By CPSD Communication Intern Rebecca Costa
The Clinton Arrow Track and Field team is striving for success once again. They finished their indoor season at the Last Chance Invitational in Birmingham, Ala. with multiple personal records and podium appearances.
The Arrows had two top-three finishers with Jake Moody placing third in pole vault with a mark of 14 feet and Martinez Bogan placing third in the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.78 seconds. The Lady Arrows ran a time of 1 minute, 43.63 seconds in the 4X200 meter relay awarding them first place along with a second place finish in the 4X400 meter relay coming in at 4:03.93. Olivia Womack ran 7.56 in the 60 meter dash earning a first-place medal and a spot as one of the top 20 in the nation.
As the focus now shifts towards outdoor season, “The main goal is that everyone stays as healthy as possible,” said Johnathan Perkins, Clinton High School head track coach.
Perkins was an assistant coach on the Lady Arrows 2013 MHSAA 6A Girls Track State Championship team, and has been the head coach since 2014 bringing in six straight MHSAA 6A State Championships for the Lady Arrows to give the ladies an unprecedented seven straight Track & Field titles. He also has captured the 2017 MHSAA 6A Boys Track State Championship and multiple State runner-up finishes with the Arrows.
Perkins defines a successful team as one that, “improves progressively over the years.” He encourages his athletes to focus on being their best and to do better than they did the prior year. He runs his program like a business while still maintaining a family-like atmosphere.
A helpful contribution to the success of the program is being able to work with athletes from Clinton Junior High School as well. This gives Perkins and his coaching staff an insight on what athletes they have coming into the program within a year or two as well as how to best utilize them as other students graduate. Capable athletes are commonly moved up to the varsity team once their season finishes.
There are more than 150 athletes in the Arrow Track and Field program from 7th through 12th grade. Including Coach Perkins, six coaches make up the coaching staff. Each coach focuses on specific events allowing the athletes to get the undivided attention they need.
In 2017, the Arrows and Lady Arrows brought home a MHSAA 6A State Title making the program the only 6A team in Mississippi history to double in wins in the same season. Perkins is hopeful to do so again since his teams are ranked first coming into the 2020 outdoor season.
“The goal is to make it to the state meet, winning is the cream on top” said Perkins.
Perkins encourages his athletes to work hard and give their best every time. He said, “All the hard work they put in, success will come out of it,” is the main point he wants them to gain from being a part of the team.
The Arrow 2020 outdoor season kicks off Feb. 22 at the Clinton Season Opener. The events will begin at 11 a.m.