Picayune track athletes bring home the silverware

Published 8:06 am Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Picayune Memorial High School track team had a season to remember with multiple athletes making it to the state meet in Pearl, Mississippi.

The individual performances throughout the year were impressive, but Head Coach Adam Feeley said the regular improvement of each athlete was a large part of the squad’s success.

“We improved each week, our guys got faster and stronger and performed well as the year went on,” Feeley said.

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Not only did the team perform well, but Mason Watkins and Cameron Thomas both medaled at state.

Watkins came in first in the 1,600-meter race, and Thomas came in third in the long jump competition.

Feeley said Watkins also holds records for Picayune Memorial High School in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races, an incredible feat for an athlete just now going into his senior year.

Watkins will be part of a returning class full of experience considering the squad lost only two seniors.

That means anything can happen in future meets if the athletes keep working hard.

“We just need to keep getting stronger and working on technique,” Feeley said.

“The kids we have are hard working and do what you ask them to do. They give it their all.”

Track is a unique sport in many aspects, especially since an athlete may have only a couple of minutes to catch their breath between events at a meet.

“They have to focus in, and all the guys run two or three events per meet,” Feeley said.

“They train in multiple ways and push through mentally. They do a good job of focusing in and handling adversity.”

Feeley said that in order to compete to the best of their abilities he has his athletes practice in an environment that’s similar to an actual meet.

“The way they practice is the way they perform,” Feeley said.

He said that Picayune athletes are on another level compared to athletes at competing schools, and that makes his job as a coach much easier because the micromanagement seen in other programs isn’t necessary for his athletes.

“Picayune kids are a little different, they’re tougher and push themselves mentally differently than other kids do,” Feeley said.

“We start coaching at a young age, and they push themselves every day and they’re competing. They’re competing with themselves and the people next to them.”

That internal competition results in positive performances, and Feeley said that this year the squad will be even more competitive.

“I have some younger guys coming up who can help point wise with the longer events,” Feeley said.

“We’re trying to get more points. I’d like to be more competitive on the team total.”

After coming in second place at a few meets last year, Feeley is upping the ante for his athletes.

“This year we would like to win track meets with total points,” Feeley said.

“We have a younger team and now they’ll develop and grow. Plus the field events should improve as well.”

Until work outs begin in November most of Feeley’s track athletes will be training with the football team to maintain their fitness and stamina.