Watson, Verdin take home titles at state meet

Ellender's Brian Verdin ended his high-school career by winning the Class 4A state title in the boys 400-meter dash. (Photo by Brent St. Germain/Staff)

BATON ROUGE — Vandebilt Catholic’s Patrick Watson and Ellender’s Brian Verdin each brought home individual Class 4A state titles from Saturday’s Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s state track and field championships.

Watson finished first in the boys pole vault after clearing a personal-best 15 feet. Verdin took home the top prize in the boys 400-meter dash with a winning time of 49.79 seconds.

But each had different reactions after stepping down from atop the winner’s podium at LSU’s Bernie Moore Stadium.

Watson’s emotion was pure elation after accomplishing his season-long goal of winning the boys pole vault and keeping the school’s tradition of finishing strong at state going. He finished third last season.

“I always knew what it felt like to make it to state and to place at state,” Watson said. “This year, I wanted to experience winning it, and I did it.”

Vandebilt pole vaulting coach Kevin Trosclair said Watson worked hard and was ready for a strong showing at the state meet.

“I guess his adrenaline was pumping, and he was ready to go,” Trosclair said. “The conditions were good, and he was ready to go heading into state. I knew he could do it, and since he is a junior, maybe it is something he could do next season.”

Saturday’s win was extra special for Watson, as he followed in his brothers’ footsteps as state pole vault champions. Paul and Chris Watson won state titles during their Vandebilt careers.

“I’m trying to follow in their footsteps, and maybe I can break some of their records,” Patrick Watson said.

Verdin, on the other hand, had mixed feelings after winning the boys 400-meter dash. Verdin finished second in the race to Huntington’s Anthony Taylor, who was disqualified for stepping on the line five times.

“It feels good to finish in the Top 3, but I felt like the guy who was disqualified should have gotten the medal,” said Verdin, who finished third in the event last year. “He had too much of a lead, so in my mind I finished second. It feels good to have a medal around my neck, but I don’t feel like I deserve it.”

Watson and Verdin were not the only Terrebonne Parish athletes to finish in the Top 3 and reach the medal stand.

H.L. Bourgeois’ Vanessa Williams capped off her high-school career with a second-place finish in the Class 5A girls 400-meter dash (56.40). She also finished fifth in the girls 100-meter dash (12.31).

Williams said it’s a special feeling to finish second in her final individual event at the state meet. It was her best individual finish of her career.

“Since it was my last year, I just wanted to come out, do my best and give it all that I got,” she said. “I have no regrets because I was able to finish strong and go out with a bang.”

Also finishing in the Top 3 were Vandebilt’s Alexa Breaux (second in the 3,200-meter run, 11:58.47 and third in the 1,600-meter run, 5:32.05) and Vandebilt’s Brooke Brunet (tied for second in the girls javelin, 11-0), Vandebilt’s Sydney Lerille (second in the girls javelin, 134-10).

Here is how the rest of Terrebonne Parish athletes fared during the state meet. For complete results from the state meet, visit bayoupreps.com.




Other H.L. Bourgeois athletes competing at the state meet were Marlin Bonvillain (fifth in the boys long jump, 22-07), the girls 400-meter relay team of Kiarra Freemin, Mikayla Moss, Stephanie Coleman and Alura Spaulding (seventh, 50.43) and the girls 1,600-meter relay team of Williams, Moss, Brittany Soileau and Raven Scott (eighth, 4:10.52).

In the overall team standings, the Braves finished tied for 33rd with two points, and the Lady Braves were tied for 22nd with 10 points.



Terrebonne athletes competing at the state meet were Jeremiah Thomas (fourth in the boys discus, 158-11), Julian Maze (fourth in the boys triple jump, 46-0) and George Jackson (sixth in the boys high jump, 6-04).

In the overall team standings, the Tigers finished 16th with nine points.




Also competing at the state meet for Ellender were Kevin Lucien (fourth in the boys long jump, 23-01), Kyler Trosclair (fifth in the girls javelin, 111-0), Netike Johnson (seventh in the girls 400-meter dash, 1:02.94) and the boys 1,600-relay team of Lucien, Jaharri Gahno, Jarred Turner and Verdin (eighth, 3:31.16).

In the team overall standings, the Patriots finished tied for 14th with 14 points, and the Lady Patriots were tied for 30th with two points.



South Terrebonne athletes competing at the state meet were Julia LeBlanc (fourth in the girls javelin, 111-06), Jaycie Jones (fourth in the girls triple jump, 34-08.5), Joanna Kreamer (seventh in the girls shot put, 32-08), Dariane Dardar (eighth in the girls 1,600-meter run, 6:33.61) Amber Sawaskie (eighth in the girls 100-meter hurdles, 17.84) and Adam Ziepke (fifth in the boys shot put, 48-10.5 and ninth in the boys discus 154-01).

In the team overall standings, the Gators were tied for 33rd with two points, and the Lady Gators finished tied for 20th with eight points.



Other Vandebilt athletes competing at the state meet were Duncan Prentice (seventh in the boys long jump, 21-10.75) and Jenna Cheramie (ninth in the girls 800-meter run, 2:34.26).

In the team overall standings, the Terriers finished tied for 20th with 10 points, and the Lady Terriers were tied for fifth with 29 points.