WATSON -- The Livingston Parish coaches knew their teams faced an uphill climb in an effort to unseat Zachary as the District 4-5A champion.
It didn’t happen, but there weren’t any complaints coming from those coaches after the meet, either.
Zachary repeated as the league champion with 147 points, followed by Scotlandville as the title was decided when the Broncos won the 4x400 relay in a finish that went down to the wire.
Denham Springs High finished third with 134 points, followed by Walker (49) and Live Oak (43).
“Our boys competed well,” DSHS coach Josh Neal said. “There’s nothing shocking about Zachary winning. I thought we could battle for second with Scotlandville, and we did. I’m proud of how the guys competed. We had a few guys step up and place higher than what they were seeded. That’s what you ask is for them to compete at the highest level come district meet and on from there.”
Walker and Live Oak met some of their goals, with the Wildcats qualifying eight athletes for next week’s regional meet, while the Eagles had four athletes advance.
“I thought our boys team competed well, but there’s a lot of competition out there, so we had athletes go out and set personal bests tonight that didn’t qualify,” Walker coach Will Silk said. “We’re very proud of them.”
Said Live Oak coach Brent Baker: “I think we did very well. There were several kids that on paper weren’t supposed to move on that surprised and lot of people and they are (going to regionals).”
Belaire (22) and Central (19) rounded out the field.
Denham jumped out to an early lead as Austin Dunaway won the discus (140-10) and Zach Harris finished third (123-08), while Walker’s Taylor Granger (127-11) was second.
The Yellow Jackets were also bolstered by Damon Herod, who won the long jump (23-7.25) and was fifth in the triple jump.
“I was happy about my long (jump),” said Herod, who won Field MVP honors with 18 points. “I was hoping it was a 24. I got real excited for a second. It’s a little disappointing, but it’s still really good – set a new school record. I’m happy with that. In the high jump, I qualified (for regionals). Didn’t do as good as I wanted to, but … I still made it.”
Denham’s Cameron Reed won the pole vault with a mark of 15 feet.
“It’s total numbness,” Reed said. “I almost black out during the middle of my jump. It’s majestic.”
Reed’s teammate, Alex Morrison, finished second in the pole vault (13-06), while Live Oak’s Clayton Simms was third (12 feet).
D’Angelo Stewart of Denham Springs finished second in the high jump (6-2), while Herod was third (6-0) behind Zachary’s Chris Hilton (6-5).
Braeden Smith of Walker was second in the javelin (173-0) behind Zachary’s Jon Burrell (186-09), while Landon Brou of Denham Springs was third (156-07).
Livingston Parish teams finished 1-2-3 in the discus with Denham’s Austin Dunaway (140-10) winning the event and teammate Zach Harris (123-08) third. Walker’s Taylor Granger was second (127-11).
In the shot put, Live Oak’s Tyler Braun and Jacobey Lee were second and third in the shot put with identical marks of 41-4.5, while Kolby Matthews of Zachary won the event with a throw of 44-3.
“He’s kind of peaked at the right time,” Baker said of Lee. “I kind of give him a hard time because he’s kind of been stalemated at a certain distance, and he’s been trying to push past it. Today he finally did that. We always talk about this is the meet that matters, and he came through when it counted.”
Denham’s Julian White was third in the 400-meter run (51.15) behind the blazing time of 45.88 from Zachary’s Sean Burrell to win the event.
The 800-meter run belonged to Denham’s Christian Mallet, who won the event in 2:00.11 after teammate Christian Knox closed the gap to finish second in 2:04.12.
“I thought I heard footsteps,” Mallet said. “The crowd kept cheering. I thought somebody was right behind me. I thought that Scotlandville guy (Carey Trimell) was right on me. It scared me.”
Trimell finished third in 2:04.84.
Mallet also won the 3,200 (10.25.59), with Live Oak’s Justin Peters (10:39.25) second and Knox (10:42.87) third.
“That was the first time Christian ran the two-mile this year,” Neal said. “I told him in early in practice this week … I know you haven’t done it, and it’s not really what you want to do, but the team needs you to do that, and we need points in that. Him and Christian Knox both stepped up.”
Peters won the 1,600-meters (4:38.37), while Walker’s Dillon Jones was third (4:48.62).
Zachary’s Sean Burrell was the Track MVP with 32.5 points, racking up firsts in the 110 hurdles, 400 meters, 200 meters and as a leg on the Broncos’ winning 4x100 relay team.