Lutcher track out to build on recent success

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 28, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / April 28, 1999

LUTCHER – The members of the Lutcher boys’ track team have not received their patches yet for winning the District 10-3A title. They are waiting toadd the words “Regional Champion” and “State Champion” to them.

There has already been a wait for those patches. While the baseball,softball, tennis and golf teams have been adding hardware to the school’s trophy case in recent years, the track team has been experiencing a drought. There have been individual regional and state qualifiers over theyears but there had not been a team district champion for at least 15 years.

But a new coach and an up-and-coming team with a good mix of young talent and senior leadership changed that this year. The team went to theDistrict 10-3A Meet last Wednesday and came back with the title, defeating E.D. White, 123-102.”I thought we had a chance,” Lutcher coach Chris Barrient said of the district title. “I knew E.D. White was a threat.”When he took over as head track coach this year, Barrient knew that the best track teams had strength in numbers so he went to area coaches to get advice on how to do that.

“They told me show the kids you care and they will come out,” Barrient said.

Barrient wanted to get two competitors in each event, knowing that it is often the teams that have a number of second and third place finishers that come out on top.

To keep the numbers up, Barrient tried different things to keep practices interesting, even having the players play basketball at the beginning of the year to get their work in. The team also competed in the state indoor meetfor the first time in a while.

The work paid off as the Bulldogs continued to improve as the season wore on. And at the Tip-Off Classic at Donaldsonville, it became apparent thatthe Bulldogs would be in the hunt for the district title.

“I knew we had potential,” Barrient said. “I thought this was the best yearwe could do it.”At the district meet, Lutcher stayed within two points of E.D. Whitethrough the field events. The Bulldogs got first place finshes from T.J.Ricks in the javelin (188 feet, five inches) and Clarence Weber in the triple jump (42-4 3/4).

The Bulldogs also got a second place from Michael Sanders in the shot put (43-3); and third place finishes from William Adams in the javelin (168- 9), David Pittman in the triple jump (40-4), Donnie Francois in the high jump (5-10) and Jermelle Cage in the discus (131-1).

Lutcher pulled away in the track events. Kenneth Johnson was named thetrack MVP after taking the 100 meters (11.13 seconds) and the 200(22.25). Devin Gavin took first in the 1600 meters (5:06.82) while RicardoWilliams was first in the hurdles (15.29). The Bulldogs 800- and 400-meter relay teams also placed first in times of 1:29.79 and 43.96, respectively and was second in the 1600 (3:32.70).The Bulldogs also got a second place finish from Quovadis Ezidore in the 400 meters (51.26) and third places from Jerron Wisholm in the hurdles(15.75), Dameium Marcell in the 800 (2:10.34), Pittman in the 400 (52.14)and Rick Bleakley in the 200 (22.78). For Johnson, it was his first district championship. He pointed out thatthe team has come togther to help each other out.

“I think we have more leaders on the team,” Johnson said. “More peoplewant to do better and get involved in track.”Those leaders include a senior class of Bleakley, Shane Duhe, Summers, Marcel, Kelsey Belvin and Andy Tramonte, who along with Johnson and Ricks were among the number of players on the track team that were also on the football team that reached the semifinals this past season. Thatsuccess along with the success of the other sports at the school was a motivating factor for the track members this year.

“It was one of the things that motivated us to do better,” Ricks said. “Tothink that one of the sports we played was not as good as the other sports, it kind of motivated us. The thing that would completely wipe that outwould be a state championship.”Before taking that step, the Bulldogs will compete in the Region III Meet at Donaldsonville. Lutcher has qualified 15 individuals and three relays forthe meet.

With teams like Port Allen and Brusly in the field, Barrient knows it’s not going to be an easy task.

“The talent level is tripled,” Barrient said. “I think our chances are goodif we run and throw to our ability. It’s going to be tough but I like ourchances.”

Return To Sports Stories

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

Internet services provided by NeoSoft.

Best viewed with 3.0 or higher