Natchez High builds on track team with field events

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Natchez High School has claimed the South State title in track and field for the past three years, but according to assistant coach Kevin Campbell, there has been one thing missing from the Bulldogs taking home the state championship.

Campbell, who started working at Natchez High in January, has devoted the past few months to coaching the missing piece — field.

Kenisha Cogdell, Zharia Barnes, Tamaya Crawford, Danterrius Murray, Khalin Broadway and Jontayvious Thomas have all represented the Bulldogs in both shot put and discuss so far this season.

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“In the past, (Natchez) had small runners just come over and throw a shot. Now we have the bigger and stronger kids interested,” Campbell said. “In a state meet, every participant earns points for the team. Even if we sneak in an eighth-place person, it gets us one point. It may give us an opportunity to get a little bit further. The goal is to get them to state and see what happens”

While most of Natchez’s field event participants had little experience, Cogdell was the only one who had thrown a shot put before. For the girls, it weighs 8.8 pounds.

Her best throw this year was 30 feet, an 11-foot improvement from last season.

“We are always learning new things at practice,” Cogdell said. “I learned you can’t always do things by yourself. It means a lot to help the team.”

Campbell said to perfect a throw, it is important to use your entire body strength.

“Most of the training involves explosiveness and quick feet,” he said. “Right now we are focusing on just improving each week.”

Campbell also said each member of the team is excited to be improving their style of play, which has aided the Bulldogs greatly.

Of all the field contestants, the only senior is Murray.

“It makes it so much better when the kids love it,” Campbell said. “They have improved tremendously from the beginning of the year. I’m hoping they will  continue to practice over the summer and progress even more next year.”

Campbell hopes for the shot put and dicuss events to stay at Natchez for a long time, too. Currently, eighth-grader Leslie Lewis is also practicing with the team.

“You can’t expect to start as a junior and be your best as a senior,” he said. “I’m hoping they catch the track bug early.”