BATON ROUGE – After a 43rd place showing in last year’s state cross country meet, Live Oak senior Nicholas Broderick wants to raise the bar his senior season.
With an intended goal of a state championship Broderick wanted to use such races as Saturday’s talent-laden Episcopal Round Table Run as a gauge to better prepare himself make such a run.
The wet and muddy conditions at Highland Road Park, coupled with hot and muggy temperatures, didn’t translate into fast times but a furious finish from Broderick over the last mile of the three-mile course resulted in an 18th place finish and time of 16 minutes, 44.47 seconds.
“I learned I’ve got to train a lot harder at practice,” Broderick said. “There’s people better than me. I want to be the best and I want to win state if possible. Coming out here is basically like the state race which helps me see where I’m at in the state.”
Broderick’s finish was the best among competitors from Livingston Parish, leading Live Oak to a 13th place finish with 449 points despite missing four of its top seven runners who took the ACT earlier that morning. St. Paul’s won the event with 76 points followed by Brother Martin (89), Catholic High (91) and Episcopal (154).
“We wanted Nick to come because Brother Martin and those teams would be here,” Live Oak coach Travis Johnson said. “We knew it would be fast, faster than last week and wanted to see how he would do.”
Denham Springs, led by Brennan Amato’s 42nd place (17:38.59) was 21st overall with 642 points and Walker was 29th with 769. The Wildcats top finisher was Ethan Bergeron (19:49.41) in 142nd place.
Live Oak’s girls, who were missing one runner because of ACT testing, were ninth with 268 points, trailing meet champion St. Joseph’s Academy with 33 points.
What the Lady Eagles’ showing produced was a 21st place from freshman Kylie Zeller, who was competing in her first three-mile varsity race. Her time of 20:19.53 was the school’s second fastest time behind Claudia Henry’s 19:42.
“I’ve never done cross country before,” said Zeller, a soccer player since the age of 3. “My parents thought I should try it, do something new. My goal was to beat 21 (minutes), but I was kind of going for 20. I just wanted to see where I could be because I’ve never done it before. I needed a starting point to improve over the season.”
The Lady Yellow Jackets were 21st with 561 points led by Phoebe Dean’s (23:29.97) 100th place finish.
Walker’s Kaye-Loni Bowden was 33rd (20:59.75) while Live Oak’s Jenna Magee (52nd, 21:47.56) and Rylie Angelle (52nd, 21:48.78) bolstered the Lady Eagles’ Top 10 finish.
Aside from her parent’s urging, Zeller also looked at the opportunity to run cross country as a method to prepare for her upcoming soccer season, both at the club and high school levels.
Summer workouts and after-school training sessions have transformed Zeller from more than just a novice hoping to stay in shape in between sports.
“The benefits of doing it would keep me fit, probably have some fun,” said Zeller, who ran 12:18 in a two-mile run last week at North Park. “I never expected to come out here and do this.”
Johnson indicated Broderick had difficulty dealing with course conditions, watching his standout hover between 26-27th place through approximately 1 ½ miles, before he turned it on over the final mile and making up nearly 10 spots in the final finish.
“I was kind of upset with myself; my mindset was kind of bad,” Broderick said. “I didn’t really start racing until the last mile. My two-mile split was really slow and I realized it was bad course conditions and everyone was dealing with it. I went really fast in last mile and helped out my time and placement.”
The absence of several of his top runners enabled Johnson to experiment with several younger participants getting the chance to be a part of the varsity lineup.
Garrett Ferris, who was 109th (19:11.66), was one of five finishers for the Eagles that were separated by a total of 44 seconds.
“We put in some younger kids to see the course, have the experience of a varsity race because you never know when you’ll need them and to develop the youth,” Johnson said. “The mud kind of threw off our plans, so we just wanted them to work as a pack and that was good to see them finish so close together.”
Livingston Parish's Best
13. Live Oak 449
21. Denham Springs 642
29. Walker 769
Individual (Best 10)
18. Nicholas Broderick, Live Oak (16:44.47)
42. Brennan Amato, Denham Springs (17:38.59)
65. Christian Knox, Denham Springs (18:01.66)
109. Garrett Ferris, Live Oak (19:11.66)
125. John Wells, Live Oak (19:30.34)
127. Harley Lee, Live Oak (19:32.22)
142. Ethan Bergeron, Walker (19:49.41)
143. Nathan Muralles, Live Oak (19:50.15)
149. John Dyar, Live Oak (19:55.78)
158. Bryson Newman, Walker (20:05.78)
9. Live Oak 268
21. Denham Springs 561
Individual (Best 10)
21. Rylie Zeller, Live Oak (20:19.53)
33. Kaye-Loni Bowden, Walker (20:59.75)
52. Jenna Magee, Live Oak (21:47.56)
53. Rylie Angelle, Live Oak (21:48.78)
96. Ava Forrest, Live Oak (22:59.94)
100. Avery Gnann, Live Oak (23:26.18)
101. Phoebe Dean, Denham Springs (23:29.97)
102. Callie Leleux, Walker (23:28.47)
104. Cheyenne Stegner, Denham Springs (23:33.62)
132. Alana Griffin, Live Oak (24:24.03)