Parkway Boys Experience Yet Another First At 1-5A Meet!


It seems like every week of the 2024 track season Parkway head coach Kent Falting has been able to post about the Panthers on social media and start the sentence with "For the first time in school history...."

Last week at the District 1-5A Championships, the sentence ended with "finished No. 1 and No. 2 in all three distance events at a district meet."

Yesterday at the Region 1-5A Championships in Natchitoches, the sentence ended with "won the Region 1-5A Championships." The Panthers, led by junior thrower Devon Oliver, scored 87 points, 12 more than Airline, who beat Parkway at last week's District 1-5A Meet.

Alexandria Senior High, who had not lost a track and field meet all year, finished third with 74 points.

"The big deal today was to weather the storm," Falting said. "We talked about getting to state. We still think we can do some things there. We don't have to be first in every event. That would be nice. We just wanted to punch our ticket to state. We looked up and they kept surprising us with wins."

Oliver's day started with the shot put where he won with a throw of 53-8.75. The mark is a personal record and two and half feet better than any throw Oliver has had during the season. It was special for Oliver, who did not qualify for state in the event after a disappointing performance at last year's Region 1-5A Meet. 

Then, the action moved to the discus ring where Oliver, who is the defending LHSAA Class 5A state champion in the event came in as the No. 4 seed after he was upset last week at the District 1-5A Meet by Captain Shreve's Lionel Prudhomme. 

But Prudhomme was only seeded No. 3. The top two seeds in the event were the No. 1 ranked discus thrower in Louisiana--Alexandria's Hunter Rivet and West Ouachita's Caden Waffer. 

On his third throw in the prelims, Oliver launched a throw of 176-4 to move past Rivet with the personal record throw. 

"It was a pretty wild game of 'can you top this' over there," Falting said. "I kept getting updates. DD is in first. He is in second. He is in third. Oh, he just popped a 176-4. So we were very excited about that. The big deal for DD, I have to give him credit. He is a discus phenom. The shot put has been second fiddle for him. He blew one out of the park today. The double victory to start the day off was tremendous."

To make the moment even more special was the fact that Oliver's cousin, Airline's Malik Word, who has trained with Oliver for eight years during the Summer on the River Cities Track Club age-group team, had a personal record as well and finished third in the event to qualify for the LHSAA State Outdoor Meet. 

On the track, the Panthers picked up 14 points in the 1600m where Gabe Falting (4:30.09) finished second and freshman Brennan Robin (4:33.86) finished third. 

Will Achee (48.03) won the 400m and the 200m (21.64). His win in the 200m was the surprise of the day as far as Falting is concerned. 

The 4x400 relay team of Falting, Robin, Achee, and Brody Hocter put the exclamation point on the Region 1-5A Championship performance by taking first with a time of 3:20.47.