STM's Ellie Bond Is The Glue For Cougars D2 State Title!


St. Thomas More junior Camryn Haik was ecstatic after her first state championship at Monday's LHSAA State Cross Country Championship. Head coach Chris Odinet? He wore what seemed like a permanent smile as he passed out medals and T-shirts to his runners.

But both Haik and Odionet's excitement paled in comparison to STM senior Ellie Bond, who finished third with a time of 18:55 in her last cross country race on Louisiana soil.

The team will take to the course one last time in the Woodlands, Tx when they compete in the championship division of the Nike South Regionals after receiving a late invite. But this time, they will competing as Louisiana state champions after winning Division 2 team honors in Natchitoches on Monday. It's the school's first cross country championship since 2014.

"Ellie is our only senior girl and she is definitely the leader on this team," Odinet said on Monday. "She has been here before. I believe she finished fourth last year. She just built a bond between all of these girls. We had quite a few freshmen this year that ran. So Ellie really pulled them together and made a team out of this group. It has been great."

The state champion echoed what her head coach said.

"I love Ellie Bond so much," Camryn Haik said. "I'm so proud of her, each other, and the team. It means a lot that we were both up here (on the podium)."

"I'm the first state champion in my family!," Bond said as she held the coveted state championship trophy and looked up into the stands at the Walter Ledet Track & Field Complex on the campus of Northwestern State University. 

Other scoring members of the STM's winning team included Abby Kate Mendoza (13th; 20:26), Mia Cestia (15th; 20:36), and Caroline Moses (16th; 20:40). 

Teurlings Catholic's senior Angelle Dupuis, who made Haik earn the title with an epic battle during the last 300 meters of the race, finished as the runner-up with a time of 18:40.

"Coming into the race, I was really excited," Dupuis said. "The weather was amazing. It was overcast. The temperature was great so I was like 'OK, today is going to be great.' This is my last race of the year for Teurlings High School. I started off and felt amazing. I said I'm going to keep pushing and give my best. Give all I have and see how I finish."

Other runners in the top included Leesville's Lina Mills Zacapa (4th; 19:04) and her younger sister, Juliana Mills-Zacapa (8th; 19:46), Academy of Sacred Heart New Orleans' Leah Varisco (5th; 19:24) and Courtney Habetz (9th; 20:02), David Thibodaux's Grace French (6th; 19:32), Albany's Cayden Boudreaux (7th; 19:39), and St. Scholastica's Elaine Oggs (10th; 20:11).