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NHS track to host Junior Olympics event

NATCHEZ — “Track is back” has become a popular mantra for Natchez High Track coach Larry Wesley ever since the school got a new track.

Perhaps he should amend that slogan to say, “Junior Olympic track is back.”

Next weekend, the NHS will host a sub-district Junior Olympic track meet, with field events beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and track events starting at 10 a.m.

It will be the first time for Natchez to host a Junior Olympic track meet in more than 10 years, but Charlie Floyd, who’s leading the event, said having it in Natchez was too good an opportunity to pass up.

“They have great facilities, and this is a track town,” Floyd said. “I’ve been talking to a lot of people, and they said the wanted to help bring track back. I used to coach against Natchez High, and I used to love coming here for a meet.”

People as young as 5 up through adult ages can participate, Floyd said. Participants must be registered with USA Track & Field, and applications for the organization can be found online at www.usatf.org. A USATF registration comes with a membership card and costs $20. There is a $6 registration fee for the meet itself, and the registration deadline is Wednesday.

Floyd, the former track coach at Amite County High School, said the new NHS track would be perfect for a junior Olympic meet.

“It’s really outstanding. It has a good surface, and it’s a fast track. I think we’ll have some fast times,” Floyd said.

Wesley said Natchez should benefit from hosting a Junior Olympic sub-district meet, not just in terms of promoting track, but also economically.

“The city will make money, because people will stay in hotels and go eat at restaurants,” Wesley said. “It also gives people a chance to come out and see summer track and field.”

Wesley also said three of his athletes — Amos James, Thomas Hawkins and Ramon Jackson — will compete in the meet.

“It motivates them going into a new school year,” Wesley said. “Each and every year, people want stuff to do, and now they can do track and field in the summer. It may be hot, but it’ll be good.”

Wesley also agreed with Floyd’s sentiments that Natchez is a good town to host a track meet.

“It really is a track town,” Wesley said. “We’ve had great athletes in track for a long time, and it’s good to get the community re-energized about track.”

For more information, call Floyd at 601-810-4887.