Leesville track team competes in Cap-8 Conference Championship

On April 27 the Leesville Track and Field team traveled to Heritage high school to compete in the CAP-8 Conference Championship.

The men placed second overall and the women placed fourth overall.

Briefly before the meet started, rain and thunder threatened to force a cancellation, but cleared up in time to continue.

The preliminary heats for sprint events commenced only slightly behind schedule, as well as the 4×800 meter relay.

The women’s 4×800 meter team, consisting of Allie Gallagher, Brenna Langley, Meredith Hicks and Kiera Quinn, placed third and earned six points.

Though the girls were only seeded fifth, the relay squad pushed themselves to PR.

“Coach Cross told me before the race not to let anyone pass me in the last leg,” said Kiera Quinn, junior.  “So I guess my motivation was not to let my team down.”

Points were awarded up to eighth place, with first place earning 10 points, second place earning 8 points, third place earning 6 points and each place afterward decreasing by one point.

For the men, Ryan Mangum, senior, placed second in the 110 hurdles.  DJ Smith, senior, placed fifth.  Quinten Marshall and Ryan Mangum finished first and second respectively in the 300 meter hurdles.

“My sophomore year was a lot more competitive it seemed,” said Mangum. “I know Wakefield wasn’t there [Wakefield’s most competitive sprinters attended Penn Relays instead], but as a sophomore I ran a 15 flat in 110 hurdles and only got third. I got 15.8 this year and tied for first until they changed the results and [in the 300 hurdles] I ran a 40 something and got third sophomore year, and this year I ran 42.9 and got second.”

For the women, Hailey Blackburn, senior, placed first in the 100 meter dash.

Blackburn also finished first in the 200 meter and the long jump.  Next year, Blackburn will run for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

The women also placed third in the 4×200 meter relay with a team of Danielle Smith, Marteen Hill, Morgan Hamilton and Rani Corak.  The men’s 4×200 meter relay placed fourth.

Brenna Langley, senior, finished eighth in the 1600 meter run, despite heavy winds.  Though the wind served as a propellant for certain sprint events, distance runners were challenged by a large headwind.  Most times were significantly slower due to the hindrance.

“I felt like the wind did impact my performance, but my main focus was on the competition. It made me slower, but I just told myself to focus on the race, “said Langley. “As an athlete, you can’t let unplanned weather mess with your head.  We’ve trained hard and all we can do is give it our all.”

Aaron Smith, senior, won the men’s 1600 meter race and placed second in the 800 meter.

“It felt good to be the fastest mile runner in the conference after four years of hard training and to be able to redeem myself after getting the 4x800m relay team disqualified.”

In the men’s 4×800 meter relay, Leesville was disqualified when Smith accidentally bumped another runner off the track at the finish.  Though the incident was not malicious, the relay team was still disqualified.

The women’s 4×100 meter relay of Rani Corak, Eunique Browder, Morgan Hamilton and Marteen Hill placed second.

Danielle Smith placed third in the 400 meter race. David Lowry finished first in the 400 meter.

The men’s 4×400 meter relay, consisting of Aaron Smith, Jeff Gaston, Quinten Marshall and David Lowry finished first.

“The 4x400m relay at Conference was the most exciting race of my life. It was the last event; the whole crowd was watching and screaming, and we knew the guys team needed the win to have a chance at winning conference, and we went out and got it,” said Smith.  “We are trying to go to States in the 4x400m relay and are going to try to finish top 3 in the region, and anything is possible at states.”

In the field, Chandler Hawkins and Quinten Marshall finished second and third respectively in the  high jump.

Peter Ficalora placed first in the pole vault.

Alex Woods, junior, a regular spectator of Leesville track meets, said, “It was more exciting than usual because everyone was giving it all they had, knowing this meet was a big deal. There was more competition because the best of the best from each school was competing.”


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