Shreve’s Stevenson brings home LHSAA gold

SHREVE SPEEDSTER: Marquez Stevenson of Captain Shreve outran the field Saturday to win his first state title in the 400 meters at the LHSAA Indoor Championships.

By JERRY BYRD JR., Journal Sports

Captain Shreve sprinter Marquez “Macho” Stevenson came into the 2022 LHSAA State Indoor Championships with quite the resume’. For starters, he was the only current competitor in the state who had broken the 50-second barrier over 400 meters.

However, there was one glaring omission — a state championship.

Only a junior, Stevenson can now check the “state champion” box off his “To Do” list. He won in 48.93. a time that puts him No. 23 on the national list of top prep indoor marks for 2022.

Last spring, Stevenson arrived on the track and field scene after basketball season and quickly made his way from one of the best in 2021 to one of the area’s best — ever.

He took third at the LHSAA Outdoor Championships (48.57) in early May. A couple months later, he carved nearly two seconds off his personal record. Stevenson clocked 46.85 at the AAU Junior Olympics in Humble, Texas, moving past Mansfield’s Jerry Wilson’s 46.91 to the top of the all-time Caddo-Bossier performance list.

On Saturday, Stevenson had bigger goals than a gold medal.

“I wanted to break the (state meet) record,” Stevenson said. “But I came up short. I put this race in God’s hands. I just went out and ran.”

The Division I record in the 400 is 48.29 was set in 2018 by Zachary’s Sean Burrell, who won a national championship in the 400 hurdles for LSU last spring. The LHSAA Indoor State Composite record is 48.15 set by J.S. Clark’s Ashton Collins in 2001.

Captain Shreve football offensive coordinator Adam Kirby stood at the rail watching his wide receiver as he LHSAA director Eddie Bonine placed the gold medal around Stevenson’s neck.

“I’ve never coached an athlete that fast,” Kirby said, an ominous statement for Gator foes this fall.

At this point there are only three or four coaches in the state who have, but none in Northwest Louisiana.

Stevenson was appreciative of Kirby and other coaches traveling to Baton Rouge to watch him compete.

And also thankful for the efforts of his mother, Alecima Stevenson, who along with an army of supporters who casts 37,527 votes for MileSplit Louisiana’s Performer of the Week last week.

“It means a lot,” Stevenson said of the support. “It shows that people are looking out for me.”

Other area state champions included Northwestern State signee Peyten Ware of North Webster, who vaulted 11-1.75. Ware also finished fourth in the Division II long jump with a best of 16-7.25.

As Ware stepped off the podium, she crossed the track at the Carl Maddox Fieldhouse to hug her father, North Webster head football coach John Ware.

“He cried,” Ware said of her father during the hug. “He probably won’t like me saying that, but he cried. This was my biggest dream, and his.”

Another area state champion was Mansfield’s Jayden Youngblood, who is the first indoor state champion in school history for the Wolverines. Youngblood won the Division II 60 meter hurdles with a time of 8.31.

While she didn’t win a state championship, Huntington sophomore Demetria Harris did score 16 points with two second-place finishes. Harris finished second in the 60 hurdles (8.78) and 60 meters (7.76).

The 60 meter hurdles race was fast. Scotlandville sophomore Makeriah Harris won (8.60), Harris was second and Ruston’s Bryanna Craig finished third (8.82). They rank among the top 13 girls hurdlers in the nation.

Photo:  by KYLE VALDEZ/Milesplit