There were so many outstanding performances at this weekend's AAU Region 11 National Qualifier, Justin Horne for example. He broke the meet record in the 17-18 boys 110 hurdles with time of 14.05. Not only that, he broke with some stiff competition as U.S. Express' Louis Rudge finished second in a 2.0 version of their LHSAA Class 5A race.
However, for this poll. We wanted to take ONE athlete per team. And while we cannot list all athletes in polls, we tried to come up with a list which represented a nice sample size of the amazing boys and girls assembled in Hammond.
Here is a little information on each athlete...
Rudyard West Jr. - Broke records for 11-year old boys in both the 100 (12.17) & 200 (25.54). The most amazing this is that he broke the 100m record TWICE in the same meet. In the prelims he ran a 12.42, which broke the meet record. In the finals, he lowered it to 12.17! He may need to thank his teammate Michael McKenzie for pushing him to the limit. McKenzie finished second with a 12.32.
Varenka Zhuk - The diminutive Zhuk won girls 11 year-old 800 meters (2:33.37) and 1500 meters (5:30.85)
Marquez Stevenson - "Macho" picked up where he left off last summer when he ran a 46.85 at the AAU National Junior Olympics, surpassing Mansfield's Jerry Wilson to become the fastest quarter miler in Northwest Louisiana history. But his 400 meter gold medal wasn't the highlight of his meet. It was his record-breaking 200 meter performance, against some familiar foes like Holy Cross' Krosse Johnson, who beat Stevenson in the LHSAA Class 5A 100 meters. Stevenson blazed to a 21.09, breaking the record of 21.32 set by Haughton's Kynoz Smith in 2011. When we say blazed, we mean it. So hot, in fact, that Stevenson's spikes couldn't handle the heat. There are hole in the sole of both shoes.
SACS' MARQUEZ STEVENSON (LANE 4) FLIES THROUGH FINISH LINE IN A LOADED 200M FIELD!
Aaliyah Lane - Everybody talks about being the GOAT--Greatest of All-Time. While she is breaking meet records now, don't be surprised if Lane breaks the NATIONAL record next month in Greensboro, North Carolina at the National AAU Junior Olympics. Here time of 2:16.43. She is only three seconds away. While the 800 is her favorite race, she has elite sprint speed. Her 25.99 winning 200 meter time was only .11 off Aleia Hobb's meet record of 25.88 in that race. Lane's record breaking 400 meter time (57.71) broke the meet record set by Scotlandville's Makeriah Harris, who has the fastest 400 hurdle time in Louisiana history.
Jermaine Brown - All you need to know about Brown, who was competing in the 15-16 age group, is that he had the fastest 100 meter time--and it wasn't close. Run Fast's Darryl George won the 17-18 100 meters with a time of 10.75, beating the likes of LHSAA Class 5A state champion Krosse Johnson in the process. That time paled in comparison to Brown's 10.64, which betters the one-year old record of 10.86 set by Armani Cargo in 2021.
Lina Mills-Zacapa - The heat impacted many of the distance runners, but it didn't seem to bother Mills-Zacapa, who ran her usual full load of the distance events--winning the 3000 meters (10:53.75), 1500 meters (5:05.05), and the 800 meters (2:22.17). It was in the last were she broke the meet record of 2:22.46 set by Bryn Kelso a year ago.
Navarsea Conner - While the sprinter had podium finishes in both the 100 (11.44) and 200 (23.83), it was in the hurdles where Conner had the most success, breaking the 100 hurdle record in the meet for the second straight year. This year he ran 13.78, setting a new mark for 14 year-old boys. Last year, he ran 14.06 to set the mark in the 13-year old division. Conner almost added a meet record in the long jump, where he won with a leap of 19-11, five inches away from the meet record.
Andie Woodhead - won the 14 year old girls 1500 (5:37.58) and 3000 (12:33.40), while also finishing second the 800 meters (2:34.86).
Brayden Payne - Braved the hot conditions to win the boys 8&U 1500 (6:26.08). Also finished second the 800 meters (3:08.47).
Jessica Pitcher - Won the 17-18 100 hurdles (15.19), finished third in the 100 (12.26), and ran a leg on the Run Fast winning 400 meter relay (47.83).
Gerrett Anthony - Won the 10 year-old 100 (13.32) and 200 (27.66). Also ran a leg on the winning KY Track Club 400 meter relay (55.10)
Marley Richard - Not sure Richard went to Wendy's to get a four for four after sweeping all of her events at the AAU Region 11 National Qualifier or not. But we do know she went four for four at the Southeastern Louisiana Track and Field Complex over the weekend. Richard, competing in the girls' 15-16 age group for the St. Charles Striders, was perfect on the meet - winning the 100 (12.09), 200 (24.97), long jump 17-8.75), and triple jump (37-8.5)
Aiden Monistere - Won the boys 3000 meters (9:44.55), which included a fight for the finish which resulted in Monistere finishing the race in lane seven. The runner in the 17-18 division drifted to prevent Monistere from passing him in the last 100 meters.