Natchez High School hosts track

Published 12:41 am Sunday, March 14, 2010

NATCHEZ — Eight teams made their way to Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium at Natchez High School Saturday morning.

However, these teams did not come to compete in a spring football jamboree. With the old, worn-down track surrounding the football field at Natchez replaced with a fresh new track, Natchez hosted its first meet since 2000.

“I think you can look at the participation and the fans and see how special this is,” said Fred Butcher, Natchez athletic director.

“Parents and fans came out to support us. I think our second meet will have even more people show up. This was more an experimental meet, and next time we’ll have more equipment.”

That equipment will allow Natchez to host a traditional meet, instead of simply a relay meet, which it did Saturday.

Butcher also pointed to the number of volunteers present Saturday as evidence of just how important this meet was to the community.

“We have about 30 people volunteering to help put the meet on,” he said. “That says a lot. I’m happy for Coach (Larry) Wesley. He coaches cross country, outdoor and indoor track, and works hard for us.”

Vicksburg, Amite County, Woodville, Jefferson County, Franklin County, Port Gibson, Madison Parish and Ferriday were all present at the meet along with Natchez — which meant everyone that said they would show up did show up, Wesley said.

“Just everyone being here makes this a successful meet,” Wesley said. “I think Natchez was hungry for track. The city has come out and supported us. Having a relay meet helps us let them know that track is back.”

Flora McKnight, the girls track coach for Jefferson County High School, said Natchez finally having a track helps not only Natchez High, but other local high schools as well.

“It’s wonderful to have (a track) as close to home as this one,” she said. “We’ll be coming back in the future. It’s convenient for us, because it keeps us from having to go far away, since we don’t have a track.”

Butcher said the participation from other schools around the area was great for that very reason.

“I think the reason we had such a good turnout is because everyone who said they would come came,” Butcher said. “A lot of these schools don’t have a track, and we can understand, because we’ve been in that situation for 10 years.”

Bulldogs football coach Lance Reed, who came out to the school Saturday, said it’s important for him to show support for Wesley and his program.

“A lot of my guys do track, which helps (me) tremendously, because speed is such a great equalizer on the football field,” Reed said. “We’ve been blessed with kids that can run really well, and it’s nice for them to be able to showcase their talent with Coach Wesley and his program.”