Hattiesburg track and field program reflects on historical season

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The wait was long for the Hattiesburg High boys track and field program. But, after winning its first state title last month, the victory was that much more sweeter.

Tigers head coach Charles Green waited 15 years for this moment.

"It takes a lot of drive commitment and dedication," Green said.

Junior Keirston Paige fell during the 300 hurdles at the 5A state championship meet. He still crossed the line first. This was symbolic of the squad's determination to get the job done in 2017.

"It really feels unreal," Paige said. "Going into this season with these guys it was different. We didn't know what we had as far as strengths wise. Through the season seeing different people run and seeing what they were stronger at versus other races."
The Tigers finished in second place last year. Coming up just short was becoming all too familiar.
"I started running for Hattiesburg High a while ago," senior Zavier Allen said. "And it always was the state championships in the same sequence. We always got cut short. Never had the chance to really prove ourselves. So we started working harder and harder. It was just fuel to the fire."
Despite the lack of state titles, the Tigers were well respected throughout the state.
"It feels really great," junior Iven Evans said. "Because in the beginning of the season they already knew we had a target on our back. They already knew that hey Hattiesburg got this. Hattiesburg got this. Just knowing that we had a target on our back it just pushed us even further and harder. It made us want to work more."
The Tigers say their bond goes deeper than the track.
"We're a special group of guys," junior Gayden Hence said. "We're like family. So we just connected easily and we just work together. We just got the job done. It's easier when we're brother and not just teammates."
Despite getting that sweet winning taste, the Tigers are hungry for more. They're looking to sweep the girls and boys state championships next year.
"We actually started working toward and discussing next season on the bus ride home from the state meet," Green said. "We want to stay on top. If you quit working you'll get knocked off. So we're already preparing now for next season because we do want to repeat. And we want to bring home the girls title so we want to win them both next year."