By Trent Friedel, exclusive to the Times
Saint Mary’s hosted their annual all sports banquet Monday, May 7 in the school gymnasium. The event included a buffet provided by Maison Louisiane catering and recognition of participants in each of the sports offered at the school. Father Brian Seiler served as Master of Ceremonies and his quick wit was well received. Each coach and their assistants presented awards for their players that made notable contributions this season. Where do you start with a group of athletes who have achieved so much during the 2017-18 season and for many a culmination of their four years suiting up for the Tigers? This year alone had a football team that ascended to a semi-final game, a basketball team that played for a State title and emerged as State runner-up, a powerlifting team that also placed second in State, a softball team that returned to Sulphur in quarterfinal play and a Lady Tiger basketball team that reached quarterfinal action also. That’s just the icing on a sweet cake of success for Saint Mary’s.
First up was coach Tom Collins and the Lady Tiger basketball team. Getting recognition were Sarah Gilmore and MaKenzie Methvin as an all-district selection, Ragan Hale for her notable shooting and Jensen Parker as defense player of the year. The group had a great year and they look to rebuild with some young talent next season. The Tigers, under coach Jason Kern, made it to the dance and came up just shy of the coveted bling. The boys had a stellar season and getting recognition were the following: Ryan Sampite received the Tiger award for a senior who didn’t see the court much but was always working to make the team better. Bailey Shelton, who transitioned this season into the team’s defensive worker bee, had the task of guarding the opposition’s best player each week. Jared Elie, the premier ball handler and shooter, Patrick Walker, added valuable bench minutes and points. Wes Manuel and Aaron Howell in the low post.
Last, but not least the big man in the middle, Thomas Howell. Team offensive MVP, All-district MVP, CENLA area first team selection, Shreveport Times all area fist team and first team All-State. The future is very bright for this young man. Coach Kern will be departing but he has left a mark on this program. Boys and girls golf was highlighted next. The girls team returned to action after a couple of years off. They have a young group that looks to improve next season. The boys again returned to State finals action and placed well with the perennial Bailey Shelton teeing it up for the Tigers.
He had help from teammates Caleb Snody and Kale Eversall. Cross Country was next up for recognition as coach Gracie Hubley highlighted the runners and their season. Jensen Parker led the ladies in their races. Powerlifting finished second as a team in State competition and had several State Champions in multiple weight classes. The girls had notable performances from Hannah Deranger and Anna Kate Jackson. Madison Lester was crowned State Champion. The boys were led by State Champions Matt Nelson, Matthew Thibodaux and Damon LaGrande. David Thibodaux finished a close second, but he and brother Matthew were entered in the newly formed quarter ton club. Each of them recorded meet totals of over 1,500 lbs. Tennis was next up and Coach Willie Paz had several players make it to State competition. Sarah Gilmore reached quarterfinal action and the doubles team of George Ingrish and Dylan Bennett made it to the second round.
The cheer and Tigerline groups were highlighted next and Brooke Fair gave an emotional speech thanking her kids for the support and the friendship of the Saint Mary’s family this year. The cheerleaders attend an annual cheer camp and they place high each year and receive several spirit awards. The Tigerline is a small group but brings energy each week at football games. Father Seiler proclaimed himself an honorary Tigerline member and promised to return next year in dancing support of the gridiron Tigers. Coach Stephen Wren re-capped the Tiger softball season. The ladies only lost six games this season and made a return trip to Sulphur for the State tournament. They reached the quarterfinal game before being retired from action. The co-district champion Tigers had many players garner district recognition including Reagan Davis, Ragan Hale, Kelsie Ward, Lauren Vienne, Chloe Longlois, MaKenzie Methvin, Olivia Miller and Meredith Matt. First year coach Brooks McMinn and his assistants awarded several accolades upon the baseball team. The team struggled this season but still had some highlights. Getting recognition were Slade Bienvenu, Stephen Mayeux, Zach White and Graeme Fidelak won the Tiger award. It’s often said there is no I in team but the swim team, yes swim team, is a team of one. Sierra Peznel is the one individual who represented Saint Mary’s swimming this season. The track and field team was recognized by coach Corwyn Aldredge and several athletes made the district team and competed in regionals.
Matthew Thibodaux for discus, Damon LaGrande for discus and shot put, Katie Aldredge for javelin and Jensen Parker for the 800 meter. Jensen finished fifth in State competition and is only a freshman. Football was reserved for last honors and they had a plethora of accolades to bestow upon the team. The team garnered several first and second team all-district honors. Several players were recognized including Nick Torrent at defensive back, Slade Bienvenu and Wes Manuel at linebacker, Clayton Jackson on the defensive line and Jeremy Friedel as a defense utility player. On the offensive side of the ball Jay Parker at receiver, Bailey Shelton as an all-purpose player and most dangerous with the ball on punt and kickoff return, Matt Nelson at running back and David Thibodaux and Zach White on the offensive line. Jace Noble received the big hit award this season.
The offensive player with the most recognition was Aaron Howell, quarterback offensive MVP, all-district first team and Alexandria Town Talk all-area team to name a few. Two awards that are given annually that deserve attention are the William McKnight award and the Grant Ingram memorial scholarship.
The recipient of the McKnight award was David Thibodaux and the Ingram scholarship was awarded to Brock Zeigler.