Wildcat boys off to fast start in track

Published 11:45 pm Friday, March 15, 2013

RESERVE – A year after capturing the District 8-5A track and field crown – and the first boys district championship in nearly a decade – the East St. John boys have set their sights higher in 2013.
“We’re returning a good group this year,” said ESJ boys track and field coach Greg Gathers. “A big goal of ours is to repeat as district champions, of course. But beyond that, we’d like to go win some races at regionals … if we can get all of our relays qualified and a couple of individual guys, we can maybe make some noise at state.
“But first thing’s first, and that’s to bring another district championship back to East St. John.”
The Wildcats are off to a strong start this year. The team finished first at West Jefferson’s relay-only meet to start the season. Then last week, both the Wildcat boys and girls finished in first place at the Wildcat Relays track and field meet at Destrehan.
“We had an idea of what we had coming back, so we competed in indoor track and field this year and had some success,” said Gathers. “Last year was kind of a feeling out process of finding out where we stand and how we stack up against the competition.
“This year, we’ve established our identity already. Now we’re looking to see what we can do on a regional level.”
Among those highlighting the team is Leonard Davis, the school’s well-known football star and Tulane signee in that sport. Davis is the team’s top runner in the 400 and a big part of the 4×400 and 4×200 relay teams.
Jevaughn Albert has started to garner some attention from schools at the next level: he stands out in the 800 and both the 100 and 300 meter hurdles. He also competes in the 4×400 relay.
Donald Stirgus qualified for the state meet in the 1600 last year and runs in the 800 meter and 4×400 relay.
Daren Darensbourg, Darius Lipps and Troy Gerard have been strong “utility guys” said Gathers, who have been able to contribute in multiple events to help the team. Kadeem Vance stands out in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles.
And the team recently got Elex Carter back in action – Carter qualified for state in the triple jump last year. Xavier Lewis and Andrew Weber have also emerged as factors in the field in the javelin and discus respectively.
“We’ve got a lot of depth, and a lot of young guys able to step up when called upon,” said Gathers.
“We had 10 kids qualify for regionals last year, and we hope to build on that,” said Gathers.  
“Four or five of our seniors have a chance to garner interest on the college level, so we’re looking to showcase them.”