The 2022 LHSAA Class 5A Outdoor champion will open his 2023 season on Saturday at the LSU High School Qualifier. Captain Shreve's Marquez Stevenson (47.18)held off Catholic's Winston DeCuir (48.42)to win his second 400m state title in a row last May at Bernie Moore Stadium.
On Saturday, the best of the best will see each other again, but it won't be in the same heat. Stevenson will run in heat No. 1 while DeCuir is scheduled to run in heat No.2.
The same is true for the best 400m studs in Class 3A.
Kaplan's Gabe Clement beat Lake Charles College Prep's JaRell Joseph in the regionals late last April before Joseph got revenge and won the one that mattered at the 2022 LHSAA Class 3A State Outdoor Meet. Joseph ran a 48.11 to Clement's 48.59 for his first state championship.
The two state champions and two state-runner ups mentioned in the first four paragraphs of this article all have one thing in common. This is their senior. Unlike last year, there is no "next year". This is their final dance in Louisiana high school track and field.
Holy Cross' Krosse Johnson, who was the fastest high school athlete at last year's state outdoor meet, and Westgate's Mekhi Boutte, who is currently the second fastest high school athlete in the state of Louisiana, are both in the same boat.
Both Johnson and Boutte are seniors who are scheduled to get out of their comfort zone on Saturday and compete in the open quarter. Johnson is more comfortable in the short sprints, but is choosing to get some speed endurance works at the LSU High School Qualifier.
Boutte's comfort zone seems to be the 200m, where he is nationally ranked after running a 21.80 at the Carl Lewis Invitational on Saturday.
One youngster made the MileSplit LA ballot for athletes to watch in the 400m, Destrehan's Phillip Wright III. Outdoors, the sophomore helped the Wildcats to a district chapionship. He went on to make a state championship performance--as a freshman--where he finished eighth with a 21.83. Wright's best time in the 400m was 49.67. This will be his 2023 debut.
Now that you have the rundown for the some of the top candidates to win the 400m, who do you think it will be? Let us know by voting in our poll. The poll will close at 9pm on Friday night.