On your marks … Area athletes return two years later to defend titles

Rodrick Anderson

Merryville senior Mekyah Hooper and Singer’s Brayden Thibodeaux are back to defend their state titles while several other Southwest Louisiana athletes are ready to improve on their finishes from two years ago when the Louisiana High School Athletic Association state track and field championships begin Thursday.

The 2020 edition was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state track and field championships will run three days at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium in Baton Rouge. The championships start with Classes 1A, B and C on Thursday, followed by Classes 3A and 2A on Friday and Classes 5A and 4A on Saturday.

Hooper won the Class 1A 400-meter run and high jump in 2019 and is seeded fourth and fifth, respectively, in those events. She will be pushed by teammate and fellow senior Maddie Mahfouz in the high jump.

Mahfouz cleared 5 feet this year and is seeded third. She will get one more chance to

improve on her bronze medal in the 300-meter hurdles in 2019 as the top seed in her final meet with a time of 48.60 seconds.

Thibodeaux is after his second Class B shot put title and has the top-seeded throw at 47 feet, 4 1/2 inches.

Reeves’ Faith Cauthron was the runner-up in the 1A javelin in 2019 as an eighthgrader and leads the field this time at 110-8.

Hackberry’s Cameron Kyle, the 2019 Class C javelin runner-up, is seeded second (124-2) in his final year looking to knock off top-seeded Kyote Pittman (131-1) of Hornbeck. He will also compete in the triple and high jumps.

Lacassine’s Vanessa Duhe is looking to best her runnerup finish in the Class B discus in 2019.

Hackberry senior Coleman McCready is going for a double gold as the top qualifier in Class C shot put (42-8) and discus (128-11).

Grand Lake’s Gabe Boudreaux, the area’s top high jumper, is looking to bring home a medal as the top seed at 6-8, and is seeded second in the triple jump.

Other area No. 1 qualifiers in Class 1A include Hamilton Christian long jumper Elijah Belton (21-9 1/2) and Grand Lake’s Bryant Williams in the shot put (47-6 1/4).

In Class C, South Cameron’s Ariana Lasalle (long jump), Reeves’ Claire Dunnehoo (triple jump) and Hope Cauthron (200), Hackberry’s Blaine Picou (high jump), and South Cameron’s Chad Lapoint (110 hurdles) are the top seed in their events.

In Class B, Hathaway’s Kaitlyn Sawyer (1,600) and Brea Baca-White (400) are the top seeds in their events.


Merryville senior Maddie Mahfouz is seeded third in the high jump headed into the LHSAA Class 1A track and field championships on Thursday in Baton Rouge.

Rodrick Anderson/American Press