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Track: Cajuns’ Lemaire scores

Kaplan native grabs sixth-place finish in 10,000-meter run.

Dan McDonald

The University of Louisiana’s Justin Lemaire and Joshua Falgout provided the Ragin’ Cajuns with their first points of the Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships late Friday.
Lemaire took a sixth-place finish in the grueling 10,000-meter run in a 32:51.27 time in his last 10K at Cajun Track, while Falgout finished one spot behind with a 33:05.98 clocking.

Lemaire, a senior from Kaplan, narrowly missed his personal best of 32:40 he ran at last year’s Louisiana Classics meet.

“All I wanted to do was score,” Lemaire said. “For cross country the competition was really stiff, so I just wanted to place somewhere. I felt really good, and the weather was the best you could ask for…no humidity and cool.”
The two gave the Cajuns five points after the first day, which included two men’s and two women’s finals. South Alabama runners went 1-2 with Vincent Rono first in 29:04.04 – believed to be the best 10,000-meter time ever in Louisiana – and Tonny Okello was second in 29:07.38.

“Two places and five points were more than I was hoping,” said UL distance coach Tim Lemaire. “I’m really pleased with that. Justin ran well and Josh had a PR.”

FIRST IN LINE: Florida International’s Joeane Jadotte became the league’s first champion this year, winning the women’s discus Friday afternoon with a 141-11 effort.
Jadotte, the Sun Belt leader with a best of 163-2 this year, had a sub-par day and trailed Troy’s Monique Jordan (140-6) with one throw left before uncorking her winning throw.

“I felt good in warmup,” Jadotte said, “but I struggled after we got started. My coach pulled me aside and said I was going through too fast. My last throw didn’t feel great, but a win is a win and it’s 10 points toward that ring.”

MULTI-EVENTS: North Texas’ Deidra Wesley and Matt VanZandt of Troy hold solid leads after Friday’s first day of activity in the heptathlon and decathlon, respectively.
Wesley, who won the Sun Belt indoor pentathlon title in February, had the best mark among the 13 heptathletes in three of Friday’s four events and takes a total of 3,233 points into today’s final three events. She has a 125-point lead over defending champion Florence Edi of South Alabama (3,108).

Wesley, who did not compete in last year’s league meet due to injury, had the best times in both the 100-meter hurdles (14.55) and the 200-meter (25.61) and also had a best of 5-9 3/4 in the high jump which was good for 941 points. She is tied for the league’s top mark in the high jump this year at 5-10.

“It was tough last year to just watch,” Wesley said, “but it was good that Florence won since we’re friends.”

Wesley’s biggest problem Friday was killing time before the high jump, since she didn’t enter the competition until most of the competitors had finished. The next-best mark from the field was 5-6, and Wesley narrowly missed her attempts at 5-11.

“It was probably an hour and a half after the hurdles before I jumped,” she said. “It’s hard to stay in a hyped-up state of mind. I kept nicking 5-11 with my heels. That’s the height I want to get before regionals.”

VanZandt, who has a league-leading 6,883 total he assembled at the Alabama Relays in late March, used running-event success on his way to 3,623 first-day points. The senior opened up with a best mark of 11.22 in the 100-meter for 812 points and ended the first day with a 49.01 mark in the 400-meter for 861 points, with both marks the best in the eight-decathlete field.

Arkansas State’s B. J. Parish also had the day’s top mark in two events and is less than 100 points behind VanZandt with 3,535. Mike Conley of UNO stands well back in third at 3,289.

Parish had a field-best 21-2 1/2 in the long jump and 40-4 3/4 in the shot put and held the lead after four events before finishing nearly three seconds behind VanZandt in the 400.

Originally published May 13, 2006