supply of state caliber runners and don’t be surprised if they put both runners on the podium this year.

1) John Curtis- Graduation hurt Curtis but they return an insane amount of talent, it will be hard for Catholic to even enter the running events close.  Returning is state HJ champ Donnell Jones, 54 foot shot putter Zachariah Blake, 23-10 long jumper Lance Williams, 2016 60m state champ Corey Wren, 4:25 1600 runner Zach Barthel, and an army of sprinters and distance runners who will get the team points in all three relays.

10 Questions With LSU Coach Mark Rinker

Mark Rinker was just hired from Northeastern University in Boston and will now be the new distance coach for Louisiana State University.  Here is a few questions to get to know Mark:

Photo courtesy of Oregon Track Club.  Featured image courtesy of LSUSports.Net.

LRC: What do you believe so far has been your biggest coaching accomplishment?

MR: I’ve been lucky to be around a lot of great athletes over the last decade.  It is hard to pinpoint just one accomplishment, so many athletes have worked so hard and done some amazing things, but to be honest the biggest thrill I’ve had coaching was watching Paul Duffey break 4 minutes in the Mile last winter.  It was something Paul had worked very hard at for and it really brought the entire Northeastern program together which was really cool to be a part of.

What about LSU stood out in regards to you applying for the distance job?

I have always admired LSU and the success of the program.  The chance to compete for National Championships is something that I want to do and that is the goal here at LSU.  Also, everyone that I talked to and trust said that Coach Shaver would be a great boss to work for which was a factor when applying for the job.  There are also a lot of great athletes in the program currently and I’m looking forward to working with them which makes the job exciting!

How would you describe your coaching philosophy in regards to training and/or the ins and outs of the daily program?

My coaching philosophy is pretty simple, it all revolves around balance in the program.  That balance is obviously a little different if you are an 800 runner compared to a 5,000/10,000 runner.  However, I want to make sure that over the course of a 2 week cycle we are touching on the various energy systems in an appropriate manner for the time of year.

Generically, could you describe a week of training a typical freshman might run in your program?

I try to individualize things as much as possible as it relates to mileage and overall workload.  With incoming freshman finding out where they come from (training wise) is crucial for me and adjusting the overall workload from there is what I try to do.  The biggest changes are probably the intensity of work-outs and the weight training at the college level.  Typically you can expect to work-out 2-3 times per week (depending on meet schedules and/or training cycles), you are going to lift twice per week and get in a long run, nothing too crazy…

Do you have any coaching mantras you stick to, such at “the process is the goal” that Bill Aris uses with his team at FM?

I know that moving to Louisiana its not real popular to be a Pats fan but my message to my athletes is usuallyTom Brady quote “If you don’t believe in yourself, why is anyone else going to believe in you?”  I think having confidence in yourself and your training is important and when you run with confidence you more often than not run pretty well.

Coming from Boston, will your approach to training change any now that you’ll have more moderate winters but much hotter spring and falls?

I am really looking forward to the moderate winters here!  I don’t think that my overall philosophy will change coming down south, I think the biggest things that I’ll worry about and lose sleep over is making sure people are taking care of themselves, hydrating etc…  I’m sure that we will hit a lot of our work-outs earlier in the morning to avoid the hottest times of the day and I’ll make some small tweaks to some things here and there.  Ultimately we have to find ways to get the work done, a lot of great athletes have trained in the heat/humidity and been successful and I know that we will find a way.

What is your vision or goals for what you hope to accomplish at LSU?

My goals are first and foremost to help LSU when National Championships.  Beyond that I do want to accomplish a few things:  I really want to help develop a successful culture within the Distance program.  I also believe that there is a lot of distance talent in the State of Louisiana and I want to start there and develop that talent at LSU.  Lastly I want to help raise the overall profile of the Distance program nationally with our DMR’s and individuals competing for All American and National Championships.

What would you say to a student-athlete looking to walk on into your program?

I would tell anyone that wanted to walk-on to the program that they better be ready to work hard but that I’ll treat them like anyone else, and we will have a little bit of fun along the way.  The best example of that is Paul Duffey was a 1:55.9 walk-on from HS and he went on to be an 800 All-American and sub 4 minute miler.

If I am a top national recruit, tell me why LSU is the best fit for me.

I’ve coached at the highest levels of Track and Field and what I’ve seen and what I believe is that at the top level it is all about the relationships and trust that an athlete has in their Support Network (Coaches, Trainers, Nutritionists etc…).  From our Academic Support to our Athletic Support, LSU is going to put a network around you that you can trust to give you the support and tools to grow as an athlete and compete to win a National Championship both individually and as a part of a team.

Lastly, and most importantly, what Louisiana food item have you enjoyed the most so far or are looking forward to eating when you have the chance?

I’ve only been in Baton Rouge since Tuesday so I haven’t had a lot of time to venture out yet, I have had some really good BBQ.  I am definitely looking forward to having Crawfish next spring.  I am definitely up for any suggestions on the best places to eat though! 

 

Look for more local content at LouisianaRunning.Com and now national content via Chaz Caiado at HighSchoolHarrier.Com.

High School Previews 2017-18

As we do every summer, we will bring to you our preview article series for the 2017-18 school year which will include rankings, analysis and coverage for what you can expect to see from Louisiana high school athletes in cross country and track starting this fall.  The preview series will start early July so keep posted!  Here are a few other announcements for the upcoming year.

Also returning this fall will be the LTFCA cross country coaches poll which will begin in September once the season has started.  This poll is open to any head cross country coach who is a member of the LTFCA.  If you are a coach and would like to be a part of the poll, please email lacoachespoll@gmail.com with your information.

We are looking for good race photographs of Louisiana runners to use for our articles.  If you have a good photograph you would like to share with us or plan on taking race pictures, please email us and let us know at lacoachespoll@gmail.com.

We would like to expand our coverage of middle school competitions so if you have any information about upcoming races, results, or just want to give us your contact information for future projects, let us know!

We wrapped up the 2016-17 school year with numerous state and national records falling to a very special and talented group of Louisiana athletes.  We are looking forward to seeing more of the same this coming year!

 

Great Southwest Classic: Team Lousiana

University of New Mexico track, home to Great Southwest Track and Field Classic.

For those who don’t know, the Great Southwest Classic is one of the oldest and most historic post-season national meets for high schoolers.  Former meet competitors read off like a who’s who of the sport with names like Leonel Manzano, Armand Duplantis, Trayvon Bromell and Bianca Knight just to name a few.  This year was the biggest version of the meet to date with almost 900 athletes competing at the state of the art facilities at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.  Over 20 states were represented with athletes travelling from as far away as Florida and Washington.

The view from Sandia Peak where the team took a day trip.  This the view of Albuquerque from the tram station at the top of the mountain.  This is the mountain seen in the above picture.

Team Louisiana brought almost two dozen athletes to the meet including: Jada Greenard of North Webster, Aleceya Harrison of CE Byrd, Kayla Harrison of CE Byrd, Mackenzie Jenkins of Busly, Kennedy London of West Feleciana, Kyah Loyd of CE Byrd, Taylor Shaw of Brusly, Ta’la Spates of Brusly, Dreunna Washington of North Webster, Ariel Pedigo of Parkview Baptist, Kennedy Gerard of Captain Shreve, and Kamrin Hooks of Captain Shreve for the girls.  For the boys there was Michael Brown of Newman, Andrew Robinson of Parkway, Sean Burrell of Zachary, Marcus Tripp of Cedar Creek, Luke Jackson of Loyola, Tzuriel Pedigo of Parkview, Matthew Griffiths of Sulphur, Donovan Jackson of CE Byrd, Dorian Camel of Scottlandville, and Parker McBride of Dutchtown.

The dry weather was a stark change from Louisiana.

Coach Juan Plaza of 5A outdoor track state champion team C.E. Byrd is the head coach for team Louisiana and is responsible for organizing the squad which he has done since the early 2000s when he coached sprint prodigy Jonathan Wade from Evangel Christian who was one of the top youth sprinters in the world.  The team has grown to over 20 athletes on several occasions and looks to bring as many LA athletes as possible each year to represent the state.  Organizing and chaperoning the team also included Johnnie Butler of Scottlandville, Trent Ellis of Brusly and Chaz Caiado of Cabrini.

Team LA enjoying themselves in Santa Fe.

While some of the team flew to the meet, several coaches and athletes piled into a van and drove the 12 hours from Shreveport to Albuquerque.  While determined to compete well, the team was also determined to have fun and in the days leading up to the meet, took a trip to Santa Fe then took a tram to the top of Sandia Crest, over 11,000 feet in elevation!  This elevation is one of the reasons the meet is so attractive to those who run the 400 and below.  The thinner air offers less resistance and allows for the sprint events to be run at blazing speeds.

First ever boys 4×800 for Team LA at GSW featuring Andrew Robinson, Parker McBride, Michael Brown and Matthew Giffiths.

Ariel Pedigo of Parkview Baptist began competition for the team with a 5th place finish in the women’s decathlon during the first two days of competition.  The 8th grader and sister of teammate Tzuriel Pedigo even won the high jump during the competition at an outstanding 4’11. Also competing on the second day were three relays for team Louisiana, two in the girls 4×200 and one in the boys 4×800.  The sprint relays ran great, the B team running 1:43.28 and the A team running an amazing 1:37.71 to take second!  The distance relay, this being the first year LA has ever brought a squad to run in the mile high altitude, still managed to run a time of 8:09.55 to take fifth place.  On a side note, Sean Burrell and Dorian Camel also ran in the 4×2 under team USA along with two swift athletes from other states to finish runner up in a blazing 1:25.30.

The third and final day is when the real fireworks started (literally fireworks went off during the meet from the baseball stadium next door).  After shaking the rust off on Friday night (the majority of the athletes had not raced since the state meet), the team was ready to drop some great performances the next afternoon.  Podium finishers include Taylor Shaw of Brusly, 6th in the open 200 in 24.67; Parker McBride of Dutchtown, 4th in the 800 in 1:53.95; Luke Jackson of Loyola, 4th in the Javelin in 191-5.25; Marcus Tripp of Cedar Creek, 3rd in the Javelin in 196-6.75; Tzuriel Pedigo of Parkview, 1st in the Javelin in 203-4.5; Sean Burrell, 2nd in the 400 in 46.19; Girls 4×1, 3rd place in 46.09; and Kyah Loyd who finished 2nd in the 100 hurdles in 13.88 and 3rd in the elite 200 in 24.46.

Back to Sean Burrell, he had a very special meet and represented team LA very well.  His time of 46.19 is a national 15 year old record and he may bring that under 46 this summer and challenge the state record set by Ashton Collins in the early 2000s.  He was also a part of the team USA squad that set the meet record and the 18th best time in the world at the moment in 3:03.35 (they would be competitive in the NCAA!).  Congratulations to him and we look forward to seeing him develop in the future.

 

Despite having a small team, Louisiana finished tied for 7th on the boys side with Florida and 9th on the girls side, and this was without many of the top national caliber athletes LA produced this year.

The night ended with a meet-sponsored dance party for the athletes at the meet hotel and then the team took the ride back to Shreveport, mostly sleeping along the way to recoup all the energy of competing and having fun the previous four days.

If you are a returning high school student for the 2017-18 school year and would like to compete for team Louisiana next year, contact coach Juan Plaza at jep1932@bellsouth.net or coach Chaz Caiado at ccaiado@tulane.edu.

2017 Q50 Run to the Hills

by Emily Winters

While the weather was not cheerful, the spirits of the race participants and staff were filled with joy this past Saturday morning.  The drive to Bogue Chitto was cloudy and rainy.  However, that did not stop Cesar from enthusiastically greeting the participants as they arrived to the race site.  As the participants arrived, they made their way to the pavilion for the pre-race announcements and fun.  Q50 had tables set up with a vast amount of items available to purchase.  The New Orleans Mission chefs (as always) had a selection of delicious food for both pre-race and post-race meals.

Thirty minutes before the race began, Cesar proceeded with his usual pre-race announcements in a lively fashion.  He started the speech vocalizing his appreciation for the sponsors, and additionally expressed special thanks to Craig McMillin’s production of the beautiful, hand-made ceramics used as medals and awards.  Soon, the course details followed with Cesar emphasizing the importance of safety.  The course had no water stops.  There were red flags posted all along the course to point the runners in the right direction.  There were two distances – 5 miles and 10 miles, with the 10-miler runners making a second loop. He wrapped up with, “This is a hard trail… whatever your PR is for this distance, you will not break it so scratch that idea off.  The most important thing is to be safe and HAVE FUN. It’s a beautiful trail, enjoy it.”  Now everyone was ready run!

Everyone began to make their way to the race start, with a few individual’s making stops at their cars on the way.  The adrenaline was beginning to kick in.  Some runners had headphones in and were getting “in the zone”, while others were conversing with the individual standing next to them.  Cesar began to speak and soon a moment of silence followed.  Cesar expressed his prayers and blessings for the safety of each runner. Now it was two minutes to start time.  Everyone was ready.  The countdown began as Nicole made her way to the tape with a sword in hand.  Once Cesar hit zero, Nicole swung the sword and we were off!

Runners made their way along the wet trail, each in the zone and ready to appreciate the beauty of trail running. The clouds dominated the sky, with no sun in sight.  The air was humid, and most of us warmed up after half a mile.  Each runner soon scattered with a few pairs sticking together for most of the course.  The first hill approached, and the nerves kicked in. This was my first time doing the trail, I had no idea what to expect! After the first mile filled with hills, I thought to myself – “Okay you need to pace yourself!” The trail was wet, muddy, and slippery but it did not matter.  Everyone was taking in the beauty of nature around him or her.  Bugs filled the air, prompting irritation in most of the runners. Around mile 2, I passed a man who turned to me and said, “These bugs are gettin to me. But ya gotta love it out here.”

Each hill provided a challenge, with a few steeper and harder than others.  However, that did not stop the racers, and everyone went up the hills with increasing determination for the next one.  The last mile of the course was directed onto grass and curved through the woods.  There was one last hill before the finish line, and I ran up that hill with more determination than any hill in that race.  It was worth it.  When I reached the top of the hill I could see the ecstatic faces of the q50 staff cheering me on, “You’re almost done!!! It’s right there!” Cesar cheered me on as crossed the finish line with a smile was spread across my face as I hugged him. I had done my second trail race, and it was unforgettable.

 

I stayed outside to cheer a few who were closely behind on the course, and soon found myself inside enjoying the fresh fruit and food prepared by the New Orleans Mission Chefs.  The 10-mile race participants each came through the finish line and continued their journey on for a second loop, with Cesar and the q50 crew cheering everyone along the way.  As most of the runners began to finish, everyone went inside to sit at tables and socialize, with delicious food in front of them.  A few were browsing the items on the tables, while others were sitting and experiencing that “post-race bliss.”

 

Each participant was awarded a custom made ceramic medal, and the award-winning men and women each received additional Q50 wall hangings.  I won a beautiful Q50 ceramic plate, which is going to hang on my living room wall! After the ceremony, a few participants stuck around to socialize and eat. Everyone went home that day with a new, unforgettable experience imprinted in their memories

For more photos check out our facebook album here.

Results:

Top 5 miler men and women:

PLACE BIB # FEMALE NAME FINISH PLACE BIB # MALE  NAME FINISH
1 544 WINTERS, EMILY 0:50:53 1 558 BOMMARITO, JIMMIE 0:37:16
2 542 TROSCLAIR, ASHLEY 0:54:50 2 547 CAMPBELL, CHRIS 0:47:00
3 531 HARELAND, ALEX 0:54:58 3 557 RITCHIE, CURT 0:51:20
4 561 WIEDEMAN, ANGELA 0:57:45 4 564 VAN HOUTEN, ARTHUR 0:53:20
5 559 NEWMAN, ASHLEY 1:00:23 5 552 HOWARD, CHRIS 0:54:05

Top 10 Miler men and women

PLACE BIB # FEMALE NAME FINISH PLACE BIB # MALE  NAME FINISH
1 227 COVERICK, KATHLEEN 1:26:54 1 336 ACCARDO, NICK 1:05:55
2 291 SCHOLZ, LUCY 1:36:25 2 293 AGUIRRE, WILFREDO 1:18:46
3 338 STANCLOFF, ELISABETH 1:37:33 3 298 BELL, SCOTT 1:19:28
4 287 LITTRELL, LISA 1:52:12 4 337 APONTE, JEAN 1:23:00
5 256 GEIGER, CHERYL 1:52:35 5 330 RALSTON, DREW 1:26:40

 

For more results, visit the official Q50 results page here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Class of 2017 Rankings

Without further ado, here are the final rankings for the class of 2017.

 

Final Senior Rankings

Boys-

1) Eric Coston, St. Paul’s- There wasn’t much drama outside clock watching to finish off Eric’s last high school race.

2) Parker McBride, Dutchtown- But there was tons of drama in the 800. McBride knocks off the indoor champion and runs a 2 second PR.  Both finish with a title so…

2) Cameron Farris, Pineville- Both will finish in second with neither having a remarkable xc mark to break any potential tie-breaking. Both also find themselves on the short list of runners who broke 1:53 in high school from LA.  You won’t find the names Keith, Coston or Albright on that list.

4) Randy Carter, Jehovah Jireh- Finished his high school career with over a dozen state titles.

5) Luke Hebert, St. Thomas More- A surprise strong finish with a 1:54 at state after not running indoor got Hebert into the mix on this list.

6) Michael Brown, Newman- 2A was tough this year but Brown still found a way to compete for podium spots in the end.

7) Reed Meric, Jesuit- He didn’t PR this outdoor season, but he still found his way to the medal stand.

8) Kris Jackson, Episcopal- Caps off season with a runner-up spot in the 3200.

9) Seth Papineau, Airline- He sneaks into the top 10 at the end of the year with a 3rd place finish in the 5A 1600.

10) Lucas Marcello, EDW- Finished the year with a triple at state that included a runner up spot in the 1600 and a win in the 3A 3200.

 

Girls-

1) Alicia Stamey, Episcopal- Our three-headed giant issue wasn’t solved during outdoor but Stamey finished the 2A 1600 champion.

1) Alissa Landers, Lakeside- Landers took the 2A 3200 as well which leaves 2A split by the two seniors 1-1.

1) Gabriella Chauvin, SJA- Then Chauvin shows up at State looking like the top girl in the state by blowing away 5A in the 1600 and 800.  All three had their fair share of highs this year which are very close and all will finish in the top spot.

4) Hayley Schwab, Episcopal- The 2A 3200 runner-up holds on to her 4th spot.

5) Sophie Daigle, Ascension Catholic- The 1A triple crown belongs to Sophie after a great day at the races.

6) Tara Stuntz, Dutchtown- Tara pulled out a runner-up performance in the 5A 3200.

7) Kirsten Landry, Ascension Episcopal- After being out the second half of the year presumably due to injury, Landry drops to finish the year just inside the top 10.

8) Ally McCulley, Mandeville- McCulley finishes her time here as a LA high school runner with a podium finish in the 3200.

9) Raelynn Price, Baton Rouge- A 2:17 and a runner-up spot in 5A jumps Price into the top 10.

10) Gentry Jacquet, Lafayette- Jacquet finished the year with a runner-up spot in the 4×2 and 4th place finishes in the 800 and 4×4.

2017 Team Postal State Champions

As we’ve done for the past five years, we present to you the postal state champions at the end of the season based on which team has the best 5 times for the 3200 throughout the indoor and outdoor seasons.  As with the old postal nationals from the 1950s and 60s, our goal is to see which teams carry the best depth at the longest distance event in high school, the 3200/2Mile.  We divide the champions into two divisions like the indoor state meet, 3A and below being one division and 4A/5A being the big division.

Small School Girls- Episcopal High School

EHS is no stranger to the awards stand.  While top heavy, they still got the job done.  Their runners include Alicia Stamey (11:24.81), Hayley Schwab (11:37.41), Adele Broussard (11:58.78), Jennie Stauss (13:41.72) and Jill Ahmad (15:21.06).

Small School Boys- Episcopal High School

The Knights sweep the division and the train keeps rolling.  Their top 5 consisted of Graham Frazier (9:26.92c), Kenny Schafer (9:50.18), Kris Jackson (9:54.79), David Whitehurst (10:16.91) and Austin Broussard (10:20.78).  This was one of the best showings for a LA team on record.

Large School Girls- St. Joseph’s High School

The Redstickers won a close competition over Lafayette High which was separated by just a few seconds average per runner.  The SJA team is Lauren Hendry (11:21.88), Gabriella Chauvin (11:56.25), Jennifer Bennett (11:56.55), Virginia Dirks (12:25.07), and Lark Smith (13:00.62).

Large School Boys- Brother Martin High School

The Crusaders showed off why they are considered the favorites for next years’ xc championship.  Their lineup included Hunter Appleton (9:18.64), Hayden Courrege (9:43.57), Reid Kern (10:17.91), Cade Litolff (10:20.04), and Ethan Meydrich (10:26.85).  With only one of those runners being a senior, we can expect them to repeat next year.

Some Recap, People Bursting Speedily, and the CCC (4/3-4/10 Recap)

 

Busy week last week. Things were certainly going on. Run group rolled along with no fatalities, local studs and studettes put together some excellent performances at Act II of Bursting with Speed, and Bannister fell in and out of love with a Crescent City Classic lady dog. Tragic story, really, but one for another day. With all that, let’s get on to business.

I suppose we should start with run group, considering these pieces of gold are categorized as “run group recaps.” As to what we are actually going to say about Monday and Wednesday, though, that is the tough part! Your embattled blogger was only able to see a few beautiful faces this week, so I really do not have any quips this go around. Believe me, nothing in our infinite universe saddens me more, except for a day without Bannister, perhaps. I’ll end this awkward paragraph with a resolve to do a better job of embarrassing some of you in future recaps.

Before we get to pictures, let’s do a little housekeeping. NOTC’s second rendition of Bursting with Speed, hosted by the Burst family, provided an opportunity for local standouts to put forth some excellent performances. A big congratulations to Louisiana Distance Project’s Ian Carr, who set a new personal best 5k time of 15:06, one of the times from a local in the past 4-5 years, and a third place finish. We need to also give a shout out to LDP’s Kat Telfeyan (17:04), Malia Cali (17:27), and Laura Carleton (17:29) for sweeping the top three slots and taking home the big bucks. We saw a lot of our run groupers out there as well, so congrats to everybody who met their goals!

That’s about it from me this week. I hope everybody who does the Crescent City Classic has a great time. Just a reminder, we will be taking the street car from the store at 6:30 AM, so for any of you looking to caravan over, feel free to join! Enjoy the pictures, and see all of you at the groups and the races!

A Short-ish Run Group Recap and Pictures (Finally!!!)

To say that we have been less than diligent about posting run group pictures is a truth held so self-evident that it might as well have been written in the Declaration itself as a pillar of American society. I can see it now…equality and freedom from tyranny and…no LRC run group pictures. That changes today, though, as we will finally have evidence of run group’s existence! I know all two of you who read these do so to find inspiration from my endless wisdom (insert any antonym for “wisdom” for a more accurate description of these recaps), but it never hurts to see the people who keep the run group engine churning in action.

As far as run group highlights, there were a few noteworthy episodes. Bannister’s man-servant, Patrick Gavin, has solidified, beyond any reasonable doubt, his unusual capacity to chug beers in an unhealthily short amount of time, giving team LRC a win at the Mellow Mushroom trivia night. Oh yeah, apparently, we do trivia on Wednesdays as well, in case anybody is interested in joining a few doors down from Ale. We were a few points short this time, but some of you wise men and women should be able to vault us to the top. As Michael Jordan says, the ceiling is the roof. I still have no idea what and the hell that was supposed to mean. Let’s see…Sean Fitzwilliam’s return last week was short lived, but is that really a bad thing? I suppose it is, although I may be part of a very, very small minority that actually believes his absence results in a net negative. He’s sort of become the Haley Joel Osment of New Orleans running—well liked (sort of) and good (sort of) at what he does, but man, we never see him anymore!

That’s pretty much it from me on the runs. A little bit of housekeeping, though, before picture time. Don’t forget to register for the Crescent City Classic, which I believe is on April 16th; let us know if you have any thoughts on summer run group events for either Monday or Wednesday; and, last but not least, thanks for continuing to spend your evenings with us and always feel free to encourage any family, friends, enemies, beasts of burden, wizards, dragons, or whatever floats your boat to pop out to run group if they’re interested and have the time!

 


Run Group #Infinity Recap…..With Zero Pictures!

Run Group Recap…oh man, am I running out of things to talk about?

 

No, not yet, to the detriment of everybody who makes the poor decision to read my drivel, which is really starting to become more of a monthly than weekly occurrence, but I’m looking to change that! Why? Because I live to please all two of my misguided readers, who I’m almost certain are my bosses that follow along only to assure that I avoid posting wanton gobbledygook on their web page.

But on to the runs!

After a few weeks away to engage in debauchery unheard of since the discovery of fire, I have returned from the tundra of the northeast to communicate the unrivaled success of our weekly run groups and the overwhelming prowess every present in our runners. Monday’s highlights included Reed making up for missing the Shamrock race by blistering through the Mid City 5-mile route at near-race pace, a group of four ladies absolutely crushing the rest of the guys, and of course our peerless, fearless leader, Bannister. Wednesday featured pizza and trivia at Mellow Mushroom, as well as, to everybody’s dismay, the return of Sean Fitzwilliam. Sorry everybody, but its true, Fitz is running again. Hide your wives, hide your kids.

A quick note on the pictures, our embattled cameraman was without the only piece of equipment for which he is responsible, so there are unfortunately no pictures for the week. Rest assured, his beatings will continue until morale improves! Or at least until he remembers the camera…whichever happens first.

We’ll end on a bit on housekeeping, but we are looking to start doing something a little different and fun during run groups on either Monday or Wednesday every month starting in April, so if my two readers, or any other misinformed and unfortunate follower, have any creative ideas on how to provide the most magnificent experience since the invention of photography, please submit any idea on Facebook, to the store email at staff@louisianarunning.com, or me at paul_freese@yahoo.com.

Thanks again for everybody for continuing to support us at run groups! We hope to continue to see all of you in the coming months as summer approaches!