The bar raised to seven feet as senior Cameron Rice eased back into lane 3 of the track at Haughton High on Thursday, taking aim at the bar in front of him.
He’d seen seven feet once since his sophomore season, but he didn’t expect to see it so soon this season.
Rice, who missed the state indoor championships and all of March in the outdoor season with a pulled hamstring, was competing in his third meet since the injury, and the high jump was his third event of the day in rapid fire.
His first attempt hit the bar. As he sailed over the bar on his second attempt, he barely clipped the bar to knock it down.
An exhausted Rice, competing in all three jumping events for the first time this outdoor season, didn’t come close in his third attempt. But as Rice continues to round into his top form, his explosion has returned as he brushes up on technique in all three events.
“When I first got over to (the high jump), the bar was already at (6-foot-8),” Rice said. “My legs were shot by the triple and long jump.
“I didn’t think I was going to clear (6-foot-8), but it’s a mind game. You can’t be worried about the bar height, and I just zoned in … But when it went up to seven feet – oooh it was high. The back of my leg just got it on the second jump.”
Rice’s 6-foot-10 jump tied his personal record and the best mark in the state this season.
He swept the three jumping events Thursday, jumping 46-feet, 9 inches in the triple jump and a personal best 23 feet in the long jump to take field MVP honors in all three meets in which he’s competed.
“He didn’t even get a chance to warm up for high jump because he was really focusing on getting a good triple jump in,” said Airline jumps coach Scott Reeder. “So I think he’s about full speed now, and he’s ahead of where I thought he would be because he missed six weeks.
“He has a lot of speed and explosiveness for his size. But he hasn’t fully turned it on yet, and we’ll do that with district and regionals coming up.”
Rice is familiar with competing when he’s not 100 percent healthy. He ended an injury-plagued junior season (thigh and heel injury) with a state triple jump title after placing second in high jump as a sophmore.
He says he’s “80 to 85 percent” now, and he’s aiming for state titles in all three jumping events in his last state championships before he participates in Northwestern State’s program at the next level.
“It feels good getting back in the pace I was in,” Rice said. “I’ve had to work my way back into the events.
“Over the next three weeks, I will do more weightlifting. “I need to get legs stronger because I haven’t done much of that lately. I also want to work on my landing in the long and triple jumps in the pits. I’m trying to get all three titles.”
Rice isn’t the only Airline jumper racking up field MVP honors.
Scott Reeder says he can’t remember the last time Jasmyn Carswell, who signed to play basketball at McNeese State, didn’t win the award.
Carswell won the honor again Thursday with a first-place high jump (37-feet, 4 inches), a second-place long jump (16-feet, 3.5 inches) and tied a personal best of 5-feet, 2 inches to finish fourth in the high jump.
“Her strength is the triple jump, and it’s already about to where it was last year,” Reeder said. “We want to get above 38 feet in the next two weeks. She’s has really good technique.”
Shreve boys, Byrd girls take Gator Relays
The Captain Shreve boys and Byrd girls won team titles at the Gator Relays on Thursday.
The Gators (176 points) and the Lady Yellow Jackets (172 points) won by comfortable margins.
Shreve didn’t pile up event wins, but Jordan King led a deep Gators’ squad with wins in the 400 (52.65) and as part of the 4X400 team (3:27.75) with Grant Ingram, Solomon Layton and Tarieek Anderson.
North Desoto (116), Fair Park (83) and Byrd (59) round out the top four teams.
The Lady Jackets were led by Caroline Campbell and Morgan White, who were each part of four first-place finishes, including both being members of the 4X200 team (1:43.80) with Kyah Lod and Chelsey Walker.
Campbell won the 100 hurdles (14.63), the 300 hurdles (47.59) and a part of the 4X400 team (4:08.41) with Loyd, Walker and Ja’Nesha Strong.
Morgan White took the 200 (25.69), the long jump (18-feet, 5 inches) and part of the 4X100 team (48.97) that included Loyd, Walker and Keira Getter.
Shreve (124), North DeSoto (101) and BTW (60.5) round out the top four teams.
On the boys side, other winners include BTW’s 4X200 team of Cody Griffin, DeAndre Washington, Dimitri Reliford and Carl Morgan; Byrd’s Daniel Tanner (1600 and 3200); North DeSoto’s Christian Boyd (110 hurdles and 300 hurdles); North DeSoto’s Tyler Smith (100); North Caddo’s Olandis Johnson (800); North DeSoto’s 4X100 team of Smith, Aapo Alenius, Malik Walker and Donald Rowlins; BTW’s Morgan (200); Shreve’s Savarra Thomas (high jump); Shreve’s Vencent Gonzales (pole vault); North Caddo’s Lagarion Taylor (long jump); North DeSoto’s Tim Howard (triple jump); Shreve’s Jaylin Huey (discus); Shreve’s Donovon Banks (javelin) and Fair Park’s Andriquez Barnum (shot put).
On the girls side, other winners include Shreve’s Samantha Hilburn (1600 and 3200); Byrd’s Loyd (100); Byrd’s Strong (800); BTW’s Destiny Jones (400); North DeSoto’s Jessica Trammel(high jump and triple jump); Shreve’s Regan Aple (pole vault); Fair Park’s Savannah Thomas (discus); North DeSoto’s Mallory McMonthy (javelin) and Byrd’s Antoinette Van (shot put).
Haughton Invitational winners
The Ruston girls and boys swept the Haughton Invitational titles Thursday, and here’s a list of local winners that wasn’t mentioned in Friday’s article.
Other boys winners include Airline’s Jack Wilkes (400); Benton’s Drake Heinz (1600); Parkway’s Hayden Kingfisher (3200); Haughton’s Josh Lister (110 hurdles); Parkway’s Juwon Johnson (300 hurdles); Parkway’s 4X100 team 4X200 team and 4X400 team; Ruston’s Keon Johnson (shot put); Ruston’s Tyler Rivers (discus) and Haynesville’s KeAndre Harris (javelin).
Other girls winners include Natchitoches Central’s Cara Colby (800); Parkway’s Cassidy Cummings (1600); Lakeside’s Alissa Lander (3200); Ruston’s Keke Wright (100 hurdles); Ruston’s Zanecia Jackson (300 hurdles); Central’s 4X400 relay; Ruston’s Courtney Goldsmith (high jump); Plain Dealing’s Teunna Perry (long jump); Doyline’s Shelby Waln (shot put) and Ruston’s Breanna Cooper (discus).
Huntington boys, girls second at Northside
The Huntington boys and girls track team each placed second in the Viking Relays at Northside in Lafayette.
The girls (114 points) fell four points shy of Lafayette (118 points). The Westgate boys (141 points) had a healthy lead on the field (Huntington had 86 points).
The Huntington girls didn’t win a single event, but the Lady Raiders placed second in seven events to form their power base.
Huntington boys winners include Claude Clark (100 meter) and the 4X400 relay team.