The Advocate girls Star of Stars by sports

Athlete of the Year

Raegan Willis, Central

Willis lifted plenty of weight and proved she pulled her weight and then some in softball. She is a Star of Stars for the third time in powerlifting after winning the Division I 198-pound weight class with a total lift of 1,200 pounds, which included a 475-pound deadlift. Willis helped lead the Central softball team to the regional round of the 5A playoffs. She played catcher and batted .417 with five home runs and 34 RBIs.

Other Athlete of the Year finalists

Lauren Hendry, St. Joseph’s Academy

No one ran distance races better than Lauren Hendry in 2017-18. She led SJA to the Class 5A title in cross country, was Louisiana’s Gatorade Runner of the Year in cross country and set a three-mile school record of 17 minutes, 54.18 seconds. Hendry then won the Division I indoor 3,200 meters in 11:35.93 and was voted the Outstanding Performer at the LHSAA Outdoor meet in Class 5A with top times of 5:07.42 in the 1,600 meters and 11:07.30 in the 3,200.

Taylor Tidwell, St. Amant

A finalist for the second straight year. The LSU softball signee reduced her sports load for her senior year, opting to focus strictly on softball, and it paid huge dividends. Tidwell batted .598 and hit a single-season school record 17 home runs. She also had 53 RBIs and a 1.341 slugging percentage for a 30-3 St. Amant team. How powerful of a presence was Tidwell? More than half of the 44 walks she drew were intentional.

Star of stars by sport

Fran Okpalobi, St. Joseph’s Academy


Okpalobi was a driving force behind the Redstickers’ season that included a Division I, District 3 title and a runner-up finish in the LHSAA’s highest volleyball class, Division I. She led the SJA offensive attack with 280 kills. She also contributed 56 blocks.

Lauren Hendry, St. Joseph’s Academy

Cross country

Hendry established herself as Louisiana’s top girls runners by winning eight of 10 races while leading SJA to a second straight Class 5A title. She was the 5A individual champion, was selected as Gatorade’s Louisiana Runner of the Year and was the All-Metro MVP.

Jolee Liles, Parkview Baptist


Liles was the Capital City Swim League’s Outstanding Swimmer for the second straight year after setting a Division III record of 2 minutes, 2.21 seconds in the 200-yard individual medley, the top overall time at the LHSAA meet. She also had a top time of 4:58.08 in the 500 freestyle.

Alexius Horne, McKinley


Horne powered the Panthers to an LHSAA Division I runner-up finish for the second consecutive year and a co-champion finish in District 5-5A with Class 5A champion East Ascension. She averaged 21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists per game.

Meghan Johnson, St. Joseph’s Academy


Johnson was selected as the All-Metro MVP for Divisions I-II after leading the Redstickers to the regional playoff round. A two-time All-Metro player, she scored 30 goals and was the MVP for the East squad in the LHSCA All-Star game.

Raegan Willis, Central


Willis won Outstanding Lifter honors in Division I for the third time in four years at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Powerlifting meet. She had a total lift of 1,200 in the 198-pound division, with a personal best of 285 pounds in the bench press and a 475-pound deadlift.

Bailee Chapman, East Ascension


Chapman led the Spartans to their first semifinals berth and cemented her place as one of Louisiana’s top singles bowlers. A four-time district MVP, she had a regular-season average that ranked fourth in the state and finished third in the four-game singles final with an 807 score.

Taylor Tidwell, St. Amant


Want numbers? Tidwell compiled plenty of them. She batted .598 and hit a single-season school record 17 home runs. Tidwell also had 53 RBIs, a 1.341 slugging percentage and a .738 on-base percentage. She led the Gators to a 30-3 record.

Paige Duncan, Denham Springs


Duncan took on all comers in her first varsity season and won. And she did it impressively for the Yellow Jackets. Duncan compiled a 16-0 record and won Division I regional and state titles without losing a single set along the way.

Kendall Knaps, Dutchtown


Consistency was the key to Knaps’ performance at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Gymnastics meet. She placed second in the level 8 all-around competition with a total of 37.690 points. Included in that total were second-place finishes on balance beam and vault.

Kristian Jackson, Zachary


Already an LHSAA record-holder in the shot put, Jackson has again established herself as one of Louisiana’s top field events competitors. She has season bests of 44 feet, 7 inches in the shot put and 136-6 in the discus for the Broncos. She also won the Class 5A outdoor shot put championship.

Riely Heaslip, Episcopal


Consistency was among the reasons why Heaslip emerged as the area’s top girls competitor. She won the Metro tournament with a score of 78 and then excelled in LHSAA regional and state tournaments, placing fifth overall in Division II with a two-round score 161.

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