After helping Lafayette High to a sixth-place finish, Rebekah Markel has been named The Daily Advertiser’s Most Outstanding women’s track performer for big schools.
Joining her on the team are her coach at Lafayette Ron Baillargeon as the Coach of the Year and Hannah Bourque as the Most Outstanding Track Performer.
Markel won a state championship in pole vault after dominating the season in the event, but was still disappointed in her ultimate performance.
“I was upset I couldn’t get the height that I wanted,” Markel said. “But it was nice to win a state championship and get recognized with this.”
Markel also finished sixth overall in the triple jump, but will go to Tulane later this summer as a pole vaulter.
Markel said during the season her run-up was off, and one of the reasons she eventually choose Tulane was because of the prestigious pole vaulting coach who could help her correct the problem.
“He’s probably one of the best coaches in the nation at pole vaulting,” Baillargeon said. “He’ll definitely be able to help (Markel) through her college career.”
Baillargeon said one of the challenges as a track and field coach is trying to get the athletes to peak at just the right time during the season.
“You have to pace how the training goes to try and get them to peak at the right time,” Baillargeon said. “Throughout the season you can go through a couple of different peaks and valleys.”
Markel said one of the things Baillargeon did to help prepare her for the state championship meet was place her in big meets throughout the season to help her with the crowd.
“We went to a couple of different places that helped get me ready for that,” Markel said. “When I went for my last jump I could hear the crowd and I felt like (fellow Lafayette High pole vaulter Armand Duplantis) Mondo, it was pretty fun.”
Markel said one of the unique things about pole vaulting is that the athletes are able to bond more than they are able to in other events.
With all the down time between jumps, the athletes become friends.
“I tell other people all the time that I’m going to hang out with my track friends and they have no idea what I’m talking about,” Markel said. “It’s one of the special things about that event.”
Bourque earned her honor after an incredible season’s worth of work saw her finish her season with three different top-three finishes at the state meet.
For Bourque, it won’t be the last time she competes at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium, as the St. Thomas More product signed a scholarship to run for the Tigers.
The future Tiger finished second in the 1600, fourth in the 800 and ran the second leg of the Cougars second place 4×400-meter relay team.
Bourque’s contributions helped the Cougars to a sixth place finish in the state meet, finishing behind Vandebilt Catholic, Northside, Plaquemine, St. Scholastica and Edna Karr, respectively.