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NHS track teammates sign to play for Mississippi Valley

Mary Kathryn Carpenter | The Natchez Democrat  — Natchez High School seniors Asia Smith, left, and Rosalyn Doss sit with coach Larry Wesley after signing track scholarships to Mississippi Valley State University Tuesday afternoon.
Mary Kathryn Carpenter | The Natchez Democrat
— Natchez High School seniors Asia Smith, left, and Rosalyn Doss sit with coach Larry Wesley after signing track scholarships to Mississippi Valley State University Tuesday afternoon.

NATCHEZ — Natchez High School’s Asia Smith and Rosalyn Doss didn’t even know each other’s names three years ago.

But in just a few months, each Natchez track athlete will advance their running careers at Mississippi Valley State University thanks to track scholarships.

Both hoped for the opportunity, but Smith coveted running in front of people since she was a little girl. A televised broadcast of the Olympics inspired her.

“When I watched the Olympics, I would get excited and say, ‘I want to get there one day,’” Smith said.

It was Smith’s desire that encouraged her to join the Central High School track team in Beaumont, Texas, but then Smith’s path went off course, as she navigated to Natchez High School as a sophomore. There, she met track coach Larry Wesley, and both challenged each other’s sass.

“Me and (Wesley) used to argue every day, well, we still argue every day,” Smith said. “He would just tell me that I needed to push myself. I would just be like, ‘I’m going to prove him wrong. I’m going to do better.’”

Countless arguments later, Wesley sat between Smith and Doss with a huge grin, as both of his track seniors accepted scholarships from Mississippi Valley.

“Both of those young ladies ran indoor and outdoor, so they deserve what they’re receiving right now,” Wesley said. “It’s sort of like a payoff for the effort they put in.”

Near begrudgingly and admittedly, Smith has Wesley to thank for an opportunity to run track at the next level. Because of his relationship with college coaches, Wesley is able to bring a few names to different coaches. Wesley said the coaches listen to him because of how well his past athletes have done, and they usually come back to him for more athletes.

“Over the years, these coaches have grown to like the talent I send them,” Wesley said.

Doss’ hard work paid off not only with the scholarship she received, but she also saw her work ethic rewarded by competing at state, as Natchez High took home the 5A South State Championship this year.

Doss tested herself and liked the results.

“It showed my growth,” Doss said. “Qualifying for state this year when I didn’t last year showed that I grew, and I was happy about that.”

Unlike Smith, Doss didn’t always want to be a runner. In fact, it was a challenge that stemmed from her mother that fueled her passion for track.

“It originally started when my mom told me I couldn’t run in ninth grade, and I told her, ‘I am going to run,’” Doss said. “I fell in love with it, and I just got better and better.”

In their own separate way, Doss and Smith were challenged to better themselves at local track meets during their high school careers. Come this fall, both will be challenged similarly on a new campus and on a new team.

Smith is the daughter of Lutille Cornwell and plans to enter the criminal justice field, while Doss is the daughter of Kizzy Nichols and plans to pursue the medical field.

 

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