Pitts double winner; Briley, Gross claim state championships: Lady Griffins state runner-ups
BATON ROUGE - East Ascension’s Lynnika Pitts won both the high jump and triple jump to claim two Class 5A state titles at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Outdoor Track and Field Championships Saturday at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
Dutchtown placed runner up in team standings, the school’s highest finish ever, with 42 points. Baton Rouge High won the team title with 74 points. Ruston placed third with 38 points followed by Mandeville’s 32 and Lafayette’s 31. East Ascension tied Hahnville for sixth with 30 points.
East Ascension’s Jasmine Briley and Dutchtown’s Maureen Gross also claimed state titles in the 100 meter dash and discus, respectively.
Pitts, the defending state champion and this year’s indoor winner, was the only competitor to clear 5-06.
“I wanted to go higher but my coaches told me to stop,” Pitts said. “It feels amazing to me because of the fact that I had to defend my title. I just have to work harder next year.”
Pitts claimed the fourth state title of her career later in the day winning the triple jump with a leap of 38-11 1/4.
“There is just something about being in the air and flying free,” Pitts said. “At that point in time, you have nothing to worry about.”
Briley and Bryd’s Chryeece Moore both crossed in 12.10 but when logged to one thousandth of a second, Briley was the state champion.
“I really didn’t know what place I came in,” Briley said. “I was confident when I crossed the line. I knew she was right there by me.”
Briley overcame a restart after a competitor in the next lane was disqualified.
“I hate restarting,” Briley said. “I have a gift but I practice a lot, too.”
Gross won the discus with a heave of 128-06 to best Rickia Preston’s throw of 126-07 from Hahnville.
“I just came to compete,” Gross said. “It was fun. I have been waiting all year to get here and I was ready. It felt just like a regular track meet because I prepared so much. Nobody is out there watching me. It is just me, the disc and the ring.”
Gross claims her first state championship after being last year’s runner up in the event.
“It feels amazing being up on the podium,” Gross said. “I have been striving so hard to win that it just feels right.”
Dutchtown’s April Tasker placed second in both the triple jump and 100 meter hurdles, while also placing fifth in the long jump. Tasker cleared 38-09 1/2 in the triple jump behind Pitts and crossed in 15.14 in the 100 meter hurdles behind Princetta Cummings’ time of 14.72 from Hahnville. Tasker also cleared 17-06 in the long jump.
Dutchtown’s Shelby Jones placed third in the 3,200 meter run finishing in 11:29.71. Airline’s Rebecca Blubaugh won the event in 11:04.39.
Dutchtown’s Ka’Nesheia Cobbins placed fourth in the 200 meter dash with a time of 25.14 and sixth in the 100 meter dash crossing in 12.39. Baton Rouge’s Kamaria Brown won the 200 in 24.05.
Dutchtown’s Emily Rezac took fifth in the 800 meter run crossing in 2:27.11. Lafayette’s Kelci Lyons won the event with a time of 2:14.88. Lady Griffin teammate Brooke Bahlinger also competed but did not score.
The Lady Griffins’s 1,600 meter relay team of Cobbins, Bahlinger, Alyncia Arthur and Raven Sims placed fifth in 4:08.36. Baton Rouge won the event 3:48.73.
The Lady Spartans 800 meter relay team of Briley, Br’Nae Davis, Nakiya Smith and Leah Sparrow competed but failed to score.
Dutchtown’s Michelle Landry also competed in the pole vault but did not score. The Lady Griffins’ 400 meter relay team of Theresa Kaaihue, Aspen Richardson, Cobbins and Sims competed as well but failed to score.