Berwick High girls win state tennis title
The Berwick girls’ tennis team was the only Tri-City area prep squad to win a state title in 2012 as it clinched the Division 3 championship at the University of Louisiana at Monroe in May.
Therefore, it is fitting that it is the top sports story of 2012.
The championship squad was comprised of sisters, Claire Parsiola, Anne Lee Parsiola and Signe Parsiola, as well as another sister duo of Carolyn and Mary Margaret Sanford, and Morgan Mitchell.
In addition to the team title, Claire and Anne Lee Parsiola won the state Division 3 doubles title with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 victory against Lauren Badeaux and Natalie Bernard of E.D. White.
That doubles title was doubly big because it clinched the Division 3 team title for the squad.
While Berwick and E.D. White actually finished tied for the team title with eight points, because the Parsiolas defeated the E.D. White duo in the doubles competition, it was awarded the team title.
Also in doubles competition for Berwick, the Sanfords won a match in state before falling to the defending state champions, Natalie Benson and Laura Schmid of Notre Dame.
In other singles competition for Berwick, Signe Parsiola advanced to the semifinals where she fell to the tournament’s No. 1 seed, Basia Walters of West Feliciana, 5-7, 6-4, 4-6.
Mitchell advanced to the quarterfinals where she fell to Ryan Barham of Loyola Prep, 7-5, 2-6, 2-6.
CCHS baseball is Class 1A runner-up
Central Catholic’s magical run to the Class 1A finals is the area’s No. 2 story for 2012.
The Eagles, the 10th seed, returned to Class 1A’s biggest stage after a seven year hiatus.
After defeating West St. John, 7-2, in bi-district action at home, Central Catholic pulled off consecutive upsets, a 7-0 shutout of No. 7 seed St. John on the road in the regional round, and an 8-3, come-from-behind victory against No. 2 seed and district rival Vermilion Catholic in Amelia in the quarterfinals.
Vermilion Catholic had defeated the Eagles in both district matchups this year.
In Ruston at Louisiana Tech, the Eagles continued their march towards the finals with a 3-0 victory against Metairie Park Country Day, who as the No. 11 seed, had taken a similar underdog route to the Class 1A’s final four.
In the finals, though, Central Catholic’s dreams for a state title would end as it fell 10-0 to No. 1 seed Ouachita Christian in five innings.
Central Catholic finished its season with a 20-11 mark.
In addition to district honors, Central Catholic also was recognized by the Louisiana Sportswriters Association for its success this year as pitcher Bryson Barbier and outfielder Josh Singleton were named first-team Class 1A All-State selections, while designated hitter Barron Courtney was an honorable mention selection.
Central Catholic coach Tyler Jensen, in his first year as a head coach, was named Class 1A’s Coach of the Year by the Louisiana Sportswriters Association.
Morgan City bowlers reach the Final Four
In just its third year of competition, Morgan City (14-2) made its mark on the state bowling scene.
The squad won district, advanced past regionals, won their portion of the state’s western bi-regionals and were just two wins away from a state title.
Unfortunately, Archbishop Rummel defeated Morgan City, 19-8, in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s boys’ bowling’s Final Four at All-Star Lane in Baton Rouge in mid-April.
Rummel would go on to beat St. Michaels in the finals for the state bowling title.
What makes Morgan City’s feat even more special is that unlike larger sports like football, basketball and baseball, which are broken into classifications, bowling still is a relatively new sport, meaning Morgan City’s advancement to the Final Four was truly what the words meant: one of the final four bowling squads left in the state.
Morgan City’s road to the finals began with a 25-2 victory against Central Catholic at regionals.
After receiving a bye in the first round at the state’s western bi-regional in Bossier City, Morgan City defeated Terrebonne High, 24-3, and then upset No. 2 seed Parkway, 21-6 to advance to the Final Four.
CCHS volleyball reaches semifinals
For the third time in as many years, the Central Catholic volleyball team advanced to the Division 5 state semifinals.
While the Lady Eagles had fallen to eventual runner-up Episcopal School of Acadiana in the previous two trips to the state semifinals, this year, the squad fell to eventual state champion Metairie Park Country Day, 3-1 (20-25, 19-25, 25-22, 11-25).
Central Catholic had entered the playoffs battle tested after playing a brutal nondistrict schedule, which included tournament play against some of the state‘s best programs.
The Lady Eagles, who won the Division 5, District 5 title, were seeded No. 3 entering the postseason. Because it was one of the top eight seeds, the Lady Eagles received a first-round bye.
In round 2, Central Catholic defeated No. 19 seed Christian Life in Morgan City 3-0 (25-9, 25-11, 25-5).
In the quarterfinals at the state tournament in Kenner, the Lady Eagles ousted No. 6 seed St. Martin’s Episcopal, 25-16, 25-20, 25-19, before falling again in the state semifinals.
Following the season, the Lady Eagles (26-12) were well represented on the All-District squad as they filled all but one spot on the top team. Meo Knight was named District Most Valuable Player, while she also was selected to the Louisiana Volleyball Coaches’ Association’s Division 5 All-State team.
Also following the season, Central Catholic coach Kindra Halverson announced she was resigning her post as volleyball coach, to move back to Oregon closer to family. She will remain at Central Catholic until the end of the school year.
Central Catholic Principal Vic Bonnaffee said her replacement could be announced shortly.
Record six ’Jacks sign scholarships
Football’s National Signing Day this year was one of record proportions at Patterson High School as Lorenzo Phillips, Trevon Stewart, Jaydrick DeClouette, Tre’maine Lightfoot, Justice Jones and Kiyan Jones all signed scholarships.
Phillips inked with LSU, while Stewart headed to Houston, DeClouette, to Louisiana Tech, Lightfoot, to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Jones, to Arkansas-Monticello.
Phillips, a two-time Class 3A All-State selection in high school, was recruited by nearly every major college program.
Stewart was a standout on offense, defense and special teams during his time as a Lumberjack. He earned Class 3A All-State honors as a running back after rushing for 900 yards his senior year.
DeClouette finished his Patterson career with 131 receptions for 2,182 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Lightfoot led the ’Jacks in tackles his junior and senior seasons. He finished his senior year with 134 tackles, three interceptions, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two touchdowns.
Justice Jones finished his high school career with 4,604 passing yards and 54 touchdowns.
Kiyan Jones, who is from Patterson, had moved to Lafayette in high school where he won a state title at Acadiana High School.
Joneses’ family moved back to the area and he played his senior season at Patterson.
Another member of this successful Lumberjacks’ senior class, Mark Jones, walked on to the football team at Nicholls State University this fall.
Of the talented group, Stewart unquestionably has had the most success thus far on the collegiate level as he concluded his freshman season with All-Conference USA freshmen team honors at defensive back. He also was named first-team freshman All-American by The Sporting News.
Norwood shines on collegiate track
Former Morgan City High School track standout Vernon Norwood made quite a showing during his freshman season at South Plains, a junior college in Levelland, Texas.
The 2011 Morgan City graduate, capped his first season on the National Junior College Athletic Association level with a national runner-up finish in the 400-meter run and a national championship with teammates in the 4x400 meter relay. Both performances helped South Plains capture its sixth consecutive outdoor national title this year.
In his runner-up finish in the 400, Norwood ran a 46.42, while in the 4x400, Norwood and his teammates combined to run the event in 3:05.99.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, early in the season at the University of Texas-El Paso’s Springtime Invitational, Norwood turned in a U.S. Olympic trials’ qualifying mark in the 400-meter run when he clocked in at 45.72 seconds.
While much of his success was achieved during the outdoor season, Norwood had at least one memorable moment during the indoor season. At the USA Track and Field Classic at the University of Arkansas, he and three other South Plains freshmen placed second behind Division 1 track power, the University of Arkansas, and ahead of another Division 1 track power, LSU, in the 4x400 meter relay. The race was shown on ESPN2.
The South Plains quartet finished with a time of 3:05.16, the second fastest on record in NJCAA competition.
In addition to his sophomore season, Norwood also will be looking to sign with a four-year school to continue his collegiate track career.
Lumberjacks advance to Class 3A quarterfinals
In recent years, the Class 3A quarterfinals have become the norm for the Patterson Lumberjacks.
After making a trip to the Class 3A semifinals in 2009, the squad fell in the first round in 2010 before coming back with consecutive trips to the Class 3A quarterfinals, this year falling on the road to eventual Class 3A state champion, No. 2 seed Richwood, 73-54.
In this year’s quarterfinal contest, Ridgewood didn’t pull away from Patterson (24-4) until the final period as Patterson entered the fourth quarter trailing just 49-46.
Patterson, the District 9-3A champion with a 12-0 mark, entered the playoffs as the 10th seed.
The squad defeated No. 23 seed Albany 67-50 in first-round action, while in the second round, the squad edged No. 7 seed E.D. White, 53-51.
Deondre Skinner and Tre’maine Lightfoot were named first-team All-District 9-3A following the season, while Patterson coach Ryan Taylor was named the district’s Coach of the Year.
CCHS Lady Eagles make run to quarterfinals
Central Catholic had its way with the competition for much of the 2011-12 season as the Lady Eagles rolled to a 21-3 regular season mark, including an undefeated district season.
The squad was awarded Class 1A’s top seed in the playoffs, and Central Catholic recorded blowout victories in its first two playoff games, a 60-30 win against No. 32 seed Haynesville at home in the first round and a 73-49 victory against No. 17 Merryville on the road in the regional round.
However, Central Catholic (23-4) could not keep its dream season alive as the Lady Eagles were ousted in the quarterfinals at home by No. 8 seed West St. John, 69-62.
Following the season, Meo Knight and Randi Brown and Makayla McDaniel were honored as selections on the Louisiana Sportswriters Association’s Class 1A All-State squad.
Knight was a first-team selection, while Brown was a second-team selection and McDaniel, an honorable mention choice.
Knight also was chosen as the District 8-1A Most Valuable Player, while Brown and McDaniel were first-team all-district selections.
Berwick football snaps 20-game losing streak
The Berwick football program has seen its share of struggles in recent years.
Coming into this season, the squad was enduring a losing streak that dated back to October 2010 and by the time the squad had reached Week 7 of this season, the streak had reached 20 games.
By the end of the Panthers’ Week 7 game against Hanson, though, the Panthers had put an end to the dreaded losing skid with a 32-14 victory against Hanson.
The Panthers’ last win before the lengthy losing streak began came against Hanson on Oct. 1, 2010 under then-head coach Mike Thomas, who now is an assistant.
The win this year also was the first in second-year Berwick coach Craig Brodie Sr.’s two-year tenure leading the program.
While Berwick dropped its final three games of the season and finished 1-8, the win, no doubt, is something the Panthers can build upon when they open the 2013 season.
A big year for boat racing
It was a big year for boat racing in Morgan City as fans were treated to races twice within three months.
In early July, the Atchafalaya Eastern Divisionals’ “Waves of Thunder” was held at Lake Palourde in Morgan City. The Morgan City Powerboat Association hosted the event, which featured outboard races.
Coincidentally, this year marked the 50th anniversary of the Morgan City Powerboat Association. However, the first race actually took place on Lake Palourde on July 2, 1958.
This year’s Atchafalaya Eastern Divisionals was part of a circuit.
At each race, including the Morgan City event, racers compete for points towards the American Powerboat Association and Sport Racing Series’ championships.
At the end of the season, points were tabulated and racers were ranked accordingly.
The second set of races this year was held in September when Deep South Racing Association’s 1/4-Mile Outboard Drag Boat Racing World Championship was held at Russo’s Landing in Morgan City.
According to race director Marvin Catrett, St. Mary Parish President Paul Naquin Jr. had been lobbying Deep South Racing Association President Jed Angelle to hold the race in Morgan City because of the number of spectators the area draws to the races.
This year, Angelle agreed and the finale of six races was held in Morgan City Sept. 21-23.
The world championship was part of the Evangeline Downs/Amelia Belle Casino Circuit with other stops along the racing circuit this year including Catahoula, Gulfport, Miss.; Mount Pleasant, Texas, and Butte La Rose.