WALKER – Live Oak freshman distance runner Kylie Zeller didn’t know what to think when she began hearing outcries, ‘one more lap, one more lap’.
Zeller had positioned herself behind Walker High senior Kaye-Loni Bowden throughout their 3200-meter run before bursting past Bowden down the straight-away and thinking she had the race wrapped up.
The only problem was race officials informed Zeller and the other leaders still in the race they still had one more lap remaining in the eight-lap event, something Zeller was able to manage and win for her second championship during the District 4-5A track and field meet at Walker High.
Zeller won both the 1600 and 3200-meter runs, turning in personal records in both races and establishing school marks in both races.
“I wanted to try my best,” Zeller said. “It’s my first district (meet) and I wanted to see where I was. I’ve been racing against these girls the whole year and wanted a good outcome. This was my best meet. I was trying to come out and do my best.”
Scotlandville’s boys (195) and Zachary’s girls (208) left little doubt in capturing the team championships.
Walker’s girls were runners-up, compiling 126 points which was ahead of third-place Live Oak (98), Scotlandville (84) and Denham Springs (44).
The top four finishers in each event qualified for next Thursday’s regional meet at Zachary High School.
“I told them we’re going up against great competition, worry about focusing on yourself and beating your times and the other athletes after that,” Walker girls coach Vance Law said. “I wanted them to perform well and do better than they have done. By doing that they beat other athletes and qualified for regionals.”
Scotlandville and Zachary went 1-2 in the boys team competition followed by Denham Springs (70), Live Oak (62), Walker High (52), Belaire (23) and Central (9).
“Given what the circumstances were, I think we made the most of it,” DSHS coach Andy McLean said. “We’re trying to build up the program so that we can compete with the Zachary’s and Scotlandville’s. They do so well in the sprint events and a lot of time you’re fighting for fifth place outside the relays.”
The Yellow Jackets lost the services of multi-events standout Damon Herod, a Southeastern Louisiana signee, to a pulled hamstring early in the meet during the long jump competition.
Kaydon Berard picked up a first in the shot put (45-4 3/4) and third in the discus (124-1). Landon Brou scored Denham Springs’ other victory in the javelin (156-0 ½).
Both of the Yellow Jackets’ 4x200 (1:33.8) and 4x100 (44.93) relay teams qualified with third-place finishes, while EJ Burgess was third in the high jump (5-8).
“I wanted my runners and field events to be as comfortable as possible going into the races they went to,” McLean said.
Distance ace Nic Broderick (4:44.25) and pole vaulter Clayton Simms (15-0) picked up a pair of wins for Live Oak.
The Eagles had another Top-3 finisher in Jackson Earle, who was second in the 1600 meters (10:25.20), second in the 3200 (10:25.20) and ran a leg on the third-place 4x800 relay team (8:56.03).
Walker’s boys were highlighted by the 2-3 finish from Blaze Hayden (13-0) and Todd Collins (12-6) in the pole vault.
The LadyCats won two events from Lilly Waguespack in the high jump (5-2) and Evyn Fitzgerald (10-6) in the pole vault.
Tarondia Harold was third in the 100 (12.73) and 200 and ran legs on the second-place 4x100 and 4x200 relays units. Senior distance standout Kaye-Loni Bowden finished third in the 3200 and fourth in the 1600, respectively, while Trimyia Ventress was second in the discus (85-10).
“We had a lot of good performances that were better than I expected,” Law said. “To finish second overall, I’m very happy with. We’re going up against good competition and some people did somethings we weren’t expecting.”
Zeller, who ran cross country against Bowden last fall, won the 1600 meter-run in school-record fashion (5:46.), defeated the UL-Monroe cross country signee in the 1600 with a school-record time of 5 minutes, 39 seconds – shaving seven seconds off her PR.
Live Oak also picked up a first place from Mackenzie Covington in the 300 hurdles (48.21).
Zeller came back in the 3200 meters, where for the majority of the race, she lurked behind Bowden. Both runners believed to be on their final lap after hearing the bell after their seventh laps when Zeller made her move around Bowden.
“I knew there were would be an opportunity in the last couple of laps where I could go,” Zeller said. “I wanted to stay with her and maybe I would have a shot.
“I came around and then I heard the bell, thinking that’s when I’m going to have to make my move,” Zeller said. “Then everyone’s telling us there was one more. My (cross country) coach (Travis Johnson) was yelling to keep going, there’s one more lap.”
Zeller steadied herself and maintained a fast pace after nearly stopping near the finish line. She was able to kick it back into high gear with 100 meters remaining and won the race (12:25.32).
Bowden was third (12:39.83) in the race.
“I tried to tell myself it’s one more lap, like a cool down,” Zeller said after being informed there was one more lap remaining. “I was kind of jogging and then I told myself I needed to step it up, they were going to catch me. I just ran and it hurt really had. It was time for me to go and push myself.”
The DSHS girls qualified its 4x400 relay (1:01.62), while Megan Rodgers was third in the 400 meters (1:01.62) and the relay team of Emily Ellis, Payton Brownell, Gueslee Brownell and Rodgers was second in the 4x400 relay.
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