Scotlandville 'Ahead Of Schedule' In State Meet Prep!


During this weekend before next Saturday's LHSAA DI State Indoor Championship there has been plenty of talk about schedules.

On a national scale, Taylor Swift's schedule has been popular topic of conversation as girls all across the nation worry about Swift getting across the Pacific Ocean and to Super Bowl 58 to watch her boyfriend, Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce, play on the sport's biggest stage.

Here at home, Louisianians have been studying parade routes and schedules, making sure the weather is not playing havoc with plans to celebrate Mardi Gras.

For the Scotlandville track and field coaching staff, the only schedule that matters is the one the Hornets are on to defend their 2023 girls and boys LHSAA DI state indoor championship from a year ago.

For their opponents, the news is bleak.

"Our coaching staff has been saying for a while that we are ahead of schedule," Scotlandville head boys coach Allen Whitaker said. "We have several of our athletes who have either reached or exceeded their indoor goals."

One of the Hornets in the latter category is junior Ferzell Shepard, who came into the indoor season as the defending Class 5A outdoor state champion in the 400m and is leaving the 2024 indoor campaign as one of the best horizontal jumpers in the nation.

Shepard is ranked No. 13 in the nation in the triple jump, after competing in the event for the first time last week at the LSU Last Chance Qualifier and jumping 47-5. Shepard (24-0.25) is also ranked No. 4 in the nation in nation in the long jump. 

Coming into the season, Scotlandville was thought to dominate the horizontal jumps and the hurdles, but it was Broderick Davis who was expected to lead the Hornets in that area. With the addition of Shepard, the Hornets have a monopoly in the long and triple jump. Don't' be surprised if Shepard and Davis go 1-2 in both horizontal jumps, scoring 32 points in those two events. 

Scotlandville will also be strong all the relays and the 800m where senior Corinthian Walker was this year's first high school half-miler to break the 2:00 barrier in the 800. 

"We feel we have a very good shot to capture both titles," Whitaker said. "This coaching staff loves the kids, and the kids respond by giving us their best efforts. Saturday should be fun. We are looking forward to some memorable and historic performances."

While Scotlandville has the star power and is the heavy favorite, you can count on the Catholic Bears to give the Hornets a run for their money. Led by seniors Matthew Maynard and David Lemann, the Bears will score points in bunches in both the distance events and the relays.

Like Scotlandville, Catholic should score points in the hurdles. In fact, there may be two Bears--Porter Tanner and Peter Kronenberger--scoring points in the event. Both made the finals of the McNeese Indoor No. 2 Meet and it's not out of the realm of possibility that both could make the finals in the 60m hurdles on Saturday. 

Catholic High has finished as the state runner-up twice and there is nothing head coach Sean Brady would like more than to spoil Scotlandville's defense plan. 

Last year, the Lady Hornets' DI state indoor championship win was bit closer than the boys, who beat Catholic by 15 points. Scotlandville girls scored 66 points while runner-up St. Joseph's Academy scored 55 points.

Scotlandville head girls coach Ursula Harris said her Lady Hornets will not be distracted during this weekend with so much going on South Louisiana.

"The Lady Hornets are working hard this week before the Indoor State Championship," Harris said. "While most will be going to parades, we will be on the track. These are the most dedicated and determined young ladies I have ever seen. Even through adversity, they have continued to grow as a team. We know it will be tough, but we are hoping to win another indoor title." 

Anything can happen when these two titans of Louisiana track and field clash. This epic battle is likely to come down the last event--the 4x400 relay.

Last year, Scotlandville's Makeriah Harris was a force in the 400m, winning the state championship with a time of 56.31. This year, she has been concentrating on the hurdles and has not run a 400m, thus those are 10 points Scotlandville will try to find in other areas.

Or will senior Sprinter Sade Gray, who is ranked No. 3 in LHSAA DI 400m step in and allow the Lady Hornets to not miss a beat? Gray, who is the defending indoor champion in the 60m has a season best of 57.90 in the 400m. 

St. Joseph's will be led by their distance dynasty group which includes  Elise Brown, Michelle Daigle, Grace Rennhoff, and Hannah Vaughan. But the Stickers will find other areas to slip in a get some points.

Like the high jump. 

 Last year, as a freshman, Kennedy Papillion finished No.10 in the LHSAA DI State Indoor Meet with a height of 4-10.75. This season, Papillion, who is one of the best high jumpers in the state, goes in ranked as the No. 3 high jumper in DI with a season best of 5-2. 

Like Catholic, SJA has finished as the runner-up two consecutive years. There were few smiles in the team pictures with those runner-up trophies. Head coach Charlie Daigle and his squad hope to be grinning from ear-to-ear with an upset win on Saturday. 

If you are not able to be in the Carl Maddox Fieldhouse on Saturday for the LHSAA DI State Indoor Meet, make sure you watch the action live on MileSplit LA.