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NHS track team getting in practice time

Natchez high school senior Tyler Williams gets in a little hurdling practice at the school’s track before the Christmas holidays. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — After a fall devoted to the football field, Natchez High School’s Tyler Williams has turned his attention to the track surrounding that field.

Williams and the rest of his teammates are gearing up for track season, beginning with the LSU indoor track meet Jan. 4-5.

“Right now we’re working on conditioning, and not so much the events,” said Williams, who competes in hurdles. “To get ready for future meets, we have to get our endurance up and get a feel for the track again.”

NHS track head coach Larry Wesley said the team has split time training on the track and inside the Steckler Multipurpose Building over the Christmas break. A focus on the basics is always the first thing on the agenda when track season starts, Wesley said.

“Track is different than other sports,” Wesley said. “We always have to go back and teach them.”

Indoor track season runs from December through February, followed immediately by outdoor season. Wesley said it’s always better for the athletes to have competed in either football or cross country before starting track workouts.

“For the ones who did, it’s an easy transition,” Wesley said. “For the ones who didn’t do anything physically, it’s tough.”

Williams said the team alternates between stamina, strength and speed exercises during its workouts.

“Some days we’ll run a mile, some days we’ll run 10 100-meter dashes, and other days we’ll run 2 miles,” Williams said. “We really mix it up.”

The team also spends time running the Natchez Trace, which is common during cross country season in the fall, but is also helpful for track, Williams said.

“You have to run it in a certain amount of time, and it (comes down to) how badly you want to keep going,” Williams said.

Personal goals for this season include making it to state individually and eventually winning state.

“I fell like I can do it if I put my mind to it,” Williams said.

In order to reach those goals, Williams said he plans to practice some every day, even if the team isn’t practicing.

“I have to keep myself going,” Williams said. “You can’t do anything if you’re lazy — that’s what my mom taught me. Quitting is not an option.”

Joy Cameron, the lone senior for the NHS girls track team, said she’s looking forward to the LSU meet coming up next month.

“It gets us ready for the outdoors season,” Cameron said. “I’ve been running track since ninth grade, and I learn something new ever year. This is my last year, so I want to start out strong.”

Cameron competes in the 55-meter dash, the hurdles, the triple jump and shot put for indoor track and the 100-meter hurdles, triple jump, shot put and discus throw in outdoor track. She said the LSU indoor meet should work to her advantage.

“It goes by fast, and I’m not a long-distance runner, so that’s an advantage for me,” she said. “I also like getting to meet new people.”

Cameron said she doesn’t feel like there’s too much pressure in Being the lone senior girl.

“Some of the girls look up to me, and I’m here to encourage them and try my best as well,” Cameron said.

 

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