Natchez track team to compete in prestigious event

Published 12:06 am Friday, January 11, 2008

NATCHEZ — The team might be small, and it might be young, but coach Larry Wesley says he expects good things from the Natchez High track team as they compete in the LSU High School Indoor Classic track and field meet today and tomorrow.

“I expect the girls to do well,” Wesley said. “This meet is a measuring stick for the team. We’ll know how competitive we’re going to be when we get down there for the first race.”

Wesley is taking six track athletes to the event, five girls and one boy. The girls competing are Jasmine Strauder, Jessica Gails, Sierra Bates, Pamela Selmon and Alicia Wimley. Denzel Fort is the only boy representing Natchez High in the event.

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“This is the smallest team I’ve ever taken down there,” Wesley said. “I expect us to do well because I’ve put in more quality time with them.”

Wesley said the event is one of the top indoor meets in the region, with high school and track club teams coming from across the South.

Despite that fact, Natchez High has traditionally done well in the event, placing in the top five the past two years.

Two of the top track athletes who will represent Natchez at the event are Gails and Wimley.

Both performed well in the event last year and ran USA Track over the summer to improve their technique.

Both also have plenty of time to improve as well, as Gails is a junior while Wimley is just a sophomore.

“I look for them to do well,” Wesley said. “They’ve paid their dues.”

Gails is best at the sprint events while Wimley’s specialty is the long jump and triple jump.

“(Wimley) made the finals at both the triple jump and hurdles at the state meet last year,” Wesley said. “I look for her to do well in both events because of her height. She’s grown up a lot and I look for big things out of her in the years to come.”

The two girls say they are looking forward to competing in the LSU event, even if it gives them some jitters.

“It’s nerve wracking,” Gails said. “But I went last year and got used to it so I expect good things this year. My goal is to make the finals.”

“I know there will be tough competition, so we’ll have to go out there and do our best,” Wimley added.

The two girls have a motto which they learned from competing with USA Track this summer which they can use to help them in the LSU event.

“We always strive to be elite,” Wimley said. “That’s what we try to do.”