TEAM TO WATCH: Catholic High


When former LSU All-American discus thrower Rodney Brown competed in a big meet for the Tigers, he remembers the message from head coach Dennis Shaver.

"Do what got you here."

That was the message Brown, who was hired as the head track and field coach at Catholic High School in the summer of 2019, began getting across to athletes Saturday morning as the team began to polish for the LHSAA State Indoor Meet.

Catholic is led by a veteran distance group. The leaders of the pack are Daniel Sullivan, Harrison Thomas, Winston Decuir.


Sullivan has continued his momentum from cross country when he made All-State by finishing No. 7 (15:51.40)at the LHSAA State Cross Country Meet in Natchitoches. During the indoor season, he has put his range on display. Sullivan is currently ranked No. 7 over 800 meters with a 2:00.71.

Decuir, a junior, is ranked No. 4 in the 800 with a best of 1:59.72. Decuir has also turned in the No. 10 in the 400 meters with a 50.93.  

In the 1600 meters, Catholic has three Bears ranked in the top ten. Thomas (4:24.54) leads with a No. 3 ranking, Sullivan (4:26.99) is just behind his teammate at No. 4. Another Catholic senior, Steven Mayer (4:31.77) is ranked No. 9. 

In the 3200 meters, Sullivan (9:36.67) is No. 2, behind Mandeville's Nathan Fontan (9:31.58). Mayer (9:45.75) is ranked No. 3 in the state.

No 1600 meter relay team in Louisiana has run faster than the Bears in 2022, having posted a 3:28.04 at LSU's Last Chance Qualifier. The Catholic 3200 meter relay (8:09.3) is ranked No. 3 in the state, behind Ruston (8:03.01) and Jesuit (8:07.03). 


In the hurdles, the Bears are looking to pick up some points from junior Louis Rudge (8.36) who is currently ranked No. 4 in the state.

In the field events, senior Grant Griffin looks to be Catholic's best chance for a state championship. He has a best of 54-8, three feet better than anyone else in Louisiana. Catholic may also pick up some points from Griffin's teammate Prince Edwards (48-7.75), who is ranked No. 4 in Louisiana.

Catholic senior pole vaulter Bransen Phillips provides the Bears with potential to score in the jumps. Phillips tied for No. 6 with six other jumpers at 12-1. 

Another point possibility for Catholic in the jumps is Bennett Saia. The senior is ranked No. 8 in Division I in the long jump (21-0.75), tied for tenth with ten other jumpers with a best of 5-9, tied for No. 12 (41-6.75) in the triple jump. 

"We know we are a talented team," Brown said. "We have to just get in these meets and make sure we do what we're supposed to do and that's take care of the details. If we take care of the little things, the results will take care of itself."

Brown was a volunteer assistant at the University of Alabama when Catholic assistant coach Don Hood called him in the summer of 2019 and asked him if he would be interested in taking over for legendary hall of fame coach Pete Boudreaux.

"I fell into a great situation," Brown said. "I worked under legendary Coach Boudreaux so I got to see how he ran the program. I came in and was able to use him as a resource. It's been good."

The seniors on the Catholic team were entering their sophomore year when Brown took over. Like Brown, that group of seniors are hungry to put Catholic back on top of the podium at the conclusion of a LHSAA State Championship track meet. 

"It means something to them," Brown said of his team about showing up and putting in quality work on a Saturday morning. "The culture of this team is phenomenal. I really don't have to push these guys too hard. They realize they're a talented bunch. When I say let's get it done on a Saturday morning, they're like 'yes sir, what time?.' They are self motivated. I have great athletes and a great coaching staff."