Port Allen didn’t bring home the state championship for boys or girls, but strong finishes gave the track coaches an idea where the program is headed.
The girls placed fourth and the boys took fifth Saturday in Class 3A action at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Outdoor Track & Field Meet at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
The girls tallied 27 points for fourth place. The boys posted 34 for fifth.
District 7-3A rival Donaldsonville scored 58 points to take first place. Abbeville claimed runner-up (48) and Eleanor McMain took fourth (40).
Rounding out the Top 10 were Xavier Prep (26) Westlake and Baker (tied with 24 apiece), North Vermillion (23), E.D. White (21 ½) and Parkview Baptist and Loyola Prep (tied with 20).
Longtime powerhouse Jewel Sumner tallied 86 points for a runaway win in the boys division. Runner-up North DeSoto trailed with 59, Lusher Charter claimed third (41) and Erath grabbed fourth (35).
Rounding out the Top 10 were West Feliciana (28), Crowley (27), Brusly (22) and Franklin and Buckeye (tied with 20).
GIRLS – Senior Rhecie Lee took runner-up in two events to wrap up her high school career for Port Allen.
Lee grabbed second in the long jump with a leap of 16-11, ahead of teammate Kyesha Thomas, who placed fifth (16-7 ¼). Jade Hayes of Parkview Baptist edged out Lee for the top spot (16-11 ½).
Lee also claimed the runner-up spot in the High jump (5-0), just behind Katie Richard of Iowa (5-4).
Destiny Washington placed third for the Lady Pelicans in the shot put (32-4 ¾).
“We could’ve done better,” Port Allen girls coach Brian Bizette said. We had some letdowns, and that’s a part of it, but I still think we did well this season.
“Last year, I took only one girl for two events (Rhecie Lee),” he said. “This year, we took a group.”
The 2013 meet marked the best showing since the Lady Pelicans claimed runner-up in 2008.
“It’s been down as far as participation the last few years, but I believe it’s turning the corners,” Bizette said. “I have a good foundation in place, but we need a few more girls to commit to training with us.”
Ka’Lynn Jupiter made the difference for Donaldsonville in the championship race. She captured first in the triple jump, 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles.
BOYS – Field events played the biggest part in Port Allen’s finish.
Texas A&M football signee Darian Claiborne wrapped his high school career with a second place finish on the javelin (180-0) and third in the shot put (52-11 ¼).
Nic Parker notched third in the triple jump (43-11 ¼) and 110-meter hurdles (15.08). Teammate Jarius Turner placed fifth (43-5 ½).
Senior Nelson Allen, who holds the record in the pole vault at PAHS, had a leap of 12-6 for third.
The Pelicans finished in the top 10 last year and Top 5 this year. Coach Leonard Parker hopes his team can continue its upward mobility.
“We were trying to get in to that top one-two spot, especially when we had two seniors to lead that program,” he said. “What hurt us is that we got zero points in five of our eleven events.
“We’ve got to coach endurance, throwing and pole vault,” Parker said.
“We’ve got to go out and coach – and that’s something I’m not scared to do. Give me a kid with a good attitude who’s ready to work, and I’m ready.”