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May 5, 2005

La. School for the Deaf, Jehovah-Jireh highlight Class C track

From: 2TheAdvocate - Baton Rouge,LA,USA - May 5, 2005

Advocate sportswriter

Louisiana School for the Deaf coach Chip Stirling and Jehovah-Jireh coach Johnny Colbert aren't about to take anything for granted.

If things go as expected, there's a chance that today's competition at the State Farm/Louisiana High School Athletic Association's Track and Field Championships could look a whole lot like the Class C, Region 3 meet held last week.

"I really feel like we still have room to improve and that's a good thing," LSD's Stirling said. "We know we qualified well, but we're taking a low-key approach.

"Last week, we had some pleasant surprises and did well. If the same thing happens, this week we'll be fine."

The Eagles and Warriors figure to be the favorites in the Class C boys division on the first day of the annual three-day track meet set for LSU's Bernie Moore Track Stadium. LSD and Fairview are the pre-meet favorites in the Class C girls division.

Teams in Classes B and C will compete today with field events starting at 12:15 p.m. Running events begin at 5 p.m.

The meet continues with competition in Classes 1A and 2A on Friday and Classes 3A, 4A and 5A on Saturday.

LSD qualified competitors in 16 of the 18 events in the boys division. Although Jehovah-Jireh's entries are limited strictly to the 11 track events, Colbert is optimistic. JJCA was the Class C runner-up last year.

"We're going out there looking to do something tomorrow," Colbert said. "I think LSD is the favorite. But if we can get some help from other teams, hopefully we'll be in it, too."

Last week LSD and Jehovah-Jireh dominated the Region 3 meet held at LSD. The Eagles won the meet with 198 points, while JJCA was second at 111. On the girls side, LSD finished with 175 points with Singer placing second at 110.

"We're still a relatively young team, but we have experience," Stirling said. "We've competed in big meets with larger schools this year and most of these kids were at state last year. We're hoping that experience helps us."

Of course, qualifying people in every event except the 400 meters and 1,600 relay shouldn't hurt LSD, either.

The Eagles are led by Terrell Summers and James Davis. Summers has the top entry marks in the long jump (22-7 3/4), triple jump (44-8) and 110 hurdles (15.80 seconds).

James Davis has the top marks in the pole vault (11-6), 1,600 meters (5:02.80), 800 (2:07.90) and the 3,200 (11:53.80).

Jehovah-Jireh's base of strength is the relays. The Warriors actually qualified two relay teams for both the 800 and 1,600 relays. JJCA has won the 1,600 relay the last four years.

"The 1,600 relay is a point of pride for us because we've won it so many times," Colbert said. "The relays will be big for us. We're also looking to score some points in places where we haven't before, like in the 400 and 800."

JJCA's JaJuan Davis is seeded second in the 400. The Warriors' Joshua Stewart is second to LSD's James Davis in the 800.

Stirling called the Class C girls race a potential "barn-burner." Candace Frank is one key competitor for the Eagles. Frank is seeded first in the shot put (38-0) and discus (106-4) and is fourth in the javelin.

Ana Shelton (triple jump, 33-4) and Ashunta Gullage (100 hurdles, 17.50) also have top entry marks. LSD qualified competitors in 14 of the 18 events in the girls division.

No local or area teams figure to be among the contenders in Class B. There are some top individuals, however.

Two Maurepas competitors, Kristen Bouquet (1,600, 5:50.80) and Chelsea Cowart (discus, 102-7), have top entry marks. Other competitors to watch include Sarah Kaiser of Hosanna Christian (long jump, triple jump), Phalo Bonnie of Hosanna (jumps, sprints), Jennifer Cowart of Maurepas (100 hurdles) and Mariah Georgetown of Bethany Christian (sprints).

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