50th Cagle Award: Athletes from state champion St. Louis, LC College Prep take top awards
After the coronavirus pandemic wiped out the 2020 season, Lake Charles College Prep’s Thaddeus Campbell and Marcus Francis, and St. Louis Catholic’s Halyn Senegal and Emma Freeman helped lead a resurgence in track and field in Southwest Louisiana this year.
They are this year’s recipients of the 50th Cagle Awards as voted by Calcasieu Parish high school track and field coaches.
They helped end a three-year drought at the state meet for area schools as St. Louis won the Class 3A girls title while LCCP won the boys title, its first state title in any sport. Along with Reeves’ girls in Class C, it was the most state track and field titles won by area schools in the same season since 2014.
The award has been presented to the top track and field athletes in Calcasieu Parish since 1971 and is named for the late Kenneth “Bobby” Cagle, a supporter of track and field and a state legislator and businessman.
There were no Cagle Awards given out in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, which wiped out all but the first week of the outdoor season.
Campbell didn’t join the LCCP track team until his junior season, but he was the catalyst for the Trailblazers’ championship run in his final season, scoring 20.5 of their 60 points.
Campbell anchored the 4×100- and 4×200-meter relay teams at state as the Trailblazers battled District 4-3A rival Iowa. LCCP won the 4×200 (1:27.36), beating Iowa by .22 seconds, and was second in the 4×100 (42.01), .16 seconds behind Iowa.
Individually, Campbell took home silver medals in the 300 hurdles and triple jump.
At the state indoor meet in February, he helped lead LCCP to wins in the 4×200 (1:33.13) and 4×400 (3:37.87).
In Southwest Louisiana, Campbell ranked first in the 300 hurdles (38.89) and 4×200 (1:27.09) and second in the triple jump (44-9 3/4) and 4×100
An injury to his throwing shoulder near the end of a breakout sophomore season and the cancellation of the 2020 season could have stopped Francis, but he excelled in his final season at LCCP.
Participating in the state meet for the first time in his career, Campbell won the Class 3A discus title with a throw of 135 feet, 4 inches, and was runner-up in the shot put at 49-1 3/4.
Leading up to the state meet, Francis set personal-best marks at the regional meet of 51-4 in the shot put and 153-11 in the discus, winning both events.
Those marks were the best in Southwest Louisiana as he dominated throughout the 2021.
Senegal is one of the best runners to come out of Southwest Louisiana, and she showed it this season.
She helped lead the Saints to their first state track title since 2014, setting a Class 3A record in the 400 (54.89) and was part of the winning 4×400 relay team, plus a fourth-place finish in the 200.
Showing her versatility, she posted the top times in the 100 (12.22), 200 (24.80), 400 (54.89), 800 (2:10.84), 4×200 (1:42.51), 4×400 (3:59.04), and 4×800 (9:43.96) in Southwest Louisiana.
She posted one of the best 800 times in state history at the Taussig Relays at 2:10.84, which would have easily beat the state composite record, but the LHSAA only recognizes records set at the state meet.
She started her season senior season by leading St. Louis to its second consecutive indoor state championship while accounting for 30.5 points with wins in the 400, 800, and 4×400 and second in the 60.
While the Saints’ dominance in running events frequently took the spotlight, Freeman played a key role in the Saints’ outdoor state title, consistently scoring points in the discus and javelin.
Freeman, a junior, won her second consecutive discus state championship with a throw of 121-10 1/4 and placed fourth in the javelin (116-9).
In 10 meets, Freeman won the discus eight times and javelin three times, including a sweep at the prestigious Oily City Relays in Lafayette.
In Southwest Louisiana, Freeman ranked No. 1 in the discus (121-10 1/4) and No. 2 in the javelin (131-0).
She earned Louisiana Sports Writers Association all-state honors along with Campbell and Senegal.
State champions St. Louis and Lake Charles College Prep shared the 50th Cagle Awards with the Saints sweeping the girls awards in track and field while the Trailblazers won the boys track and field honors, as voted by the Calcasieu Parish track and field coaches. This edition’s winners are St. Louis runner Halyn Senegal, bottom center, left, and teammate Emma Freeman, in the field events, and LCCP’s Marcus Francis, top center, for the boys field and teammate Thaddeus Campbell for boys track.