LAKE CHARLES — A total of six St. Louis Catholic High School seniors have been recognized for their athletic achievements recently — two signing letters of intent and four others receiving LHSAA All-Academic Composite Team honors for maintaining a 4.00 unweighted GPA throughout their high school careers.
St. Louis senior golfer McKenzie LeDuff had to sign her letter of intent at home this year, but she still made her commitment to Alabama State University official despite the atypical circumstances surrounding COVID-19.
LeDuff won the 2019 Division I individual girls state championship and was hoping for a chance to defend her title before the LHSAA season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. But, LeDuff said Alabama State will be “her dream school” after she had the chance to tour the campus and meet coach Quincy Heard in February.
LeDuff’s mother and grandmother were with her when she signed her letter of intent at home on April 16, and they FaceTimed her grandparents in New Orleans. While it wasn’t the usual Saints celebration in the Commons because of the school closure, LeDuff remains grateful for all of her St. Louis Catholic High memories, especially under the direction of girls golf coach Sid Briscoe.
“If first met Mr. Briscoe the summer of fifth grade when I was really little,” LeDuff said. “He took my game from 6th-8th grade — he was my only coach, and in the eighth grade I went the entire middle school season undefeated. … So, in between 6th-8th grade, he’s the one who really got me started and got me serious.”
Track and field athlete Luke Benoit signed his letter of intent with the University of Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. Benoit said he can’t wait to continue the momentum of this season at St. Louis Catholic, though it was cut short due to COVID-19, at college in Lafayette.
Benoit said he visited ULL in November, and the school’s location and atmosphere made it appealing to the Grand Lake native.
“I wanted to get away from home, but not too far away,” he said. “There’s always something about Lafayette; it’s bigger than Lake Charles but not too big.”
Benoit said he has many fond memories of his one year at St. Louis — especially coach Johnny Giardina.
“I loved being on the 4 x 400 at St. Louis. I actually liked a relay for once because we had such a good team,” he said. “It was a big move for me from Grand Lake to here, especially for my senior year. At St. Louis, people were joining track because they actually wanted to win and try, and it pushed me, too. I wish Coach Johnny could come with me to college … There’s just something about him, how he’d chase you around the track and yell at you; it was awesome to be with him.”
Seniors Maggie Bruchhaus (tennis), Ethan Hebert (tennis), Carson Mixon (baseball), and Sophie Stine (track & field) are receiving All-Academic Composite Team honors for 2019-2020 from LHSAA for at least a second time this year. To earn Composite Team honors, a student-athlete must have an unweighted 4.00 GPA and cannot have a ‘B’ on their transcripts. Brucchaus (basketball), Hebert (cross country and soccer), Mixon (football) and Stine (volleyball) earned recognition for their academic and athletic achievements at prior LHSAA state events this year.
"We are very happy that these outstanding young men and women have been recognized again for their years of hard work in the classroom and in their athletic endeavors,” said St. Louis Catholic Athletic Director Pat Neck. “We are obviously very sad their seasons were cut short but know that they will all succeed in whatever their future plans are.”