Local indoor track teams ready for state meet


Local indoor track and field teams are gearing up for a run at state titles on Saturday.

The indoor season began in January and will end at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association's state meet, which will be held on Saturday at the Carl Maddox Fieldhouse on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge.

Athletes from seven local schools will compete against some of the best in the state at the meet, which will start with field events at 11 a.m. Saturday and follow with track events at 2:30 p.m.

Several local schools will be represented at the indoor meet, with participants coming from Central Lafourche, H.L. Bourgeois, Assumption, Ellender, Vandebilt Catholic and Thibodaux in the Division I (Classes 5A and 4A) and E.D. White Catholic in Division II (smaller state classifications).

H.L. Bourgeois will have several boys and girls participants competing in various events Saturday.

Representing the Braves' boys team are Michael Flakes in the 55-meter dash and the 800-meter relay team of Flakes, Tylone Johnson, Jordan Starks and Damaris Holmes.

The Lady Braves' state qualifiers were Vanessa Williams in the 55-meter and 400-meter dashes, Raeven Scott in the high jump and the 1,600-meter relay team of Williams, Scott, Brittany Soileau and Mikayla Moss.

Scott enters the state meet as the third-best high jumper in the state at 5 feet, 3 inches, while the 1,600-meter relay team has the fourth-best mark in the state at 4 minutes, 17.45 seconds.

While their goal is to win a state title or make the podium with a Top 3 finish, H.L. Bourgeois coach Joe Riley said participating in indoor track and field will help the athletes get a head start for the outdoor track season, which starts in March.

"I'm just hoping they go out there and compete well," Riley said. "We are in it for the competition, but we also do it to get the work in and get prepared for the outdoor season. If we get a chance with our team to win state championships in certain events, we're going to try our best to do it."

South Lafourche is also sending a large contingent to the indoor meet, consisting of Brandon Brunet in the 1,600-meter run, Devin Blackwell in 55-meter hurdles, Jake Williams in the long jump, Abel Collins in the shot put, Taylor Keller in the pole vault and Alex Bourgeois and Dominick Fillinich in the high jump.

South Lafourche track coach Joey Guidroz said he is hoping a good end to the indoor season will lead to a successful outdoor season for the Tarpons.

"We had seven guys who qualified, and we're expecting good things from them," Guidroz said. "We've been competing hard, and we're going up there with a lot of high expectations."

Thibodaux High will be represented by a large group of athletes at the state meet.

On the boys side, Shyeem Thompson (55-meter dash), Dustin Becnel (pole vault) and Cade Bailey (pole vault) will compete for the Tigers. For the girls, Thibodaux will be led by Joycelynn Daggs in the long jump and triple jump, Joya Tardieff in the 55-meter hurdles, Emily Lee in the shot put, Samasia Coleman in the shot put and the 800-meter relay team of Tardieff, Daggs, Chelise Brown and Macey Young.

Ellender's boys team will have competitors in Brian Verdin in the 400-meter dash, Kevin Lucien in the long jump and the 800- and 1,600-meter relay teams of Verdin, Lucien, Thomas Johnson and Jaharri Gahno.

Verdin won the boys 400-meter dash event with a time of 50.03 seconds at the LSU Last Chance Qualifier meet on Feb. 9, earning the state's fastest indoor time in the event this year.

The Lady Patriots will also have Netikie Johnson in the 55-meter dash and Skyla Verdin in the 800-meter run.

Vandebilt's boys will have Jesse Martin in the long jump and Duncan Prentice in the long and triple jumps, while the Lady Terriers girls will have Alexa Breaux in the 3,200-meter run and Brooke Brunet in the pole vault.

Other local athletes who will compete in the Division I meet are Central Laforuche's Ramon Robertson (boys high jump) and Sara Breakfield (pole vault) and Assumption's Bailey Daigle (pole vault).

In Division II, E.D. White will be represented by Benton Arceneaux in the long and triple jumps, Dannon Steib in the long jump and Michael Melancon in the high jump.