The Port Allen High girls track team set out at the start of the season to build itself back to the heights it enjoyed between the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The Lady Pelicans fulfilled the early season goal with the best showing in eight years when the team tied with Catholic-New Iberia for third place at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class 2A girls state championship meet May 4 at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
The Lady Pelicans and Catholic-New Iberia each scored 50 points, not far behind state champion St. Katharine Drexel (74) and Episcopal (63). Menard, Newman, St. Thomas Aquinas, MLK Charter, Patrick Taylor and Louis McGehee rounded the Top 10. St. Helena Central and The Church Academy – who compete with PAHS in District 8-2A – placed 11th and 12th.
It marked Port Allen’s best showing in the state competition since the runner-up finishes in 2008 and 2009 when the program was led by future collegiate standouts Siedda Herbert and Rhecie Lee.
Head coach Brian Bizette figured this year’s third-place finish on paper prior to the event, but he said the right moves at the right times could have helped the Lady Pels nudge higher.
“We had our opportunities, but I can’t complain – we’d have had to have a perfect showing across the board,” Bizette said. “This year was a big boost compared to what we’ve done in the past, and the good news is that we get nearly all of them back.
“We had a great year, and I’m not disappointed one bit,” he said. “Third place in the state is a great accomplishment, and Port Allen has had a reputation for being in the hunt every year in the state meet, so this continued the tradition.”
Senior Attylaka Follin brought home the award for Outstanding Field Performer at the meet. She placed first in the triple jump and (36-02.75) and sixth in the high jump (4-10).
Follin also anchored the 4-by-100 relay team which brought home the blue ribbon, along with Allyssa Miller, Kristian Wicker, and Termesia Moore.
Emily Nichols and Rickia Lenoir also sparkled for PAHS. Nichols took first in the discus throw (34-45) and second in the shot put (36-04), just behind Lenoir (36-07).