NHS hosts regional track meet

Published 12:01am Wednesday, April 17, 2013

NATCHEZ — Finishing second overall in the 3,200-meter run at her Class 1A regional meet was a bit of a shock for Cathedral High School freshman Abby Brown.

With most of her spring being focused on softball, Brown said she hadn’t run in a while prior to Tuesday’s meet at Natchez High School.

“(Head coach) Tommy (Smith) called me on Saturday and asked if I wanted to run,” she said.

Conditioning with softball and cheerleading helped keep Brown in running shape, and she was able to run alongside fellow softball player Kimble Devening, who finished first overall in the 3,200-meter run.

Natchez High School senior Amos James leaps into the air while competing in the triple-jump during the track meet at Natchez High School on Tuesday afternoon. (Jay Sowers \ The Natchez Democrat)
Natchez High School senior Amos James leaps into the air while competing in the triple-jump during the track meet at Natchez High School on Tuesday afternoon. (Jay Sowers \ The Natchez Democrat)

“We’re best friends, and I love to cheer her on and run with her,” Brown said. “It will be sad to see her leave next year (as a senior).”

NHS hosted the regional meets for the Mississippi High School Activities Association Classes 1A and 6A. Bulldogs track coach Larry Wesley said having a track at which to host meets helps promote track to locals.

“This is the second year we’ve been doing it,” Wesley said. “The good thing about having a track is drawing people in, and I’m not getting many complaints.”

The NHS boys and girls both won their region. One of Wesley’s standout athletes, senior Amos James, was looking to get one step closer to his goals: breaking the record for the 110- and 300-meter hurdles at the state meet. He placed first in those events — as well as the high jump and triple jump — at the regional meet.

“I just have to practice hard and give a lot of effort and dedication,” James said.

Wesley said James has been regularly placing high in meets this season, including first-place finishes at LSU, McNeese State and Jackson.

“I’ve just been giving it my best against new opponents, good or bad,” James said. “As long as you work hard, good things will come to you.”

James has come a long way since he first began running track as a sophomore, Wesley said.

“He went from not knowing anything about track to telling me track is an addiction,” Wesley said. “Every day he tells me he loves track.”

The NHS track team has done very well this year, placing in the top three in all of the meets they’ve attended, Wesley said. The difference, he said, has been having a home track.

“It gives us better morale, and people actually get a chance to see what our athletes can do,” Wesley said.

The Cathedral boys finished fourth overall in their regional track meet, while the girls finished third. Cathedral track coach Tommy Smith said his goal is to get as many of his athletes to qualify for state as possible, but with a number of them doing several different sports, it’s not always easy to get them out for track.

“We’re just using everything we’ve got,” Smith said. “We’re depending heavily on a few sprinters and most of our distance guys to get us some points.”

Even though Brown and Devening are also occupied with softball, Smith said he was impressed with their finish.

“They’re pretty driven athletes, and they want to compete in everything they can,” Smith said. “I take them when I can get them, Hopefully we can move them forward, because they have the potential to make it all the way to state.”