Jacoby Smith and Quvarius Robertson practice relays on Wednesday in preparation for today's Class 5A State track meet in Pearl. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
Kate Mattox is in good position to help the Starkville High School girls' track and field team.
The girls' and the boys' team both compete at the Class 5A State meet today at Pearl High School.
"All the glory goes to God," Mattox said.
Mattox, a 7th grader, won both the 1600-meter and 3200-meter races at the North state meet on the campus of Mississippi State.
"I know I have to keep on working throughout my years," Mattox said.
It may have been easier for Mattox this year than last year because of the change in classification.
"Last year she ran 6A and her competition was heavier," SHS girls' head coach Caroline Woomer said. "I think she is frustrated because she is use to a lot of competition but she has not got it this year. I think she is really hungry for a good race."
Kate's older sister, freshman Walker, finished fourth in the 3200-meter race.
"She is going to miss not having the competition too that we had last year," Woomer said. "Competition always makes her run better."
Kate likes the idea of running the same events as Walker.
"I love (being out there with my sister)," Kate said. "It's a lot of fun getting to be on the same team with my sister. She is my teammate and sister."
Woomer's three relay teams have been the strongest for her team. She expects big things out of them today.
"My 4x100 team at North State they hit their handoffs and everything just perfect," Woomer said. "They have been working together now for several weeks so they understand perfect. They are pretty young, but they should do it."
The 4x100-meter team consists of Madayshia Lofton, Janna Gandy-Rice, Ralesheia Gee and Kasey Jett.
The 4x400-meter team consisting of Aleah Watt, Taylor Rogers, Daija Williams and Emily Woomer may be her best squad.
"By the end of the meet, they are fired up and ready to go," Woomer said. "They motivate each other. I have never had a 4x400 team that works together and motivates each other as well as this group does."
Woomer also has high hopes for Mary Elizabeth Stringer today. Stringer competes in the 800-meter race.
"She has been injured off and on," Woomer said. "She has come through that and she is ready to go. I can't wait to see what she does."
The boys' track team is coming off a first place finish at the North State meet this past weekend.
"Our boys are as confident as they have been all year," SHS boys' coach Chris Barnett said. "They are really looking forward to stepping up to the competition."
Barnett's 4x400-meter relay team is the best in the state. They have run the best time out of all the teams from Class 1A to Class 6A.
"It is going to boil down to which team has the most athletes step up," Barnett said. "Who wants it more. Whoever is going to be tough when it gets tough during the events."
Barnett faces off against his father, Woody of Pearl High School. Pearl's boys' team won the Class 5A South State Title.
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