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CHS’s Latham wins first in Natchez High Invitational

Published 12:01am Friday, September 13, 2013

NATCHEZ — Peyton Latham rounded the final arc before the finish line with first place in his sights.

But West Lincoln’s Matthew Allred rounded the same arc at a slightly more narrow angle, allowing him to move into first place and cross the finish line first.

Initially, Latham, a Cathedral High School junior cross country runner, thought he finished in second Thursday afternoon at the Natchez High School invitational. Ultimately, Allred was bumped into second place because of his incorrect cut across the course. Latham was awarded first place with a time of 20:21.

“I feel very accomplished,” Latham said afterward. “I’ve trained myself hard, and everything just kind of fell into place.”

The Cathedral varsity boys finished second as a team in the meet with 54 points, with NHS placing first with 33 points. West Lincoln, Jefferson County, McComb and Brookhaven also competed in the meet.

Green Wave head coach Tommy Smith said he was proud of his team’s work, and also said Latham has been a great leader on the squad.

“He’s been putting in extra miles on days we’re not even running,” Smith said. “I held him back a bit because we have to run Saturday, and he still did really well.”

Latham said he began the run a bit toward the middle of the pack. The course began with a loop around the NHS track, followed by a run up to the Natchez Trace for 3 miles before turning around and making it back to the track for one final loop. The second half of the run, Latham said he began to gradually make his way toward the front.

“My coach calls it head hunting,” Latham said. “You focus on someone 30 to 40 yards ahead of you and try to catch them, then you keep doing it until you reach the front of the pack.”

The two local schools also finished in first and second place in the varsity girls run, with Cathedral topped out at 43 points, followed by NHS at 48 points. NHS junior Kenya Davis placed first overall individually with a time of 15:33. The girls’ course on the Natchez Trace was 2 miles.

“I was in the lead the whole time,” Davis said afterward. “Since we run so much, I have my own pace and know not to run too fast.”

Davis said head coach Larry Wesley is the reason she’s been able to run at such a good pace and not tire out.

“He pushes me,” Davis said.

Wesley said Davis has been running for him since she was in middle school and is one of his top cross country girls.

“She’s placed first for us the last three meets,” Wesley said. “I guess it’s the will to win plus the experience.”