Two of the area’s strongest teams continued to roll Friday as Haughton’s boys and Captain Shreve’s girls won district titles at the 2016 District 1-5A Track and Field Championships, hosted by the Gators at Lee Hedges Stadium.
Individually, athletes from Haughton, Parkway, Byrd, and Evangel came away with MVP medals, while Haughton’s Jason Brotherton (boys) and Shreve’s Marita Hunt (girls) were named district Coaches of the Year.
Haughton took the boys title with 142 points, followed closely by Airline with 128 in second. Parkway finished third with 97 points and Evangel placed fourth with 76.
This was the fourth straight meet that Shreve’s girls have won this season, racking up 129 points to edge Parkway with 115 ½. Airline was a close third with 110 points and Byrd finished fourth with 92 ½.
This is the third consecutive district title for Haughton and the second in a row for Shreve.
“Our team did well as a whole,” said Haughton’s Kyle Wilkerson, who is transitioning into the coach’s role as Brotherton moves to football. “We have good depth on our team, and we got a lot of points even when we didn’t win some of the events. Any type of points you can get in a track meet like this is beneficial.”
Hunt’s team had to rally to take the title, but the Lady Gators’ depth prevailed in the end.
“Like I said last week, if we do what we’re supposed to do, it will be an easy win,” said Hunt, who also played a major role in coordinating the event. “Unfortunately, we had a few hiccups (Friday), but we were able to overcome that and finish strong. We’ll use this experience to get ready for regionals.
Individually for the boys, Parkway sprinter Darius Bradford was named track MVP after winning the 200 meters and placing fourth in the 100. He was also a member of the third-place 4×100 relay team and the runner-up 4×200 team. Haughton’s Antonio Woodfork and Evangel’s Jeremiah Houston were named field co-MVPs. Woodfork won the high jump, long jump, and 300 hurdles and placed second in the 110 hurdles. Houston won both the shot put and the discus.
“Coach (Byron) Dawson stays on us to be out on the track every day and get better, said Houston, a senior who will be attending Southern next year. “With his help, hard work, and God’s grace, I was able to do my best (Friday).”
Meanwhile, on the girls side, Byrd’s Kyah Loyd and Parkway’s Sara Funderburk continue to excel, taking home track co-MVP honors. Haughton’s Inez Green was named field MVP after winning both the shot put and discus.
Loyd, who is ranked either first or second in the state in three events, set a personal best in the 100 with a clocking of 11.89 seconds. She also won the 200 and 100 meter hurdles and was a member of the winning 4×100 relay team.
Funderburk, who will be attending LSU this fall, won the 800, 1,600, and 3,200, and was a member of the victorious 4×400 relay team.
Other district champions for boys were Josh Lister (Haughton, 100), Patrick Jones (Evangel, 400), Solomon Layton (Shreve, 800), Seth Papineau (Airline, 1600 and 3200), Xavier Johnson (Airline, 110 hurdles and triple jump), David Leitnaker (Haughton, pole vault), Tyler McCallister (Airline, javelin), Haughton’s 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams, and Evangel’s 4×400 relay team.
Other girls district champs were Brittany Roberson (Airline, 400), Kennedy Gerard (Shreve, 300 hurdles), Jasmine Roberson (Airline, high jump), Caitlin Tibbits (Haughton, pole vault), Naterria Davis (Byrd, long jump), Kariah Sisk (Shreve, triple jump) Breanna Allen (Shreve, javelin), Byrd’s 4×100 relay team, Airline’s 4×200 relay team, and Parkway’s 4×400 relay team.
Nearly 150 athletes from the seven district schools competed under perfect conditions, with the top four finishers in each event qualifying for next week’s regionals in Natchitoches.