BATON ROUGE – State championship meets always bring a share of surprises – and sometimes a dose of disappointment.
In the case of the Port Allen girls track team, the Class 2A state meet Friday at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium proved to be a mixed bag for the Lady Pelicans.
PAHS finished among the top five in the state, but only three points separated the team from the third-place spot.
Port Allen scored 36 points, just one shy of fourth place St. Thomas Aquinas of Hammond and three behind Delcambre.
Episcopal successfully defended the title it won last year with a 63-point finish, while New Orleans-based Katherine Drexel notched a strong runner-up showing with 56 points. Holy Savior Menard, Patrick Taylor, Ferriday, Delhi Charter and Amite rounded out the top 10.
“St. Katherine was favored to win it all, then us and Episcopal, but our loss in the 4x4 at regionals hurt,” Port Allen head coach Brian Bizette said. “I’m not totally disappointed, but we should have brought our best performance with us.”
Much of Port Allen’s momentum came from seniors Emily Nichols and Rekia Lenoir, who dominated the throwing competition on the district and state level the last three years.
Nichols – who committed Monday to Stanford University on an academic scholarship – placed first in the shot put event with a throw of 38.01-75, barely nudging out Lenoir (who also has a few collegiate offers on the table) with a second-place showing of 36-0.
Nichols also notched second in the discus throw (35-5) and Lenoir placed sixth (29.85).
“Between Emily and Rekia, we have some big shoes to fill,” Bizette said. “We’ve got some young kids who are growing and maturing, and we may be down for a year, but we’ll be back soon enough.
“I’ll miss those two girls because they’ve been with us for four years, and I’ll miss the camaraderie they’ve had had the meets,” he said. “But we’re still very much in the game.”
The Lady Pelicans also notched a fourth-place showing in the 4x200-meter relay. The team consisted of Jasmine Butler, Alyssa Miller, Tremesia Moore and Kristian Wicker.