JACKSON JARRETT (MIDDLE) RUNS HIS WAY TO A D2 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP!
Moments after the Holy Cross boys won the LHSAA Division 2 Boys State Cross Country Championship, head coach Blake Baldassaro struggled to find the appropriate words when asked what it meant to him to watch his younger brother lead the Tigers to the team title.
"It's....it's...an even more unbelievable feeling," Coach Baldassaro said. "It's unfathomable."
Baldassaro took off his glasses while he searched for the words to express his emotions.
"I've been watching him run since he was a kid," Baldassaro said. "I knew he was going to go do something special. I'm happy to have that moment."
For Gage, it was a bittersweet moment. There is nothing he wanted more than to capture the individual title-which was won by David Thibodaux STEM Academy's Jackson Jarrett (15:49).
"I was coming out trying to get the individual title but I was racing with really strong guys," Baldassro said. "I ran as long and hard as I could with them. When it came down to the last 800 meters, I couldn't keep up as much as I wanted to. I came away with a fourth place finish. I'm still super stoked about the first place overall title. That's awesome. I've been waiting since I came here in the eighth grade watching the older guys run. It's just amazing."
Not far behind Baldassaro was his teammate Cameron Loubat, who finished fifth with a time of 16:10. Fellow Holy Cross senior Landon Davis joined Baldassaro and Loubat in the top ten. Davis finished seventh with a time of 16:17.
Coach Baldassaro was asked what it means for Holy Cross.
"It means the world," Baldassaro said. "It's something that I have dreamed of doing as a runner and obviously as a coach and it's phenomenal for the program. We are a senior heavy team and I'm so happy to have those guys do that. A couple of freshmen to get in on the action...it is really special."
Other runners in the top ten included Belle Chase's Drake Breland (2nd; 15:54), Shaw's Enrico Tapia (3rd; 15:57), The Willow's Alexander Tillero (6th; 16:11) who lost his left shoe early in the race, Vandebilt Catholic's Elijah Hunter (8th; 16:21), Teurlings Catholic's Noah Bernard (9th; 16:26) and Harrison Marceaux (10th; 16:33).
GO BIG, OR GO HOME!
"We got some new uniforms for the state meet and I just wanted to do something big so I bleach blonded my hair," Jarrett said with a laugh after winning his first state championship.
On the course at Northwestern State University, Jarrett continued the trend by making a bold move in "the hills"--a section of the course in the last half mile which is visible to the fans sitting in the stands at the Walter Ledet Track and Field Complex.
The legendary public address announcer, Mike Boyer, who could see Jarrett from his perch in the press box, called it a "dramatic" move.
Bold. Dramatic. Whatever you call it. It worked and gave Jarrett his first state title.
"Honestly, it means the world to me," Jarrett said. "I've spent every single day since last cross country state meet thinking about this."
But it wasn't just about him, Jarrett mentioned how special it was for his team to finish as the D2 runner-up.
"It means a lot," Jarrett said. "Three years ago we had to recruit kids in the hallway to run at the state meet. We had seven guys, three of which had never run. To come to where we are after three years..it's just amazing."