The start of the 2018 track season – as with that of any other sport – is a work in progress, but the coaches for the boys and girls programs at Port Allen High like what they see thus far.
Returning head coach John Williams and fellow veteran track mentor Brian Bizette both believe the Pelicans can fly high in action this season. Both believe the showings at the West Feliciana Invitational on March 6 could mark the sign of good things to come.
“Both boys and girls teams look about how we expect,” Williams said. “It’s very early, but I see a lot of potential, as long as they do what their coaches tell them to do.
Williams is particularly optimistic about freshman Chris Murphy, a second-generation field competitor who follows in the footsteps of his father, Christopher Murphy, who held the pole vault record until 2015. Williams coached both the junior and senior Murphy.
“That young man has a bright, bright future,” Williams said. “Some ninth graders we have to teach a lot of things, but he’s way ahead at this point.”
Murphy will compete as a jumper, but he could also see time on the track, Williams said.
Williams also has high hopes for basketball standout Julian Jarvis on the high jump, as well as Treyvon Scott in throwing events.
“Both are going to do a lot for us this season,” he said.
“For me, it’s just a lot of fun, and I’m still having fun,” Williams said. “When I’m at the track meets, it fuels me.”
Bizette sees a lot of promise for the girls, even with the youth in this year’s program.
He’s particularly upbeat about the throwers, who have put up some strong numbers thus far.
Rekia Leonard went 38-1 in the shot put at WFHS, while Emily Nichols had a 34-4 in the shot put.
“In Class 2A, those are good numbers, and they’re good in 3A and maybe even 5A,” Bizette said.
Nichols also had throw of 101 feet in the javelin, while Destiny Calvey went 95-2 on the discus. Jordyn Mitchell was impressive with a 91-foot throw on the javelin, while sophomore Tiarra Jones chalked an 82-foot throw.
“The thrower strength is definitely there,” Bizette said. “We’re pretty impressive on the field.”
Tallie Collins, who had a 15-2 in the long jump and 34-foot leap on the triple jump, will also make an impact this year. Alyssa Miller could also have a big year, after she opened with a 31-3 on the triple jump.
The Lady Pelicans could finish the season in the Top 3 upon their return to Class 2A action, he said.
He still needs a distance runner, however.
“We’ve always struggled with distance at Port Allen,” Bizette said. “Even though we’re young and we have a lot of experience, we’re going to get better as the season goes along.”
The Pelicans travel to Zachary for competition at the Bronco Relays on Friday.