Calvary sophomore Hailey Hesterman could feel the Class 2A state championship track and field meet approaching.
Hesterman, who will compete in the 1,600-, 800-, and 3,200-meter runs Friday in Baton Rouge, normally feels nerves in the few hours before a meet.
But the days leading up to the state meet are different.
“I’ve been nervous the whole week,” Hesterman said. “But after that first race, all of my anxiety goes away. It’s just fun at that point. I feel a little bit of pressure this year. I don’t really have much competition in the mile this year, but my competition is the clock. I really want to break 5 minutes in the 1,600.”
Hesterman is one of many area Class 1A and 2A athletes running, jumping and throwing at LSU’s Bernie Moore Stadium today. As a freshman, Hesterman swept her three events. She hopes to repeat the feat Friday.
“I was surprised to win all three last year,” said Hesterman, who has the fastest 2A qualifying times in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs and the second fastest in the 800. “The 800 was the one that surprised me the most. I didn’t see that coming. I fell on the ground and cried. I was so happy. Last year at state, I felt incredible the whole time.”
This year, the 800 should be Hesterman’s closest race again. Menard’s Hannah Deworth has the fastest qualifying time with a 2:22.68, just .31 ahead of Hesterman.
“(Deworth) beat me my eighth-grade year,” Hesterman said. “I’m a tiny bit behind in the 800, probably because we haven’t run in as many meets. My mile and two mile are right on track, but I’m a little nervous about the 800.”
Evangel, Haynesville, Plain Dealing, North Webster, North Caddo, Booker T. Washington, Cedar Creek and Plain Dealing can also have a strong showing in Baton Rouge.
Plain Dealing’s Dennisha Chambers will compete in the long jump and triple jump as well as the 4×200-meter relay and 200-meter dash.
Sprinter Chris Lewis and distance runner Enrique Soto will lead a strong Lakeside team.
Evangel’s Austin Gilcrease will battle North Caddo’s Alton Clay in the 2A discus throw (they have the top two qualifying distances), and Evangel’s Nigel Fagbeyiro will try to win the high and triple jumps.