NHS ready to host district meetsPublished 12:01am Tuesday, April 17, 2012
NATCHEZ — Natchez High School’s Amos James and Shanika Pernell are both looking to retain titles today when Natchez hosts three district meets at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium.
James, a junior, and Pernell, a freshman, both finished first in every event in which they participated at last year’s district meet, and both have high expectations to do so again this year.
“I expect for us to win district,” James said. “We’re just looking for everybody to run hard and practice hard, and if we do that in district we will be good.”
Pernell said she is familiar with some of her competition on teams in MHSAA Region 6-6A, and she knows each team is gunning for the Bulldogs.
“They like to try to beat Natchez,” she said.
But Pernell said she believes Natchez coach Larry Wesley has the Bulldogs ready.
“We are in good hands with coach (Wesley),” she said. “If we do what he tells us we’re going to make it.”
Wesley said the district meet is the beginning of the track and field postseason for Natchez.
“Meets like this are the playoffs,” he said. “Coaches are always shaky and always want to compete in meets like this.”
Wesley said he has been pushing his runners to understand the importance of this meet, and he hopes that the Bulldogs will be focused by 3 p.m. today when the meet starts.
Wesley said the top four finishers in each district event will qualify for the regional meet April 28 in Meridian.
James said the district meet is an important first step toward a state championship.
“This is where it starts,” James said.
In addition to Region 6-6A, two other regions will have their meets at Natchez High today as well. Region 7-3A, which includes Franklin County, Jefferson County and Wilkinson County, will be at Natchez High today. Region 7-1A, which includes Cathedral School, will also compete at Natchez.
Wesley said having so many teams competing is a big boost for Natchez track and field.
“It’s always good for the city,” Wesley said. “It’s good to get visitors to enjoy our hospitality, get students where they can see what track and field is about and allow parents to get the chance to see their children.”
Wesley said the meet is scheduled for today and Thursday, but if weather gets in the way today, it will be pushed to Wednesday and Friday.