When you’ve got a thoroughbred, saddle him up and ride him – especially during Kentucky Derby week.
That’s what the Cecilia Bulldogs did on Wednesday, riding junior sprinter Raymond Calais Jr. to victory in the LHSAA Region II-4A Meet at UL’s Cajun Track.
Calais, who was rested with a tweaked hamstring for three midseason meets, left the opposition behind with wins of 10.79 in the 100 and 21.50 in the 200. Then, with the meet on the line, he was inserted as the second leg of the 4×400 relay and responded with a 49-second quarter to spark a victorious 3:22.87 that held off Breaux Bridge and St. Thomas More.
That also drove Cecilia past Westgate for the team title, 81-77.
“After last week, when Westgate beat us in district, we were low,” coach Brian Ellender said. “Our heads were hanging, and people were saying ‘maybe they don’t have it.’
“But we stayed positive. I told the kids to just have fun, go out and perform and see how many people we could get to state. I preached to them that anything can happen.”
“Getting that (three-meet) rest was great,” Calais said. “I was ready to run fast today. I’m running with a lot of confidence and felt comfortable out here.”
Calais and Ryan Malbrough were 1-3 in the 200 and Ronald Malbrough was third in the 400. In the field, Damien Bernard won the long jump (22-10.75) and was aided by Darrius Gordon (3rd shot put), Tyler Senegal (2nd discus) and Jeremy Wiltz (3rd high jump).
The 4×400 was Jason Stelly, Calais, Ronald Malbrough and Bernard.
“In 2007, we won district and regional,” Ellender said. “I learned from that experience. Now I think I have the knowledge to handle it better. It’s so much fun. We’re going to work hard, then score as many points as we can.”
With Calais on hand, that could be plenty.
Northside’s Christian Miller provided another highlight among numerous area winners with an eye-catching 49-7.75 triple jump.
Plaquemine won the girls meet behind triple winner Adrianna Dupree (12.14 100, 25.53 200, 59.61 400), edging St. Thomas More 87-82.
Senior Hannah Bourque showed the way for the Lady Cougars, winning the 800 in 2:25.83 and the 1600 in 5:17.98. She also teamed with Kirby Roy, Ashton Bourque and Bailey LeBlanc for a winning 4:11.31 in the 4×400 relay.
“I PR’d in the 1600,” Bourque said. “That also broke the school record, and I really wanted it. In the 800, I pretty much ran about what I have all year. I feel I’m peaking at the right time. I really felt it today. I was ready to run all day.”
Bourque and LeBlanc were 1-2 in the 800, while Gabby Deshotels was second in the 1600. Also, Kat Whitman (12:44.60) and Anne LeFleur were 1-2 in the 3200 and Roy and Ashton Breaux were 2-3 in the 400.
“The 4×400 is my favorite,” LSU signee Hannah Bourque said, “because of teamwork. And I have teammates with me in my other races.”
Northside placed third with 73 points, led by winning Claudesha Watson-anchored 4×100 (50.21) and 4×200 (1:45.75) relays, while Rayne’s Tristan Mouton won the 100 hurdles (15.84) and 300 hurdles (47.96).
The top three in each event advance to next Saturday’s State Meet at LSU.