YOUTHFUL CHARGE: Jambalaya Festival runs feature first-time winners

Peter Silas Pasqua
Cole Stafford wins the Jambalaya Festival 5K in 17 minutes, 56 seconds.

The 42nd Jambalaya Festival 5K/1-mile run turned into a youthful charge Saturday morning.

Catholic High freshmen cross country and track and field runner Cole Stafford, 14, was the first to cross the finish line in the 5K, coming in at 17 minutes, 56 seconds. Less than one minute later, Dutchtown junior cross country and track and field runner Shelby Jones, 17, was the first female to finish, crossing the line in 18:38.

Stafford is a member of Catholic’s Class 5A state championship teams in cross country and track and field coached by Pete Boudreaux.

“It is just feels like all the other times I run,” Stafford said. “I usually run every year but in the past, there wasn’t a cross country team in middle school so I didn’t get to train. This year, coach Boudreaux has been training me and and I have been following his workout routines to get better.”

Jones was a District 6-5A champion in cross country and track and field qualifying for state in both. The Lady Griffins were Class 5A state runner ups in track coached by her father Bill Jones.

“I have been running (this race) since sixth grade,” Jones said. “I started training and running a lot more this year but this is mostly for fun. It feels nice. I just wanted to come out here and have fun. I take cross country and track more serious.”

St. Amant’s Trett Bourgeois, 16, won the male 1-mile title in 5:35 to edge Caleb Tureau who crossed in 5:37.

Carson Adams, 13, defended the female 1-mile title in 7:37.

Stafford, Jones and Bourgeois were all first-time winners.

Stafford’s closest competition was Keith Balza, the Masters’ Champion, who crossed in 18:10.

Four-time 5K champion Kenneth Schexnayder was third in 18:44 to edge Keith White’s time of 18:45. Drake Bourgeois was fifth in 19:12 and was followed by Justin Guillory (19:16), Dillon Truax (19:24), Ryne Ledet (20:36), Michael Boudreaux (21:31) and Davis Normand (21:42).

Jones’ won the women’s division by more than four minutes. Former Dutchtown runner Katie Quinn was second in 22:40 followed by Morgan Blanchand in 25:10. Robin Blanchard, the women’s Masters’ champion, was fourth in 26:10 followed by Courtney Babin (26:16), Sherri Tureau (26:17), Diane King (26:59) Kris Doyries (27:16), Laura Faulkner (27:33) and Samantha Faulkner (28:07). 

Guillory placed third in the 1-mile in 6:03 to edge East Ascension cross country and his coach Robert Lanclos’ time of 6:04. Truax was fifth in 6:14 followed by Normand (6:39), Parker McBride (6:39), Blake Hulbert (6:58), Tanner Adams (7:11), Cooper Adams (8:01) and Masters’ champion Skip Rhorer (8:12).

Masters’ champion Lisa Ledet was the runner-up in the female 1-mile in 8:17. Junie Hulbert took third in 8:52 and was followed by Jacelyn Wheat (10:32) and Gabby Boudreaux (11:50).

Central Middle held on to the Ascension Parish School Challenge trophy, given to the school in Ascension Parish with the most entries in the 5K and 1-mile run/walk, for the seventh straight year. This was the 10th year for the School Challenge.

Shelby Jones was the first female to cross, finishing in 18 minutes, 38 seconds.