Competing for the first time in District 1-5A, the Benton Tigers will share the 2021 district championship with Captain Shreve.
The Tigers and Gators both scored 114 points in the district meet Thursday at Lee Hedges Stadium. Natchitoches Central was third with 101, Haughton fourth with 82 and Parkway fifth with 68.
Benton won seven District 1-4A titles in eight years before moving up to Class 5A last year. Almost the entire 2020 season was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m proud of our team in general,” Benton head coach Scott Reeder wrote in an email message. “First real year in 5A.Throwers, jumpers, hurdles did a good job. In the 800m Mason Haley came through.”
The top four individuals and relay teams qualified for the Region I-5A meet Wednesday at Northwestern State.
Haley won the 800 in two minutes, 2.32 seconds, .52 faster than runner-up Ta’Cardrick Alexander of Southwood. Haughton’s DJ Gilbert and Kenneth Smith finished 3-4 in 2:05.19 and 2:05.44.
Benton’s Nick Randall played a big role in the championship, finishing second in the 110 and 300 hurdles in 15.81 and 40.87. Natchitoches Central’s Devon Sowell won both in 15.11 and 40.63.
Airline’s Jeremiah Boudreaux and Kye Lehr went 3-4 in the 300 in 41.45 and 41.96. Lehr also qualified for the regional meet in the 110 with a fourth-place finish.
Parkway’s Madison Langley and Benton’s Jacob Marcinkus finished second and third, respectively, in the 1,600 in 4:31.53 and 4:35.15. Byrd’s Trent Wells won in 4:27.61.
Wells also won the 3,200 in a very competitive race in 9:42.89. Marcinkus was second in 9:46.32 and Langley third in 9:47.38. Benton’s Hagos Easter earned a spot in the regional meet with a fourth-place finish.
Haughton’s John Ecot and Parkway’s Jaylan White finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 100 in 11.28 and 11.29. Captain Shreve’s Kendrick Law won in 11.02, .25 faster than Natchitoches Central’s Braylin Demars.
Haughton’s Jaleel Mouton and Airline’s Ja’Robert Kelly finished 3-4 in the 200. Mouton ran a 22.59 and Kelly a 23.02. Shreve’s Marquez Stevenson and Law finished 1-2 in 22.28 and 22.35.
Parish teams swept the top four spots in the 3,200 relay. Benton won with an 8:39.30 followed by Haughton in 8:54.70, Parkway in 9:05.70 and Airline in 9:13.30.
Haughton and Airline finished first and second, respectively, in the 800 relay in 1:29.97 and 1:31.51.
Haughton, Parkway and Airline went 2-3-4 in the 400 relay. Haughton ran a 42.93, Parkway a 43.77 and Airline a 43.98. Shreve won in 42.43.
Haughton and Airline went 3-4 in the 1,600 in 3:31.38 and 3:33.12. Shreve won in 3:26.71, 2.64 faster than Natchitoches Central.
Benton’s Caleb Hood took the javelin with a toss of 153 feet, 5 inches. That was 1-11 farther than Byrd’s Jonathan Plaza. Benton’s Ashur Hall was third with a 142-0.
Parkway’s Palmer Hearne captured the high jump with a 6-2. Haughton’s Gilbert, Benton’s Mark Perry and Benton’s Randall all cleared 6-0. Gilbert and Perry tied for second and Randall was fourth via the tiebreaker.
Benton’s Mason Neill and Haughton’s Laiden Broadway both cleared 11-0 in the pole vault, 6 inches lower than winner Samuel Maggio of Natchitoches Central. Neill took second via the tiebreaker.
Airline’s Tyson Burns and Benton’s Dylan Gaydon both cleared 9-6. Burns got the fourth-place spot via the tiebreaker.
Haughton’s Tristan Satora and Benton’s Davis Sellers finished 2-3 in the discus with throws of 134-4 1/2 and 130-2. Oluwagbe Ojemakinde of Natchitoches Central won going away with a 161-6.
Airline’s Josh Hoover, Benton’s Perry and Benton’s Matthew Parks went 2-3-4 in the triple jump. Hoover leaped 42-2, Perry 41-10 and Parks 39-7. Natchitoches Central’s Demarion Sowell won with a 44-10.
Parkway’s Jake Morton was third in the shot put with a 42-7. Ojemakinde won with a 52-1.
— Featured photo by Robert Summerlin