Louisiana High School Indoor Review Through Week #2

Louisiana Indoor Review Through Week #2

While the majority of teams haven’t competed yet for indoor, some programs have already run several meets since mid December, giving us some insight into who looks to be major players in the team battles coming up for the championship in 5 weeks.

First, looking at some outstanding individual marks, who better than Mondo Duplantis of Lafayette to start the discussion.  Mondo set the world U20 indoor record with a jump of 19-1.25 at a pole vault meet in Reno, Nevada.  He is well over 3 feet ahead of all in-state competition.  Kam Jackson of West Feliciana is the first boy to break the 7 second barrier in the 60 meter dash this year in Louisiana, running a 6.98 at the LSU High School Classic last week. Claudisha Watson of Northside has also run a national class time with a 7.64 in the same meet.

Reagann Leleaux of Catholic-New Iberia is currently sitting second nationally in the pole vault after jumping 13-6.25 at the LSU Classic, joining her sister in the history books as one of the greatest pole vaulters from the state of Louisiana.  Logan Lewis of Baton Rouge Magnet threw 43-1 in the shotput to earn a top 15 ranking currently in the country.  Angelle Primeaux ran a new indoor PR of 2:17.85 to lead the state in the 800.  Hunter Appleton moves to #4 on the all-time state list in the 3200 with a 9:33.38 at the LSU Classic.

Top newcomers include Halyn Senegal of Sam Houston who, as a freshman, opened up her in-state season with a 59.42 in the 400 at LSU after a 58.71 last month to open her season in Alabama. Orsciana Beard of Zachary is the current top triple jumper in the state as a freshman after jumping 37-5.25 at the LSU Classic.

The team race is not totally clear at this point as some teams haven’t competed yet and others have only raced a few of their top athletes, but we can infer who will be involved in the race for the podium in the large schools.  In the girls competition, Lafayette currently looks far and away the favorite to win with a large chunk of scorers returning from last year’s championship team.  In no particular order, three other teams who have a good claim to compete for a podium finish at the state meet include Zachary, John Curtis and St. Joseph’s.  These three programs look to bring depth as well as several outstanding individuals to the state meet and be separated by who can put together the best relays.

On the boys side we have another situation where one team looks to be the clear favorite followed by a few teams fighting for the second spot.  John Curtis returns so much firepower from last year’s runner up finish that no team should be able to match them over the course of the meet.  They return previous state winners or medalists in the high jump, shotput, and 60 dash as well as being favorites for titles in the long jump with realistic chances of podium finishes in the 4×2, 4×4, 800 and 1600.  Fighting for the runner-up spot currently are Zachary and Catholic High.  In previous years Catholic would simply reload and be the class of the field but this year they seem to have their work cut out for them.  Catholic should have realistic scoring chances in the 60, 60H, 800, 1600, 3200, 4×2, 4×4, 4×8 and shotput but look to be locks for a podium spot in less than half of those events.  It’s a testament to the coaching at Catholic High than they can graduate so much talent year in and year out and still be in the conversation for the podium at the state meet. Meanwhile, the team who could clearly be the in the two-spot would be Zachary who has realistic scoring opportunities in the 400, 800, 60H, 4×2, High Jump and Triple Jump with all but one of those looking like a very good chance of a podium place.

The great thing about these match-ups is that they should all carry through to outdoor with the addition of a couple more quality programs (like C.E. Byrd on the girls side) so your indoor champion will not be able to rest on their laurels but rather will have to get right back to work in order to compete for the outdoor title as well.  Generally by the next week, the LSU High School Opener, teams will have shown the majority of their cards and we will have a firmer idea of where teams stand in relation to each other.

High school runners, there is a vote coming up at the LHSAA convention to add the 4×8 outdoors so if you are interested in running this event at the state meet in May, talk to your coaches and athletic directors to lobby your principal to vote yes for items pertaining to track at the convention in a few weeks.

Photo Courtesy of John Nepolitan

LRWC Run Group and Track Group Pictures + Christmas Announcements!

Third week in a row doing this thing? I’m worried we are actually starting to become something resembling consistent. Terrifying. But anyway, thanks to everybody who came out for our Mizuno Wave Rider demo! Hope those of you who tried the shoes enjoyed them. For the little to none that it’s worth, riding the waves was a pleasant experience for yours truly. That said, don’t think I’ll take up surfing anytime soon, as I have a small problem of not knowing how to swim…but also because I would probably be unfairly good.

In a shocking twist, rising film star and webby-nominated (for best short film villain) Sean Fitzwilliam made a rare public appearance with his agent, Wayne Wagner, on Wednesday at Oak. We’ll expect to see Fitz again in about six months after he finishes his nationwide tour of terrifying children and adults alike, but the rest of you should stay posted for more spectacular videos with the controversial star.

It was business as usual Thursday night at the track, but it will be placed in our recaps ad nauseam for the foreseeable future until we have not only billions but millions (for any Austin Powers fans out there) tracking and Second Line Brewing every week.

Finally, there are a few quick announcements for Monday’s run group. Santa will be raffling off the sweet merch in our jog log to those who come out to run. The glorious goods include Goodr sunglasses, nutrition products, shirts, socks, among other goodies (I believe the website has all of the details). We’ll also be doing s’mores, even though our winter appears to be over. Forgive me if I’m forgetting any really obvious races before this, but NOTC’s Jackson Day Race is coming up in a few weeks on January 7th. Well worth signing up for if you haven’t gotten a chance to run it yet.

That’s it for me! Here are the pictures and see you all this week!

LRWC Run Group 784 Pictures + A Snowy Week in Review

Where the hell did winter come from? I’m not exactly complaining, as my overpriced running leggings made their annual appearance, but I imagine the Russian winter is warmer than the frozen monsoons that bombarded us during the middle of last week.

Because the overall desire to run appropriately fell with the temperature, we decided to forgo taking pictures on Wednesday and Thursday, so all of the pictures this week will be from Mid City on Monday. That said, we appreciate those of you who came out despite the weather conditions (especially Brandon Ferrari, who provided the army of one on Wednesday at Oak).

We have a few reminders for you guys this week. If any of you read this before the 12/11 run group, our Mizuno rep is coming to demo some of their products tonight; assuming the temperature doesn’t shoot back up, we will be doing smores, eggnog, and a raffle with all of the products found in the jog log (patent pending) next Monday; for those of you who participated in the Celebration in the Oaks run/walk, I believe they’ve put up pictures; finally, a final reminder to register for the Ole Man River Half if you have not already.

That’s it from me. Hope you all have a good week!

LRWC Run Group 782, Second Line, and Youth Run NOLA!

We are back and approaching better than ever with photos from run group and weekly events! Apologies for a summer-long hiatus, but we will be getting your gorgeous mugs out there for the world to view in awe every week. Thank you to everybody who attended our barbecue, putting iron chef and grill master Patricio Gavin Sr. to task with burgers and hot dogs. I think I speak for us all in saying he did surprisingly well, especially in his advanced age.

We also want to thank Youth Run Nola for thinking of us to fit your group for shoes on Saturday morning! As always, we were impressed with how attentive and polite the kids were, and hope to see them out at the races in new gear soon!

Finally, don’t forget to come out to the City Park practice track at 6:30 pm every Thursday for a workout followed by some beers at Second Line Brewing for a good time with yours truly (the main draw, of course) and the rest of the group.

As always, thank you for the continued support and look forward to seeing you soon!

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Way Too Early 2018 XC Rankings and Indoor Track Schedule

For your enjoyment, the annual Way Too Early cross country rankings for the next year to get the talk started on who will beat who next fall!  Also, listed below is the next time you can see your favorite high school runners compete with the indoor track schedule for 2018.

 

Girls:

1)  St. Joseph’s Academy

2) Menard

3) Mandeville

4) St. Michael

5) Vandebilt

6) Sacred Heart

7) Dominican

8) Mt. Carmel

9) St. Scholastica

10) ED White

 

Boys:

1) Catholic

2) Airline

3) Episcopal

4) St.  Paul’s

5) Brother Martin

6) Jesuit

7) Mandeville

8) Holy Cross

9) Fontainebleau

10) St. Michael

 

2018 Indoor Track Schedule:

Jan 6th- LSU High School Classic

Jan 13th- McNeese High School I

Jan 20th- LSU High School Qualifier

Jan 27th- McNeese High School II

Feb 3rd- LSU High School Last Chance Qualifier

Feb 17th- LHSAA Indoor Track and Field State Championship

 

Photo courtesy of Tina Lahaye/SJABR.Org

Final Coaches Poll 11/16

Great season everyone! Here are the final coaches poll for this cross country season.  See you all in track!

Girls Composite Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 St. Joseph’s (10) 100
2 Menard 89
3 Mandeville 81
4 St. Michael 66
5 Dominican 57
6 Sacred Heart 43
7 ED White 25
8 Vandebilt 22
9 Mt. Carmel 19
10 St. Thomas Aquinas 16
Others receiving votes:
St. Martin’s, St. Scholastica, Episcopal of Acadiana, Lafayette
Boys Composite Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 Episcopal (6) 95
2 Catholic (4) 94
3 Airline 81
4 Brother Martin 69
5 Holy Cross 58
6 Jesuit 46
7 St. Paul’s 41
8 Belle Chasse 30
9 Parkway 17
10 St. Martin’s 6
Others receiving votes:
Beau Chene, ED White, West Feliciana, Curtis, Erath

2017 Crescent City Fall Classic

Familiar Names, New Faces Shine at Fall Classic

I suppose we’ve returned to the endless summer, although a more logically appropriate conclusion may be that we never left despite a promising week-long cool front. While the “Fall” in the Crescent City Fall Classic was used a bit loosely this year, nearly 1900 participants (1876 to be exact) proved braver than yours truly in taking part in one of the larger and more entertaining short race events New Orleans offers. Rounding into shape after an injury-riddled spring, Patrick Aucoin finished first overall with a time of 15:45, edging out his PMTC teammate, Richard Bouckeart, and the man from Amsterdam (or some other non-New Orleans location), Tyler Cannon. Bouckeart and Cannon finished with times of 15:55 and 16:14, respectively, though they came through the 2-mile mark just behind Aucoin.

On the women’s side, Rachel Paul (two first names always a crowd pleaser), a former Georgetown distance runner and the newest member of the Louisiana Distance Project’s women’s team, crossed first with a time of 17:28. Paul finished eighth overall. Stefanie Slekis and Julie Martin finished with times of 18:11 and 18:59 to round out the women’s top three.

As they often do, the Crescent City Classic group put together an excellent event. The race itself was entertaining from front to back, and the pre and post-race festivities provided Chuck George led entertainment as well as the usual endless supplies of Michelob Ultra, CC’s coffee (is that redundant?), and jambalaya. Youth Run NOLA brought swarms of aspiring runners, continuing their remarkable success in linking the sport to various communities throughout the city, something for which we and the rest of the running community are very grateful.

The next and final Crescent City Classic event of 2017 will be the Celebration in the Oaks 2-Mile Walk/Run on December 9th. If we’re lucky, summer might be over by then. We will be out there and hope to see all five of our readers as well! As always, we appreciate the opportunity to cover these events and give back whatever we can to all who have been so supportive of us. Happy running and see you at the races.

For hundreds of more photos visit our facebook page here.

– Or check out some of our favorite photos from the race below.

Coaches Poll 11/6

Boys Small School Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 Episcopal (10) 100
2 St. Thomas Aquinas 88
3 St. Martin’s 82
4 Menard 70
5 Episcopal of Acadiana 59
6 Cedar Creek 51
7 Ascension Catholic 38
8 Newman 27
9 Runnels 25
10 Lakeside 6
Others receiving votes:
Jehovah-Jireh, Country Day
Boys Large School Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 Catholic (8) 97
2 Brother Martin (2) 85
2 Holy Cross 70
4 St. Paul’s 68
5 Jesuit 49
6 Mandeville 38
7 Belle Chasse 37
8 Airline 29
9 Parkway 27
10 Curtis 14
Others receiving votes:
Fontainbleau, Live Oak, St. Michael’s
Girls Small School Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 Menard (10) 100
2 St. Thomas Aquinas 88
3 Episcopal 77
4 St. Martin’s 62
5 Newman 51
6 Runnels 49
7 Covenant Christian 41
8 McGehee 29
9 Episcopal of Acadiana 24
10 Avoylles Charter 12
Others receiving votes:
Christ Epsicopal, Westminster, Ascension Catholic
Girls Large School Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 St. Joseph’s (10) 100
2 Mandeville 90
3 St. Michael’s 78
4 Vandebilt 67
5 Dominican 65
6 Sacred Heart 45
7 Mt. Carmel 40
8 St. Scholastica 34
9 E.D. White 26
10 Lafayette 13
Others receiving votes:
Belle Chasse, Barbe, University, Cabrini

2017 Jazz Half Marathon

The Chilly Jazz Half Marathon

On a relatively unseasonably Saturday morning (or perhaps a rare instance of seasonably fall weather in New Orleans), 1468 entrants competed in the Jazz Half Marathon and 5K. Ian Carr cruised to a first-place finish with a time of 1:12:56, running even splits while outpacing his nearest competitor by about 5 minutes. Rounding out the men’s top three were Benjamin Maas and Ondrej Blaha, finishing with times of 1:17:58 and 1:20:06, respectively. On the women’s side, Michelle Parks took top honors with a finish of 1:22:33, also good for eighth overall. Meghann Lawson and Grace Thacker followed with times of 1:28:22 and 1:29:18. Thacker narrowly edged out Morgan Evans, finishing just seven seconds behind in 1:29:25. Timothy Divasto, Laura Garcia-Cardona, and Dave Pickett were the top three finishers amongst the 402 5K participants, running times of 19:05, 21:26, and 22:29.

Participants deservedly enjoyed a beer or six in Lafayette Square after traversing the windy course, hopefully making the hour-plus of running slightly less painful and the chilly weather less noticeable for those not covered by hot dog costumes and other spooky Halloween garbs. It usually works for yours truly. As my three readers may have surmised, live jazz music accompanied the post-race festivities, which is always music to the ears (sorry, it had to be done, though I am growing more ashamed of myself by the second).

All in all, it was a nice turnout for an event worth contributing to, as many of the funds the Jazz Half raises goes to Children’s Hospital’s Cancer Program. The race directly benefits the Lanasa-Greco Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. More information can be found on the Jazz Half and Children’s Hospital websites. We include this here to point out that many local races contribute to great causes, and while racing always offers something to those participating, it never hurts to be reminded that runners and walkers are often presented with opportunities to help others through these events.

For hundreds of photos visit our facebook photo album here, for full result click here.

– or check out some of our favorite photos from the race below.

Coaches Poll 10/23

Boys Composite Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 Episcopal (8) 98
2 Catholic (1) 90
3 Brother Martin (1) 81
4 St. Paul’s 61
5 Holy Cross 54
6 Belle Chasse 42
7 Jesuit 27
8 Parkway 26
9 Airline 20
10 St. Thomas Aquinas 19
Others receiving votes:
St. Martin’s, Mandeville, Live Oak, St. Michael, ED White, Curtis
Girls Composite Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 St. Joseph’s (10) 100
2 Mandeville 85
3 Menard 83
4 St. Michael 69
5 Vandebilt 63
6 Dominican 45
7 Sacred Heart 36
8 Mt. Carmel 25
9 St. Scholastica 14
10 St. Thomas Aquinas 13
Others receiving votes:
St. Martin’s, ED White, Episcopal, Newman, Parkway, Lafayette

Photo courtesy of The Advocate

Coaches Poll 10/9

Boys Small School Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 Episcopal (10) 100
2 St. Thomas Aquinas 84
3 St. Martin’s 80
4 Menard 70
5 Episcopal of Acadiana 59
6 Cedar Creek 46
7 Newman 41
8 Ascension Catholic 38
9 Runnels 13
10 Jehovah Jireh 5
Others receiving votes:
Houma Christian, Country Day, Berwick, Hannan, Choudrant, Dunham
Boys Large School Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 Catholic (6) 90
2 Brother Martin (3) 87
2 St. Paul’s 76
4 Holy Cross 74
5 Parkway (1) 60
6 Mandeville 39
7 Belle Chasse 37
8 Jesuit 36
9 Fontainebleau 19
10 Airline 12
Others receiving votes:
ED White, Curtis, St. Michael, Live Oak
Girls Small School Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 Menard (10) 100
2 St. Thomas Aquinas 90
3 Episcopal 78
4 Covenant Christian 67
5 St. Martin’s 63
6 Newman 43
7 Episcopal of Acadiana 42
8 Cedar Creek 16
9 Catholic Point Coupee 12
10 Ascension Catholic 9
Others receiving votes:
McGehee, Westminster, Country Day, Grace Christian
Girls Large School Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 St. Joseph’s (10) 100
2 Mandeville 90
3 St. Michael 75
4 Vandebilt 71
5 Sacred Heart 44
6 Mt. Carmel 43
7 Dominican 39
8 St. Scholastica 26
9 Lafayette 24
10 ED White 13
Others receiving votes:
Fontainbleau, Barbe, Parkway, St. Thomas More, Parkview Baptist, University

Coaches Poll Results 9/25

Boys Composite Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 Catholic (8) 95
2 Episcopal (1) 90
3 St. Paul’s (1) 77
4 Brother Martin 71
5 Holy Cross 46
6 Parkway 42
7 Belle Chasse 34
8 St. Martin’s 31
9 St. Thomas Aquinas 16
10 Mandeville 12
Others receiving votes:
Jesuit, Airline, Fontainebleau, ED White, Erath, Curtis, Menard, Cedar Creek
Girls Composite Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 St. Joseph (10) 100
2 Mandeville 85
3 Menard 82
4 Vandebilt 70
5 St. Michael 59
6 Dominican 34
7 St. Scholastica 30
8 Lafayette 24
9 Sacred Heart 23
10 Mt. Carmel 19
Others receiving votes:
Episcopal, St. Thomas Aquinas, Belle Chasse, Newman, University

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.