The spring sports season has been a fruitful one for two Vandebilt Catholic teams.
In the past month, the school’s boys’ tennis and boys’ bowling teams have each taken home State Championship honors – the first-ever bowling title for the school.
TENNIS WINS ANOTHER STATE TITLE
For the second time in the last four seasons, Vandebilt Catholic’s boys’ tennis team took home the Division II State Championship. The Terriers scored 14 points to take the championship, defeating second-place St. Michael of Baton Rouge (10 points).
The championship matches were held at Heard Stadium at the University of Louisiana-Monroe on Wednesday, April 30.
It was the boys’ seventh State Championship in school history, according to Terriers coach Jake Clements, who won a state title as a player and graduated from the school in 2009.
“We had one senior, one junior, and three freshmen and three sophomores, so at the beginning of the year, it was a lot of figuring out what we had and what worked best with each other,” said Clements, now in his second season as Vandebilt coach.
“We finally decided on our lineup for the regional and state tournament about three weeks before. It was a little risky for sure, but I knew that we had a lot of talent and we just needed to find out what really meshed. We found that, and we had a really great run at State.”
The Terriers presented an all-Vandebilt doubles final as Mason Melancon and Connor Doyle defeated teammates Reese Dantin and Jacob Fournier, 6-4, 6-0 in the doubles bracket.
In singles play action, Vandebilt’s Mitchell Thomas advanced to the final round against eventual State Champion Cameron Andry of St. Michael’s before falling, 6-1, 6-2.
“Those five guys, they basically called up 13 points for us and second place was 10 points,” Clements said. “Our guys really stepped up and they carried us through.”
While it took Vandebilt awhile to get back to a championship level after their previous state title in 2011, Clements said it was all worth it to see the team come together as they did in Monroe.
“From that 2011 team, I think we graduated six starters, so it has been a rebuilding process,” Clements said. “But when it ends like this and you finally finish that rebuild and get back to the top, it’s very rewarding.”
BOYS’ BOWLING WINS FIRST-EVER STATE TITLE
The Terriers’ boys’ bowling team, the No. 1 seed in the LHSAA State Tournament, defeated No. 2 seeded Barbe in the State Finals match back on April 12 at All-Star Lanes in Baton Rouge.
Vandebilt won the match by a combined score of 23-4 in the three sets.
They survived a difficult match with No. 3-seeded Jesuit in the semifinal round, winning 15-12 to advance to the State Finals, where they disposed of Barbe after taking the first set, 8-0.
Terriers coach Steve Theriot said the boys’ team drew inspiration from the school’s girls’ team, which took home the State Championship in their field a year earlier. Vandebilt’s girls fell in the Championship Game of the tournament this year to Albany, 15-12.
“The boys learned a lot last year because the girls really acted as a team,” Theriot said. “It really turned the boys around this year. They really didn’t care which one bowled in which spot. They cared about winning team events and going to State and that’s what they did.”
Vandebilt was led by Jacob Arceneaux and Trevor Adams. Arceneaux won the Silver medal in the singles division with a 224 average while Adams (214) won the Bronze medal.
“It was an unbelievable feeling when we won,” said Adams, a senior who only took up bowling just 18 months earlier. “In our semifinal game against Jesuit, throughout the third game we just came together as a team. After we beat Jesuit in that close game, we knew that when we played Barbe, we had it. We were so close as a team after the win against Jesuit that nothing could stop us.”
Theriot said that while Adams and Arceneaux stood out, it took more than just the efforts of those two players.
“I can’t say they carried the team, because all of them did. All 10 of my bowlers really did an outstanding job,” Theriot said. “They all participated well. If one of them wasn’t bowling well, the others picked them up. It just so happened that on that day, (Adams and Arceneaux) bowled extremely well. As a team, we averaged about a 190 (score) all year long and that’s what won the state title. If one bowler had a bad game, the other picked them up.”
The championship was the first in school history for Vandebilt’s boys, which finished the year with an unbeaten 17-0 record.
The Vandebilt Catholic High School boys’ tennis team poses after winning the Division II State Championship. The title was the seventh in the history of the program. Coach Jake Clements said he was proud of the effort his team made to reach the top.