STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) — The fastest 3,200 meter runner from middle school in the entire country hails from the state of Mississippi. That isn’t an opinion, it’s a fact.
Her name is Kate Mattox, and she’s an eighth grader at Armstrong Middle School in Starkville.
Kate has yet to even enter high school, yet her determination and work ethic are already on the level of being a seasoned veteran.
“There’s a lot to be said about talent,” said Caroline Woomer, Starkville High track and field coach. “She’s definitely talented, but Kate doesn’t rely on her talent. She’s one of the hardest workers out here every day.”
“I know my competition is working really hard,” said Mattox. “I know that I need to work hard so I can stay up there with them.”
Coach Woomer mentioned that Kate frequently asks her, “do I need to do more” during practice. She’s even gone as far as telling Kate to run less in her workouts.
That’s made finding actual competition in her age group a challenge to keep up with her on the track.
“We’re having to hunt down competition for her,” Woomer said. “It’s exciting. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
But Mattox is more than just a runner for the Yellow Jackets, she’s also a leader for the team as an eighth grader.
During the season, Kate has led a prayer before every race the Jackets have had. Coach Woomer didn’t tell Mattox to do this, Kate’s done it on her own.
It’s showing that track is more than just a sport to Kate, it’s her calling.
“I know that God has put running in my life for a reason,” Mattox said. “Part of that is spreading his word and love so others can know he’s giving us the strength to get through our races and workouts. It’s about having fun with him and it’s for his glory.”