On April 24, sixteen members of the varsity track & field team traveled to St. Francisville to compete in the Regional Championships with the goal qualifying for state by placing in the top three in each event. This would not be an easy task with the vast majority of the top talent in the state competing in this meet.
The first events of the day were javelin and high jump. In the javelin, Mary Caroline Mazzanti '23 enjoyed a very productive first season on the team and improved throughout it. After her first three qualifying throws, her best was 90'8" and qualified for the finals in third position. After her three throws in the finals, Mazzanti finished with a personal record and fifth place.
Meanwhile, Sara Spinosa '20 and Olivia Boyd '22 were competing in the high jump. Both athletes cleared their first two heights of 4'6" and 4'8" easily, which cut the competition down to half with seven jumpers remaining. Boyd, coming off a personal record performance of 5'0" the week before, did not feel as comfortable this week with her steps and missed her attempts at 4'10", finishing in seventh place and leaving her teammate to try to earn her spot at state. Spinosa cleared 4'10" and 5'0" on her first attempts and qualified for the outdoor state meet as the regional runner up.
The next event was the triple jump, where both Monet Ménard '20 and Angelica Ekenta '22 represented the Cardinals very well. Competing against four of the best in the state, both athletes set season best marks and walked away with valuable experience that will help them in the future. Ménard finished in eighth place (30'11"), and Ekenta finished in eleventh place (29'6.25") out of 16 athletes.
In the discus, Mykhala Coleman '21 and Lilly Moreau '21 represented the Cardinals. After the first three throws, both athletes made it into the final seven and improved on their marks during the final three throws. Moreau's last throw improved her personal record to 84'10" and a sixth place finish, earning her team points at regionals. Mykhala threw 91'8" for third place and a ticket to the state meet.
With a 30-minute break, Mykhala Coleman '21 found herself at home inside the shot put throwing circle and used her training to put on a clinic for all who watched by beating her nearest competitor by nearly three feet. Coleman set a new personal and school record with her first place heave of 37'10.5", which ranks her first going into the state meet. With that, the Cardinals' field events for regionals were complete, and it was time for the track portion of the meet starting with the 4 x 800m relay.
The four runners and the alternates for the 4 x 800m relay know what it means to believe in themselves. For the last year, Emily LeBlanc '21, Olivia McGoey '21, Olivia Boyd '22, and Mary Nusloch '19 have proven themselves time and time again in this event, and this day was no different as they earned the first place performance in 10:03.
As the rest of the meet progressed, the athletes in their respective events toed the line for chances to perform to the best of their abilities. The Cardinals' 4 x 200m relay team ran their season best time of 1:52.85 for a ninth place finish against a field of teams that had five of the fastest in the state. Caroline Evans '21, Angelica Ekenta '22, McCall Schlosser '22, and Cosette Waguespack '19 saved their best for last, and with the young talent who ran, the future is surely bright for the Cardinals.
In the 1600 meters, the returning state champion and bronze medalist, Mary Nusloch '19 (5:20) and Olivia McGoey '21 (5:36), looked in control of their paces after the first lap and went on to capture first and second place respectively to punch their tickets to state.
The 100-meter hurdles featured two Sacred Heart athletes, Ava Arch '24 and Emily LeBlanc '21. In the first of two heats, Arch looked experienced as she won her heat and finished ninth overall while setting a new personal record time of 18.58. In the fast heat, LeBlanc put forth her best effort of the season and finished fifth in a time of 17.42.
The next event was the 800 meters. Mary Nusloch '19 and Olivia Boyd '22 have been working together as a team all season long, trying to improve and help each other along the way. As the gun went off, the pace was quick, and by the first 200 meters, Nusloch and Boyd had set themselves up nicely with no one in front of them. Coming through the first lap in 1:06 and 1:07, it was apparent they were ready to run and not just go through the motions. Nusloch finished in 2:20.10, and Boyd set a personal record of 2:25.06, which captured first and second and the opportunity to compete at the state meet.
The 4 x 100m relay team of Caroline Evans '21, Lulu Real '23, McCall Schlosser '22, and Cosette Waguespack '19 put together one of their best performances of the year in an event that relies more on timing than just pure speed. The team finished in tenth place with a nice time of 52.71.
The Cardinals' two hurdlers, Emily LeBlanc '21 and Ava Arch '24, were up next for the 300-meter hurdles. This event uses speed, timing, and the ability to clear eight hurdles as low as possible while trying not to break one's stride. Both runners unfortunately ran into this problem over two of the hurdles, but they still ran as hard as they could. LeBlanc finished in fifth in 50.48, and Arch was eighth in 55.03.
Next up was the 3200 meters, which featured two veteran Cardinal runners, Mary Nusloch '19 and Madeline Kling '19. These two classmates, teammates, and best friends have been running together since sixth grade, and both have been very vital parts of the Cardinals' program. They each have shared the spotlight, and both have been in the other's shadow at times over their amazing careers. This race would possibly be the last time the two of them shared the track together. Both knew what was about to happen, and both were going to do their best on this day.
The outcome for Nusloch was determined after the first 200 meters, as she was the clear favorite in this event. She ran with a plan to run a controlled pace, secure her spot at state, and earn valuable points for the team. Nusloch won the race in 11:45, nearly 30 seconds ahead of the second place finisher. At the same time during this race, Kling was running lap after lap, running her race and moving up through the crowd. By the end of the first mile, she was in fifth place, running her hardest and closing the gap. She eventually caught up with the fourth place runner, who was running the race of her life. As Kling passed her with two laps remaining, it looked like that runner was done, but that was not the case. They both raced together towards the third place runner to close the gap. Three seconds back from the third place runner was the closest they were able to get as that runner found another gear with 300 meters remaining. Kling finished in fifth place overall in a season's best time of 12:50. Just like that, it was over, and Kling had just finished her racing career. As Nusloch and Kling walked off the field together for the last time as competing teammates, there were obvious tears shed of great memories that will last a lifetime.
It was then time for the last event of the meet, the 4 x 400m, and the squad knew they would have to run their best in order to qualify for state. Emily LeBlanc '21, Olivia McGoey '21 Cosette Waguespack '19, and Olivia Boyd '22 each ran a leg of their race with an aggressive attitude that allowed them to run a season's best time by more than nine seconds. LeBlanc ran an opening first leg of 1:05.78 to hand off the baton to McGoey. She threw down a 1:03.07 as she handed off to Waguespack, who crossed in 1:06.73 in sixth place. She then handed off to Boyd, who ran 1:01.71 for the final leg. Boyd caught the fifth place team quickly and passed very aggressively while setting her sights on the runner with 50 meters ahead. As each stride went by, she was closing the gap, but unfortunately, she ran out of track and time, finishing in fourth place in a season's best of 4:17, just one second from qualifying.
With that, regionals was over, and the team points were tallied:
97 - West Feliciana
94 - Brusly
92 - Sacred Heart
These were the top three teams last year at state, and the best is yet to come at the state meet at LSU on May 4.