Yes, I think it's safe to say that it was the year of the Bulldog.
There have been some great performances and some great teams that have made up Ascension Parish this past year, but there has been one school that has stood out from the rest.
This program has had consistent success throughout the year and has brought home multiple state titles. You may think I’m talking about one of the 5A Ascension juggernauts like Dutchtown, East Ascension or St. Amant, but I’m not.
Because of how big they are, those three schools garner most of the attention throughout the athletic year, but I think it’s about time we send some love the way of the little guy. With the year they just had, Ascension Catholic deserves it.
In nearly every sport, they carried themselves well and even set the standard for greatness in some aspects.
The year got off to a great start as the Ascension Catholic football program upped their win total from four to six under second-year head coach Drey Trosclair.
The Bulldogs were ranked in the top 10 for much of the year and eventually reached the state quarterfinals, where they lost to two-time state champion Southern Lab.
As the football team was falling in the playoffs, another Ascension Catholic squad was bringing the school a state title.
For the second year in a row, the girl’s cross-country team won the 1A state championship. It was their third state title in four years.
Southeastern signee Sophie Dangle’s monster run began as she finished as runner-up at the event.
The boy’s cross-country team held up their end of the bargain as they finished second at the meet.
The Ascension Catholic boy’s basketball team didn’t bring home a championship, but they reached the playoffs for the first time in two years, and while there, they won their first postseason game since 2005.
The spring semester proved to be even more prosperous for the Bulldogs.
The Ascension Catholic girl’s weightlifting team captured their third straight Division-V state championship in Monroe.
In their title run, both Micahlyn Daigle and Elizabeth Latino earned the meet’s Most Outstanding Lifter honors for their respective weight classes.
The boys came through with a strong performance as well when they finished the meet in third place.
It seems like every year that Ascension Catholic is one of the top teams in the state on the diamond, and it was no different in 2017.
Even after losing an All-State pitcher, All-State outfielder and their head coach, the Lady Bulldog softball team never missed a beat during district play.
Ascension Catholic steamrolled through the league to go a perfect 8-0 and win yet another district championship.
In the newly-formed Division IV playoffs, the Lady Bulldogs rolled to a first-round victory and reached the state tournament in Sulphur for the fifth straight season.
Ascension Catholic fell to eventual state runner-up Vermillion Catholic in the quarterfinals.
But though their season ended, the Bulldog baseball team was just getting started.
Behind their two LSU-Eunice signees, Landon Clifton and Nick Bellina, Ascension Catholic won their first two playoff games by a combined margin of 17-3 to finally get past the quarterfinals—a place that had been a house of horrors for the them the past three seasons.
They reached the state semifinals for the first time since 2005.
In their showdown with top-seeded Central Catholic, Ascension Catholic actually led, 4-0, before losing an 11-inning epic that proved to be one of the best games in the state tournament.
As strong as the season turned out to be for Bulldog baseball, it was still no match for that of the Ascension Catholic girl’s track team.
Like the weightlifting squad, they took home their third straight state championship two weeks ago.
Daigle was back to win three separate events (800, 1,600 and 3,200), en route to being named the meet’s Most Outstanding Performer.
The boys had a strong performance as well—finishing in eighth. Thomas Daigle won an individual state title in the 800.
Yes, I think it’s safe to say that it was the year of the Bulldog.