COLUMNS

Girl power

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
The Ascension Catholic girl's track team celebrates their second straight state title. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

Throughout March, great women of past and present are being honored for Women’s History Month.

Well, I’d be remiss if I let that month tick away without giving the due credit to all the amazing young female athletes here in Ascension Parish.

The area has always been strong in girl’s sports, but 2017-18 has seen some special achievements that cannot go unrecognized. Yes, it’s been a year of girl power here in Ascension.

There have been three girl’s teams that have brought home state titles. There have been many others that though they may have fallen short of a championship, had memorable seasons that put them amongst Louisiana elite.

Ascension is one of the strongest parishes in the state when it comes to softball. From top to bottom, there is so much talent to go around.

This trend didn’t change this past year.

St. Amant and Ascension Catholic both spent their springs making annual trips to Sulphur for the state tournament. Both teams went undefeated in district play, en route to league championships.

Success continued for Lady Gator athletics with the coming of fall.

The St. Amant volleyball team fought through injuries and inexperience throughout the season to finish in a three-way tie with Dutchtown and East Ascension for the district championship.

The Lady Gators then made a tremendous run to the state quarterfinals.

Once the winter came around, it was the girl’s soccer team’s time to flourish.

The Lady Gators experienced one of the greatest seasons in their program’s history as they reached the state semifinals for the first time since 2004.

As special as those runs were, they could not compare to the three awesome Ascension Parish girl’s teams that earned state championships this past year.

In the spring of 2017, the Ascension Catholic girl’s track team was able to capture their second straight state title.

It was a razor-thin finish as the Lady Bulldog 4x400 relay team finished in fourth in the final event. Heading into the race, they knew they had to place in the top four to take the team title.

What a sensational performance Southeastern signee Sophie Daigle put up on that sunny spring day at LSU. She swept the three individual races she took part in—taking state titles in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200.

Not only did it help put her team over the top in points, it led to her being named the Class 1A track and field Outstanding Athlete.

Ascension Catholic won another state championship just recently.

The Lady Bulldog powerlifting team went to Alexandria and came back with their fourth straight state title.

They dominated the competition. They accumulated 50 points, while runner-up Runnels finished with just 24.

Six Lady Bulldogs won individual state titles.

The most impressive performances came from Julia Lemann and Nydia Cooper. Lemann was named the meet’s Best Lifter Light Platform, while Cooper was named Best Lifter Heavy Platform.

And of course, we can’t forget about the great accomplishments of the East Ascension Lady Spartan basketball team.

Despite not having their best player for much of the season, East Ascension only lost two games all year and shared the district championship with McKinley.

They went on to reach the state semifinals for the first time in 25 seasons.

Once there, they crushed fifth-seed Zachary by 20, and in the title game, they held Natchitoches Central to just 32 points. It culminated in a state championship victory, the first for any basketball team—male or female—in the school’s history.

Their championship is just the second team title ever won by East Ascension High, and the first since 2003.

Junior point guard Tristen Washington scored 17 in the semifinal and another 14 in the championship game, en route to being named the game’s Most Outstanding Player.

Now, to be fair, there were some great male performances in the parish as well.

The St. Amant boy’s soccer team reached the quarterfinals, and so did the Ascension Christian baseball squad.

The Ascension Catholic baseball team reached the semifinals, and the football team reached the state title game. If many of their keys players didn’t get injured, they most likely would have won the game.

Still, they have some work to do to catch up to the young ladies of Ascension Parish.