North DeSoto track and field coach Bobby Madison was the first to hold the LHSAA Class 3A boys state runner-up trophy Saturday night in Baton Rouge.
He quickly passed it to his seniors, who then passed it on to the underclassmen.
The Griffins were one of three area boys teams to finish in second place at the state meets, joining Evangel and Huntington.
“That trophy means a lot to us,” Madison said. “The seniors held it for a while, with each one taking individual pictures with it. We told the seniors that they deserved it. They put in the time, the effort, and believed in the system. They believed in the coaches and knew they could accomplish the goal.
“Their legacy will always as be one of the greatest track groups to come through North DeSoto and this area. They created so much tradition for us, and I hope it keeps going.”
North DeSoto got off to a good start, with Tamario Latin placing first by clearing a 6-foot-8 bar in the high jump and Hakim Gray posting a 54-foot-6 throw in the shot put. Christian Boyd won the 110-meter hurdles and placed second in the 300-meter hurdles and helped the Griffins place second in the 4X100-meter relay.
“Everybody did his part, and everyone was focused on the goal,” said Madison, whose team finished with 59.3 points (Jewel Sumner was first with 86.2). “We were expecting Hakim to have a big showing, and Tamario had the fourth-highest jump coming in, but we knew he would compete at the highest level. They helped give us a lead going to the track, and then everything just kept rolling.”
For Evangel, which came in second to John Curtis in the Class 2A meet Friday (169-62), bringing home a runner-up trophy was a long shot. With just nine participants, the Eagles were greatly outnumbered. But Evangel coach Byron Dawson told his nine to focus on making the podium.
They all did.
The Eagles finished second or third in all of their events to secure second place.
“Those are big-time points that add up,” Dawson said. “We’ve had some great teams go to state in the past and not even break the top 10. So I can’t say that I expected to be the runner up. But after the field events, we had a 12-point lead over the third-place team. That’s when I started thinking we had a chance.”
“It’s great to bring the trophy back. It was a great end to a great season. Their focus made me so proud. It was cold and bad conditions, and we weren’t able to warm up inside. But they truly believed that honoring God was important. And there was no way we could have done that on our own, go out and place second with nine guys.”
Huntington took second in the boys Class 4A meet Saturday, with Chance Chambers leading the way with a win in the triple jump.
The 4A meet also featured a tight finish in the boys 3,200-meter run, with Benton’s Drake Heinz winning with a time of 10:02.49. Northwood’s Dylan Oliver came in second in 10:04.77. Heinz finished second in the 1,600-meter run, and Benton’s Kevin Flattmann won the javelin with a throw of 180-foot-11.
In the Class 5A meet, Airline’s boys team nearly gave the Shreveport-Bossier area another runner up. The Vikings finished in third, a single point behind West Jefferson.
Haughton sprinter Micah Larkins won the Class 5A boys’ 100-meter dash in 10.63 seconds to help the Buccaneers finish in a tie for fifth place.