WALKER -- So how close was the large schools boys competition at the Livingston Parish track meet on March 15 at Walker High School?
Close enough that at the end of the competition, there was more than one overall team champion.
Walker was originally declared the winner, but after a scoring error was discovered, the Wildcats and Denham Springs High School came away as co-champions after battling back and forth throughout the meet.
To make things even more interesting, the outcome wasn’t decided until the last leg of the 4x400-meter relay — the last event of the night.
That’s when Denham Springs’ Julian White passed Walker’s Andrew King to give the Yellow Jackets the win in the event in 3 minutes, 41.41 seconds while Walker took second in 3:42.12.
Denham Springs and Walker each finished with 115 points, while Live Oak and Albany tied for third place with 23 points.
“We knew it was a six-point differential going into the two-mile,” Denham Springs coach Josh Neal said.
“Our best 400 guy is Julian White,” Neal continued. “He ran the second-fastest time split-wise, in the 400. Damon Herod ran a 53 on the second leg, which kind of closed the gap a little bit, and then Julian was able to pick it up there in the last 150 of the 400.”
“There’s a lot of variables,” Walker coach Will Silk said of the finish. “And you don’t see too many ties in track. If my memory serves me correct, this may be the first time we’ve had a tie in my last 17 years here at Walker High School — on a team score, that is.”
Walker was bolstered by the effort of Landen Harper, who earned Field MVP honors with first-place finishes in the long jump (20.5 feet) and triple jump (40.5).
“I knew I was sitting in second place at the time, so I knew I had to do my best jump for the day,” Harper said of his win in the long jump. “I was praying for it, because I know I can do better than I was jumping the first three (attempts). My coach, Coach Silk, helped me. He moved me up on the runway and got my steps right.”
Harper shared Track MVP honors with Denham Springs’ Christian Mallet after Mallett won the 1600 run (4:45.33) and 3200 (11:07.00). Harper scored wins in the 110-meter hurdles (15.94) and 300 hurdles (41.86).
Denham also got firsts from Tyre Golmond in the 100 (11.30), White in the 400 (54.35) and the 4x400 relay team of Landon Brou, Damon Herod, Trevor Jenkins and White.
Walker countered with firsts from Terrell Warner in the 200 (22.73), Dillon Jones in the 800 (2:11.71), the 4x100 relay (Jalen Hills, Qaeshon Clark, Malik Turner and Warner) and the 4x200 relay (Hunter Miller, Clark, Paul Loper and Ezekiel Baaheth).
D’Angelo Stewart anchored the Yellow Jackets in the field events with a mark of 6-6.25 to win the high jump.
“I try not to think about it because the higher it gets, the more I get in my head, and the more I’m in my head, the more I mess up,” Stewart said. “So, I just try not to think about it and just jump it.”
Denham’s Cameron Reed won the pole vault (13-6), while Austin Dunaway won the discus (123-5).
Walker did its own damage in the field events with Turner finishing second to Harper in the triple jump (39-5.5), while Easton Cifreo (161-3) and Braeden Smith (160-5) went 1-2 in the javelin.
The Wildcats also got a 1-2 finish from Noah Cox (45-1) and Martin Brooks (41-1) in the shot put.
“I guess my head was in the right place,” Cox said. “My muscle memory, and I practiced a lot (Tuesday) after school. I guess it’s just competition trying to beat myself.”
Cox said he drew motivation from competing against Brooks, who won the shot put at last year’s parish meet.
“It helps,” Cox said. “You don’t want to lose to him.”
Cox also finished second in the discus (122-2).