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Cathedral training for start of track season

Cathedral Head Track coach Tommy Smith starts a group of distance runners and holds one of the stopwatches he wears around his neck at Natchez High Schools’ track Monday evening.

One stop watch is for the long distance runners, who were running 800 meters at practice, and the second is for short distance runners, who were running 200 meters at practice.

Smith said the team has missed 10 days of practice because of weather, which set his team back as they still have not had time trials. He said they typically would have had already. The Green Wave runners are not fully oriented with track he said and they need to learn how to do relay exchanges and starting from a block start.

“After ten years of doing this I have learned you just have to roll with it,” Smith said. “We just make our adjustments. I think we will be fine. It is going to take a minute or two but I think we will be fine.“

He said he understands he is not the only coach faced with lost time for development. He lost additional development time last year when COVID-19 canceled track season after two meets.

Cathedral has a young team as he said he has just three returning girls in the short distance group. A mix of cross country runners and athletes from football and basketball make up the rest of the team.

The Green Wave has a lot of raw talent, he said, but it takes a lot of work to refine the talent. Track is more than just running he said it requires technique and the running knowledge to know you can do it.

He said he is trying to instill the idea of hard work along with the knowledge and technique. Runners get out what they put in, he said and his runners will have to work hard if they want to race in the state meet at the end of the season.

“Our goal at the beginning of the season is moving as many people across (to) the state meet as possible,” Smith said. “Once we get into our district and south state meets, it is a progression of the top four. The more you can move across. The more time they have to shine.”

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