University High coach Aaron Ernest said he had no idea whether the school had won a boys indoor track title before.
The Cubs did, winning a Division II title at the LHSAA indoor state track meet Saturday at LSU’s Carl Maddox Field House. And they did it without winning any individual events.
“We made indoor track a point of emphasis, and it showed,” Ernest said. “We were projected to get second or third. We did just about everything well. It took all of that.”
U-High compiled 62 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Lake Charles College Prep at 36.
Distance runner John Hall Hays was second to The Dunham School’s John Walker McDonald in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. Adan Stagg was the triple jump runner-up and Austin Ausberry was third in the 60-meter hurdles.
Catholic and St. Joseph’s Academy were runner-up finishers in Division I to Ruston, while the Episcopal girls were the Division II runner-up to St. Louis Catholic for the second straight year.
The Division I boys title came down to the final event, the 4×400 relay. Catholic High edged favorite Ruston in that race. But the Bearcats edged Catholic by one point, 59 to 58 for team title.
“I feel bad for the guys because this was such a close meet,” Catholic coach Rodney Brown said. “We did everything we could do. We had an outstanding number of PRs and had a chance.”
Ruston scored 79 points to win its girls title. But St. Joseph’s Academy took second with 57 points, just three points ahead of Scotlandville.
“Championship teams bring a certain kind of feel and energy to meets. I saw that in this group today,” St. Joseph’s coach Charlie Daigle said as he picked up the silver trophy. “This means as much as any title.”
The Episcopal girls got off to a great start with Alana Simon and Francie Oliver finishing first and second in the high jump. But St. Louis quickly overtook the field and finished with the day’s highest point total — 111. Episcopal had 65.
“We scored in almost every area,” Episcopal girls coach Bill Jones said. “We had lots of PRs, and now we are looking forward to what we can do outdoors.”
Dutchtown sprinter Ariane Linton and Scotlandville’s sprinter/hurdler Makeriah Harrish provided key highlights. Linton, an Arkansas signee, won the 60 meters in 7.54 seconds. Harris won the 60 hurdles in 8.60 seconds in the 400 in 56.63.
“This is my last indoor high school meet, which is crazy,” Linton said. “I was pleased with my start because I got out of the blocks a lot faster. My best is 7.53, so to run 7.54 twice on the same day is very good.”
Scotlandville’s Broderick Davis made it a hurdles sweep by winning the Division I boys hurdles in 8.00 seconds, edging Justin Horne of John Curtis by .08 of a second.
“I knew I had to get myself mentally prepared,” Davis said. “I had to make sure everything was perfect in order to win the race and it happened.”
Ruston’s Brandon Green posted the nation’s best mark in the boys triple jump with a leap of 56 feet, 1¼ inches, setting meet and field house records in the process.
The girls triple jump also was a record-setter as Central Lafourche’s Ke’yona Gabriel posted a record mark of 40-6 ¾, which ranks fifth nationally.
Catholic High’s Grant Griffin finished first in the shot put in all four local indoor meets this season. His winning throw of 55-1 was more than three feet better than the No. 2 competitor.