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The Voice of Southwest Louisiana News Magazine June 2017

The Voice of Southwest Louisiana News Magazine June 2017

SWLA sports Girls

SWLA sports Girls Regional and State qualifying 4x4 Relay Pictured L-R: Nadailyn Carrier, Kamryn LeBlanc, Haley Paul, Makayla Stevenson. District 3-4A Champs Top L-R: Maddison Johnson, Coach Marcus LeBlanc, Breaunna Paul, Makatla Stevenson, Haley Paul, Nadailyn Carrier, Lisa Rious. Bottom L-R: Briana Rideaux, Kamryn LeBlanc, Jakayla Winford. State Qualifying Seniors Pictured L-R: Najah Brown - Shot Put, Coach Marcus LeBlanc, Briana Rideaux - 1600 & 3200 m runs. LaGrange Gators Rising stars of Track and Field By Tori Hebert For six years, Marcus LeBlanc, LaGrange High School Track & Field Coach, and the boy’s team have had a place in the competition at the State meet. Consistently placing in the top 6 of their division. The Gators are comfortable with being the underdogs. The girls team has also shown great improvement; with multiple visits to the regional and state finals and finishing as the 2017 District 3-4A Champions, the Lady Gators too are a force to face. Each athlete dedicates their efforts to chasing their personal goals and pushing the team forward to the state meet. When a team can walk away from a meet with their best laid out on the track it can make for an easy practice time the next day. However, when mistakes occur or injuries arise the entire season can be compromised. The ultimate goal is to win, but more importantly, Coach LeBlanc encourages each athlete to “not give up on themselves and to find their place on the team”. As larger teams dominate the news headlines, the Gators have to rely on their own motivation to keep them focused. Coach LeBlanc says, “Both the girls and boys are kind of used to being the underdogs, so whenever we go to a meet it’s just business as usual.” It doesn’t matter if it’s practice or show time, the Gators bring all their energy to everything they do. However, being under the radar can have its perks. “I always tell the team that it’s kind of fun to be the underdog” says Coach Leblanc. “When you are, there is no pressure on you.” Time and again the Gators have showed up and showed out the competition. Often times surprising the spectators with their talents, the Gators use their unforeseen victories and their personal goals to keep their eyes ahead of them. Coach LeBlanc enjoys 18 June 2017 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 4 • Number 9

watching each athlete improve their skills and reach new achievements. “It’s a great feeling just to watch their work ethic and to see them achieve something they set for themselves. Sometimes they set a goal that I say is unattainable, but then we have some who surpass the goal!” Coach LeBlanc coaches track during the school year and also during the summer. So, many of his athletes are already familiar with his coaching style and feel like a part of the Gator team. Each year includes familiar faces and new ones as well, but the instructions are the same for everyone. “When the athletes come to tryouts and then to practice, they come with a purpose. Then each Wednesday we have time at the end of practice to do challenges. If an athlete feels like they have conquered a skill or can beat another teammate in a relay or something, then the team takes time to see how their peers have improved.” Like everything that requires work, Coach LeBlanc wants his team to know that what they put in is what they will get out in return. State Male Relay 2nd in 4x1 and 4x2 Relay Pictured Front L-R: Coach Marrico Wilson, 3rd leg Michael Jackson, 2nd leg Ethan Thomas, 4th leg Vincent Wilson, 1st leg Tre'Von. DeBoest. Back L-R: Coach Nwora Fairley, Coach Marcus LeBlanc. Pictured L-R: State Meet Asst. Coach Marrico Wilson, Breaunna Paul, Shameia Jerro, Makayla Stevenson, Kamryn LeBlanc, Haley Paul, Coach Marcus LeBlanc, Nadailyn Carrier, Asst. Coach Nwora Fairley. Bottom L-R: Briana Rideaux, Najah Brown, Lisa Rious. It’s that mindset that has Coach LeBlanc already looking forward to next season. Focusing on measures to improve their speed, power, endurance and consistency, he is excited to see what next year holds. “We always want to improve and next year our goal is to take everything we have accomplished in 4-A and be able to dominate the 5-A competition. Of course the ultimate goal is to win the state title.” The Gators are proving that when your mind is in the right place, you can make your dreams come true. A look at the Gators’ Resume District 3-4A Runners-up Region 2-4A Runners-up Reached state in the 100m, 200m, 110H, 300H First in the 4x2, running 1:27 Trevon Deboest won the region title running 22.39 in the 200m Trevon Deboest, Ethan Thomas, Michael Jackson and Vincent Wilson all went to state and finished 2nd in the 4x1 and 4x2. Trevon Deboest finished 2nd 200m. Finished 4th in regionals Briana Rideaux was 5th in the 3200m and 8th in the 1600m. Najah Brown was 6th in Shot Put. Lisa Rious, Nadailyn Carrier, Maddison Johnson, Alona Gray, Jakayla Winford and Nija Davis, all qualified for regionals. Nadailyn Carrier qualified for state in the 400m finishing 6th. Haley Paul, Breauna Paul, and Makayla Stevenson are all part of the 2 time state qualifying 4x4 team. Haley Paul also qualified this year in the 300M Hurdles finishing 8th. Volume 4 • Number 9 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM June 2017 19

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The Voice of Southwest Louisiana