When it’s time to close out your high school days, the only thing you want to do is leave behind a strong legacy. That’s what the DHS girls’ track and field team did by scoring 58 points to win the LHSAA 3A State Championship at the Bernie Moore Stadium in Baton Rouge Saturday. The team’s theme all season long was to cement its legacy – it did.
Head coach Jimmy Joseph said the season started rough at first, but the team came together in the end.
“If kids now would pay attention to the people who are leading and don’t fight against them, great things will happen,” Joseph said, who is in his first year as head coach. “Character towards correction leads to perfection.”
For DHS girls, four seniors, a sophomore and a freshman competed at the state meet. For the seniors, being amongst the top was a spot they’ve seen for the past three years, finishing as State Champ in 2011, runners-up last year, and now again standing as the Champions.
“They left a legacy and a foundation for these younger ones to come behind them,” assistant coach Brian Richardson said. “They’ve been performing outstanding all year and you can tell the true mark of a champion.”
Patrice West started the day off for the team with a fifth place finish in the shot put throw with a mark of 32’ even. After that, the points began rolling in for the girls’ team. Ka’Lynn Jupiter took the crown in the triple with a mark of 36’ 4 ½” and from that point on the eye of the Tiger lit.
The girls’ 800-meter relay finished second comprised of Kaylynn Joseph, Beaunca Lewis, Courland Jenkins, and Maiya Miles. Then Jupiter took the track and won the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 14.13.
Soon after, Maiya Miles ran her best race and finished third in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.16, for a personal record. Miles said she didn’t expect to run that fast, but she knew she wanted to give her all and she did. Miles said she was proud of the team for its performance.
“We fought hard for it and we did it our senior year,” Miles said.
While the points were racking up for the Lady Tigers, Jupiter was up again for another hurdles race, the 300-meters. She won in a time of 42.63 to break the class record and the state composite record, a feat she said she always wanted.
“I feel so good because I remember looking at it in the tenth grade and thinking one day I want to run at least 43, but I never thought I would break the state composite record,” Jupiter said. “That was a blessing.”
Jupiter signed a letter of intent with LSU last week to become a member of its track and field team and she said her three first-place finishes at the state meet gives her “a positive vibe.”
“I felt like I was at home and I had to do my best in front of coach Shaver and all of the coaches and all of my peers,” Jupiter said. “I didn’t want it to be like she has a scholarship to LSU, but why.”
Also in the 300-meter hurdles, Lewis finished fourth with a time of 47.50.
Richardson said Lewis progressed through the season and that her placing in the hurdles came out of nowhere.
“But she’s another one who said I’m going to do whatever my team needs me to do to be successful and to close out my legacy the right way,” Richardson said.
To wrap up the evening for the Lady Tigers was the1600-meter relay race. Well the team closed the day like it started it with a strong race to finish second with a time of 4:06.31 comprised of Joseph, Lewis, Erica Johnson, and Jupiter.
Lewis said after the 1600-meter relay race the team still wasn’t sure if it was the champions. Then she remembers Abbeville’s head coach coming to them and telling them.
“It feels great, it just brings us closer as a team,” Lewis said. “We’re just sisters, we have that bond.”
Floyd Foster was the only boy to compete for DHS, but he also stepped up to the challenge and shocked the field with a third place finish in the discus throw with a mark of 148’9”.
“He came out strong with his discus and hit a big throw and was consistent,” Richardson said. “I knew Floyd had been working all week for this moment and the moment was not too big for him, he shined brighter than the moment.”
Joseph said they all did a good job. Whether it was Lewis surprising with a stellar performance in the hurdles with a personal record, Miles with a great 100-meter race or Foster representing as the only boy to compete for the Tigers.
Joseph said he knew Jupiter wanted to finish her career with a bang.
“She’s a special kid and she really came out and did everything we asked her to do,” Joseph said. “She wanted to run fast at a place she’d be training and competing at next year. When she got on the track her whole demeanor changed and she got in her zone and the rest is history.”
Lewis added, “This year was real fun and having a new coach it was really great.”
Miles added, “We improved a whole and we’re glad that we got a chance to have him as a coach.”