SULPHUR— Welsh cowgirl Kylie Conner secured a state championship Tuesday at the Louisiana High School Finals Rodeo and is within striking distance of another.

Conner clocked in with the second-best time in the first go-round of breakaway roping at 2.51 seconds and won the second go with a time of 2.56 seconds. It was more than enough to secure the title with one round to go. She leads Central School's Hooter Murphy 66.6-48.4.

Murphy owns the advantage in barrel racing with 60 points, but Conner, the defending champ, was six points behind after neither scored in the first two rounds.

The competition will start at 9 a.m. today at the West Cal Arena with all three rounds of cutting and reined cow horse followed by the short go for all other events.

The top four in each event qualify for the National High School Finals Rodeo July 19-26 at the Lancaster Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Hackberry's Jacques Trahan maintained his lead in tie-down roping, but defending champion Brad Hesnor moved into a tie for second place with Sulphur High's Hazen Martin at 52.4 points. Trahan had 58.8 points after a pair of top-10 finishes in the first two go-rounds.

Hesnor quickly made up ground with a win in the first go with a time of 10.84 seconds.

Two-time defending saddle bronc state champion Coy Hebert of Welsh won the second go with a score of 71 points but will have a hard time catching St. Edmund's Isaac Richard, who has an 85-76.4 lead.

The goat tying title is a tight race with three cowgirls within 4.4 points of leader Kallie Deveer (Dutchtown HS, 58.4). Lake Charles' Alyssa Gary is second at 56.8 points followed by Annamarie Pierce (56.4) and St. Louis Catholic's Katelyn Schlang (54).

Sulphur's Hazen Martin and Gatlin Martin trail South Beauregard's Judd Morrison and Hadley Morrison 104.6-100 in team roping after placing in the top five in the first two go-rounds.

First-go winners from Southwest Louisiana include Lake Charles' Allison Prejean (barrel racing, 16.146 seconds), Welsh's Sydnie Romero (breakaway roping, 2.51 seconds) and Schlang (goat tying, 7.66 seconds).

In the second go, South Beauregard's Jayce Reeves (10.35 seconds) was a winner in tie-down roping.

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