Leesville sweeps Vernon Parish Relays; Rosepine claims runner-up

By WILL NORRIS

BWS Sports

Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo Anacoco eighth-grader Sophia Swinney (left) and Leesville freshman Keeton Johnson were the Outstanding Track winners recently at the Vernon Parish Relays. Johnson won the three distance events, while Swinney won the 800-meter run and the 300-meter hurdles.

LEESVILLE – The Leesville Wampus Cats flexed their muscle on the track recently in the annual Vernon Parish Relays, easily running away from the field to win the team title.

Sparked by Outstanding Track performer Keeton Johnson, Leesville finished with a total of 242 points, easily outdistancing Rosepine, which was runner-up with 89 points. Anacoco was third with 79 points, while Hornbeck and Hicks were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Johnson claimed first place in the 800-meter run, the 1,600-meter run and the 3,200-meter run to lead the Wampus Cats to the team title. Additionally on the track, Caleb Gallashaw won the 100-meter dash, Derek Beebe claimed the 200-meter dash, Taj Jackson won the 400-meter dash, Frank Ford was the winner of the 110-meter high hurdles and the 400-meter, 800-meter and 3,200-meter relay teams were victorious as well.

The only other schools to claim first place on the track in the boys division was Rosepine in the 1,600-meter relay and the 300-meter hurdles, which was captured by Evans runner, Caleb Williams.

On the girls’ side, the Lady Cats were able to claim the team title with 168 points, with Rosepine and Anacoco coming in second and third with 148 and 106 points, respectively. Hornbeck took fourth overall, while Pickering claimed fifth place.

Rosepine’s Amaya Shine took first in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes, while finishing second to Leesville’s Ariyah Green in the 400-meter dash.

Anacoco’s Sophia Swinney, the girls’ Outstanding Track winner, won both the 800-meter run and the 300-meter hurdles, while Leesville standout Lina Mills-Zacapa won both the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters.

Leesville’s Felisa Robinson won the 100-meter hurdles, while Leesville won the 400-meter and 800-meter relays. Rosepine claimed top honors in the mile and 2-mile relay.

In the field, Hicks standout Conner Harper won the high jump, long jump and triple jump titles to take home Outstanding Field honors. Rosepine’s Austin Puckett won the pole vault, while Lance Grafton of Anacoco won the boys discus. Leesville’s Trey Marsh took the javelin title, while teammate Jaymeion Henderson won the shot put.

In the girls’ field events, Leesville’s Arrianna Leonard was the Outstanding Field performer as she won both the long jump and triple jump. Her teammate, Blyss Ault, won the high jump competition, while Anacoco Lauren Hunnicutt won the discus.

The girls’ pole vault title went to Rosepine’s Hanzel Cortez, while Pitkin eighth-grader Natalee Nolen won the javelin. Pickering’s MyKia Freeney was the winner in the girls’ shot put.

Lady Cats claim state runner-up; Haug, Robinson win titles

By DANIEL GREEN

BWS Sports

MONROE – It was a performance to remember.

After falling short just a season ago, Leesville senior Seth Haug was determined to come back and make an impact.

He did just that.

Haug lifted a total of 1,315 pounds to edge out Bolton’s Burt Bullitts by five pounds to win the 242 weight class in the Division II State Powerlifting Championships held last weekend at Fant-Ewing Coliseum on the campus of Louisiana-Monroe.

Haug was the lone Wampus Cat to make the podium as he claimed the gold in his division. However, the Lady Cats not only brought home a state runner-up trophy for a second straight year, but they also had five lifters make the podium as Chloe Robinson was a state champion in the 181-pound class, while Celine Chavez, Rebecca Fournier, Lyasia Holloway and Rylei Taylor were all runners-up in their respective divisions.

As a team, the Lady Cats racked up 35 points in the meet, finishing just three points behind state champion Tioga, which finished with 38 points.

Courtesy Photos by TARA BEEBE Leesville senior Seth Haug is a picture of concentration and grit as he prepares to power up the bar during the squat competition at the state powerlifting championships last weekend in Monroe. Haug won the 242-pound class in the Division II meet. The Leesville Lady Cats, sparked by a gold medal from Chloe Robinson and silvers from Rebecca Fournier, Celine Chavez, Lyasia Holloway and Rylei Taylor, claimed the Division II state runner-up trophy for a second straight year.

Robinson garnered first place in the 181-pound class with a total lift of 820 points. Fournier, competing at 105, lifted a total of 490 pounds for second place, while Chavez was the silver medalist in the 114 class with a total weight of 625 pounds.

Holloway was the runner-up in the 165 division with a total weight of 715 pounds, while Taylor rounded out the top finishers for Leesville with a total weight lifted of 750 pounds as she competed in the 220 division.

The Rosepine Eagles were also represented during the 3-day event in Monroe as they finished seventh as a team in the Division IV competition, which was won for a second straight year by the Many Tigers.

Tristen Nolen, Collin Gill and Jesse Parker all won bronze medals in the respective weight classes. Nolen lifted a total of 1,085 pounds to take third in the 148 class, while Gill hoisted a total of 1,250 pounds in the 275 class. Parker rounded out the Rosepine finishers by taking third in the superheavyweight division with a total of 1,230 pounds.

Photos courtesy of TARA BEEBE

Leesville senior Seth Haug is a picture of concentration and grit as he prepares to power up the bar during the squat competition at the state powerlifting championships last weekend in Monroe. Haug won the 242-pound class in the Division II meet. The Leesville Lady Cats, sparked by a gold medal from Chloe Robinson and silvers from Rebecca Fournier, Celine Chavez, Lyasia Holloway and Rylei Taylor, claimed the Division II state runner-up trophy for a second straight year.

$7.5 Million Campus Connections and Learning Spaces Underway

By Tammy Sharp

February 28, 2022

LEESVILLE, LA.–According to Tim Ward, finance director of the Vernon Parish School District, construction has begun on a $7.5 million project to develop technology-enhanced learning centers at five Vernon Parish schools. 

In the fall of 2020, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the U.S. Department of Defense had awarded Defense Community Infrastructure Program (DCIP) funds to build the centers at schools that serve thousands of families supported by the U.S. Army’s Fort Polk.

“There has been work done on all 5 campuses within the project,” said Ward. 

A pilot program, DCIP addresses quality of life enhancements in military communities. 

The Campus Connections and Learning Spaces project will provide children of military and civilian families with state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor learning environments that feature wireless communications, digital displays and interactive learning tools.

Louisiana Economic Development provided a 10 percent match for the Department of Defense award, which will enhance Leesville High, Leesville Junior High, Pickering High, Pickering Elementary and Vernon Middle schools.

Ward said that Leesville High School has the two pads in place for the technology and the STEAM building. STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The contractor is waiting on delivery of the building materials which is scheduled for early March, Ward added. 

Leesville Junior High has the two pads in place for the technology and the STEAM building as well and is awaiting the delivery of building materials. Also the pad has been poured for the outdoor learning center at the Junior High.

Dirt work has begun at Vernon Middle School and at Pickering High and Pickering Elementary for their pads for the two buildings. Also preliminary work on the access road for parent dropoff has started at Vernon Middle School.

Security cameras have been installed at all five locations and the sign for Leesville Junior High has been ordered.

The $7.5 million Campus Connections and Learning Project is the most significant Fort Polk education investment since the establishment of Parkway Elementary. That $20 million school replaced South Polk Elementary and opened in 2016 following a $16 million commitment by the Defense Department’s Office of Economic Adjustment, a $3 million match from the Vernon Parish School Board and $1 million from the State of Louisiana.