South Delta wins State Track meet less than two months after tornado that devastated Rolling Fork

The Lady Bulldogs tied French Camp for the 1A state title
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 10:05 PM CDT
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PEARL, Miss. (WLBT) - On March 24, an EF4 tornado devastated the town of Rolling Fork. The athletes on the South Delta track and field team didn’t even know if they would have a season this year.

“God made a way to make us able to have us track season,” said sophomore runner Christie Carter.

The Bulldogs didn’t compete in a meet until the District Meet on April 20, but less than a month later, were competing in the State Meet.

“It feels great. At first, we thought we wouldn’t have sports, so that was really depressing,” said junior Brandon Anderson. “But, when we found out we had good news, that we were competing, I was excited; everybody was happy to compete.”

The preparation for the season was not easy, the team had to practice at the middle school.

“It was a struggle everyday, but we made it work,” said head coach Eugene Williams. “It’s all about dedication, hard work and dedication.”

“After the tragedy we went through we pushed hard, our coach pushed us, and we’re here today to try to win state,” freshman Takiya Jackson said Wednesday.

Practicing and competing provided an escape, and a distraction, from what was happening in Rolling Fork.

“For this time you’re out here, you don’t think about nothing in Rolling Fork, when you’re at practice, you don’t think about nothing about Rolling Fork,” Williams said. “They just come out here and compete, have fun, laugh and talk with their friends.”

With all the heartbreak and devastation, there is a happy ending to their story. On Wednesday, the Lady Bulldogs scored 91 points in the 1A State Championship, tying them with French Camp for first place in the class.

“It feels good to be on the podium,” Carter said. “Even though we went through a lot, having the tornado, not knowing if we were having a season, it’s been a great accomplishment.”

“At first they said they didn’t think we could [have a season], but we were like, ‘we’re ready.’ We went and took on that opportunity, and we won,” sophomore R’Renua Ousley said.

Sports have the unique power to heal, and the trophy the Bulldogs bring back to Rolling Fork has the power to help the grieving community, if only a little bit.

“It’s a good feeling for them and our whole community to band together,” Williams said. “Knowing that everybody can support sports, it’s going to bring everything together, to make our community closer. We did it for Rolling Fork.”

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