Tasty Race: CE Byrd Sophomores Sweep The 3200m


It doesn't take much to get Louisiana high school track and field public address announcer Lynn Roberts fired up. He had worked hard for ten hours before C.E. Byrd sophomores Jenna Key and Hudson Roberts took the track at the Carl Maddox Fieldhouse just after 7:30 pm for the girls 3200  at LSU's Last Chance Qualifier.

The energy the sophomores displayed in the backend of the race provided the juice. Robert's voice, recognizable to any true fan of high school track and field in the state, was the straw that stirred the drink-and the emotions of those who witnessed the race.

Towards the last few laps the Lady Jackets pulled away from the lead pack. As they pulled away, Roberts' voice became more urgent in both tone and volume.

As the runners approached the bell lap, Roberts found his second wind in the announcer's booth.

"They are from C.E. Byrd," Roberts announced. "coming to the bell lap!"

 Byrd coach Juan Plaza, who was sitting up the stands with other Byrd athletes.

"Are we really going to go 1-2?," Plaza said.

The runners, who had raced earlier in the day in a less dramatic 1600 meter race, seemed to hear Roberts and responded.

But Key didn't hear Roberts. She didn't hear her coach or any other teammates, family, and friends. When she runs, she doesn't hear anything.

Roberts, the runner, heard Roberts, the announcer.


The crowd didn't need much to engage, but those words did the trick. With the gutsy performance by the teammates and Roberts on the call, anyone who wasn't invested in the race, wasn't paying attention.

As they made their way around the last curve, entering the last 100 meters, Roberts, who had broken Bryn Peters school record at the LSU Indoor Qualifier the previous month by posting an 11:51.04,  made her intentions known to her teammate. She wanted to remain the school record holder at C.E. Byrd.

Likewise, Key made it equally evident to her friend and teammate that if she was going to beat her it was going to take a heroic effort.

It appeared Key was going to hold her off, but looks can be deceiving, and Key made a tactical error at the finish line, throttling down with one stride left.

That was all Roberts, who lengthened her stride length at the end, needed, slipping past Key to cross the line at 11:26.95. .05 ahead of Key.

"With the exception of one or two girls," Plaza said. "It was a stacked field. All I could think of was where they were in August of 2020 when they were freshen and how far they have come. To have two school record holders as sophomores...it's quite the era for C.E. Byrd Track and Field and cross country."