The Ouachita Christian boys and girls track teams won state championship meets together for the first time since 2012.
Thursday’s victory in Baton Rouge was the second time the boys had ever won the state meet. The girls 2012 championship was the third state title in the previous four years.
As the former junior high coach, OCS’ track coach Steven Fitzhugh can honestly say he saw this historic success coming.
“Coach (Daniel) Bristo built the blueprint,” Fitzhugh said. “I jumped on board coaching junior high track for 20-some odd years and loved it. Every year (Bristo) did a phenomenal job as our track coach, and I remember five years ago when these kids were in junior high telling him, ‘Man, you are getting ready to have the best track team to come through here in a few years.’”
Little did Fitzhugh know back when that he'd ultimately be the one to coach the team. After spending 25 years at OCS, Bristo stepped down from his position in 2018, and Fitzhugh filled the vacancy. Fitzhugh said he still picks Bristo's brain about certain things in the sport, and that he brought this year's group to Bristo in Searcy, Ark. for some pole vaulting tips over Easter weekend.
With a team of 30 boys and 20 girls, Fitzhugh watched his club dominate the state championship meet in Baton Rouge. The OCS girls took first place with a total score of 80 points (24 points higher than second place East Iberville), and the boys doubled up second place Ascension Catholic en route to finishing with a 124 point total to earn their title.
“There have been times where 40 points have won the state track meet, so I don’t remember a time where a team scored that many. I’ll have to look that up,” Fitzhugh said. “And I feel like it’s been done by the Southern Lab girls back in the 1980s or ‘90s, but our girls finished first in all three relays. That doesn't happen often. It was a really good day for us.”
OCS’ Anna Dale Melton, Sara Shivers, Rebecca Robertson and Emery Wirtz placed first in the 4x100m relay event. Melton, Wirtz, Jayden Ellerman and Peyton Owens placed first in the 4x200m relay. And Melton, Robertson, Wirtz and Ellerman took first place honors in the 4x400m relay for the Lady Eagles.
Ellerman (12.49) finished first in the 100m dash and 400m dash (58.85).
Darcy Edgar earned third place in the girls high jump (J5-00.00) and Gracie Chan took second in the girls pole vault (2.57m).
On the boys side, the team of Patrick Brocato, Chad Strickland, Garrett Simmons and Tristan Wiley won the 4x400m relay (3:31.78).
Jay Parker, Chad Strickland and Tristan Wiley, Avery Pilgreen and Chris Holyfield had first-place finishes for the Eagles.
Parker took first place in the 3200m run (10:24.83), Wiley finished atop the boys 300m hurdles (40.98), Strickland placed first in the boys pole vault (3.64m), Pilgreen took first place in the boys discuss throw (42.87m) and Holyfield claimed first place in the boys javelin (60.04m).
Wiley earned second place in the boys 110m hurdles (16.27), while Mason Minvielle placed second in the boys triple jump (13.11m) and James Miller claimed second in the boys shot put (14.06m)
Garrett Simmons claimed third place in the boys 800m run (2:05.57), and Parker earned third place honors in the boys 1600m run (4:44.54). Andy Weatherford also finished in third place in the boys shot put (13.99m). Aiden McCrary had a third-place finish in boys javelin (50.08).