ESJH Wildcats track & field gets off to the races

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, March 14, 2018

RESERVE — East St. John High track and field coach Percy Williams’ retirement lasted only four years before he was lured back to high school athletics.

Percy Williams

“Working with the kids is something I’ve always loved,” Williams said. “I have a passion for it, and that’s what influenced my decision to come back out of retirement from the school system.”

During the 2017 season, Williams returned to lead eight qualifying boys and girls to a Top 5 ranking at the Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSAA Track and Field State Meet at Louisiana State University.

Hoping to replicate last year’s success, Williams said the 15 girls and 24 boys on the team are fighting to improve individual times across 17 events.

“Our goal is to return to state, and to do that, we want to compete against ourselves,” Williams said. “We work to better our times in sprints, throws, jumps or whatever it may be.”

The season is off to a strong start, according to Williams. The boys and girls who competed in the first three meets are averaging Top 5 among 30 teams.

After competing at West St. John High today, the team will shift focus to a major invitational to be held Friday at home.

The Wildcats have performed well in long jump and triple jump thus far, according to Williams.

Standouts Sterling Davis and Terius Taranto are taking the lead, each averaging 44 feet in the triple jump and 21 feet in the long jump.

Taranto previously competed in triple jump and placed fourth among boys at state.

On the girls end, Iriel Crouch is finding success in sprints, averaging 26.4 seconds in the 200-meter dash and 12.8 seconds in the 100-meter.

Iriel Crouch

An avid runner, Crouch also competes in the 1600-meter run and the 4x200m relay.

Emily Bartholomew stands out in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 51 seconds and teams with Crouch in relay races.

Though only a freshman, Iraneka Marshall is shaping up to be another force in relay runs, according to Williams.

He said avid sports fans should keep an eye on several of the runners, particularly Kendrick Brown, Ken Bolden, Wesley Patterson, Trequan Thomas and Dustin Lack.

This year’s state meet for Class 3A, 4A and 5A kicks off May 5 at Louisiana State University’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium.