The indoor state meet is just around the corner and there is so much to watch when it comes to the boys' distance. This year is looking to be one of the fastest indoor seasons in Louisiana distance history with deep fields in every distance.
Firstly, the 1600m field for large schools is looking to be a close field of competition. Rhen Langley comes in with the fastest time in Louisiana with his 4:20.68. He is not to be taken lightly, as he's run some of the fastest marks in the state in the 800m and 3200m as well this season. Last season, Langley scored his first individual state title with the 1600m as well as recording the fastest mark of that season in that event. This year, he looks to defend his title.
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Following him in Division I is Nathan Fontan. He has only improved throughout the season and holds the top mark in the state for the 3200m. Behind him is a threatening duo of Harrison Thomas and Daniel Sullivan of Catholic High. These two trailed Fontan during the LSU Last Chance Qualifier and threw down huge PR's. Sullivan has recently committed to run for Clemson and is currently the second-highest ranked 3200m athlete in the state.
In Division II, John Walker McDonald is favored to win his first-ever indoor individual state title. He holds the fastest mark of the season with his 4:35.31. McDonald has been a distance powerhouse for years in the small-school scene but now has the chance to finish atop the podium inside the Carl Maddox Fieldhouse this weekend.
His top competition comes from a talented yound group including John Hall Hays of University Lab and his teammate Blayton Bernard. These two have both represented the best of 3A and certainly have the resume to prove it. Another contender for this competition lies in E.D. White's Owen Tauzin. He looks to continue the legacy of his teammates from last year that finished first and second.
John Walker McDonald (2) and Owen Tauzin (14)
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The 800m provides an interesting field for the large school competition with four different individuals breaking two minutes. Leading the charge is Zander Dunbar who ran his best mark out of state in Texas. The 400m and 800m specialist holds the state lead with his 1:57.81. Though this can be seen as similar to Rhen Langley's 800m performance of 1:58.46 that was run on a flat track at LSU rather than a banked track in Houston.
Langley holds the fastest flat track 800m mark in the state, but what would be a state lead without a teammate there with you. He is accompanied by his teammate, Lejaune George, who is another top mid-distance talent that could also be in contention for the state title. More names to look out for in Division I are Winston Decuir, Caleb Babineaux, Tray'Quan Francis, and Daniel Sullivan. Of course, we could dive into each of these runners' histories, but the 800m field is just too competitive this year to dive into every background of each of these contenders.
In Division II, Chase Walker holds a steady lead over the rest of the competition with his time of 2:04.41. He joined the conversation late with his sole performance of this season coming from the LSU Last Chance Qualifier. This multiple-time 1A state champion is looking to score his first-ever indoor title and he just might pull it off as he holds a lead of over 3 seconds over the rest of the competition.
Some other challengers in the small school division come from teammates Reese Davis and Antonio Delgado of Dunham. These two look to be the next top contenders, but look to be matched up against other duos such as Alex Hollier and Sacha Dernoncourt of Episcopal. The Episcopal boys may have something to prove since having their legendary cross country winning streaked crushed by Dunham's runners.
In the 3200m, Nathan Fontan leads the state with his 9:31.58. He ran this while facing off against another large school giant, Clemson commit, Daniel Sullivan. These two have been mentioned before and deservedly so. Falling not too far behind Sullivan in that same race was his teammate, Steven Mayer. These are, of course, the fastest times recorded this season, but there are plenty more worthy athletes to mention.
Daniel Sullivan (right) and Nathan Fontan (left)
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One of which is Rhen Langley, who ran the first sub-10 minute 3200m of the season and is highly regarded in the other distance events. Of course, we can't forget Trent Wells and Mason Haley, two North Louisiana runners that make the trek down to Baton Rouge to flex their distance talent. Wells is especially well known for his bold racing tactics, by leading from the gun. There is never a slow-paced race with this kid in the field.
For Division II, John Walker McDonald leads the charge once again with the mirrored University Lab runners of John Hall Hays and Blayton Bernard right behind him. McDonald and Hays are the only two that have broken 10-minutes this season for this event, but that does not mean that other runners are out of the running for a podium position.
Owen Tauzin and Jake Tournillon are two other runners that are strong when it comes to the 3200m. Tournillon represents all of those from Class B and proves that talent can arise from the smallest of schools. Tauzin is not too far removed from University Lab's duo and will surely place himself with them during the race.
The 4x800m is surely a spectacle on the large school level. Three teams have broken 8:10 this season between, Ruston, Jesuit, and Catholic High, with the Bearcats recording the fastest time out of all of these marks (8:03.01). This will surely be the distance race to watch, as it will be a battle between three of the fastest 4x800m squads in Louisiana history.
In the small school division, Episcopal holds the state lead with their time of 9:03.22. It looks as though they are the favorite with St. Louis and Lake Charles following distantly behind them. Of course, nothing is written in stone and more may be to come from this event.