coach Aaron Kindt said. “She had a great fall and was our No. 1 runner. She helped us to a second place finish (during the cross country season), my first ever podium finish in school history and that was special. She kind of kept that role going into the track season.”
Mattox emerged as one of the top distance runners for the Golden Eagles in the spring and made a push to reaching the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. She ended up 42nd in the 1500-meter run at the NCAA East Prelims in Tampa, Florida.
“It was after her indoor championship that she really realized what she could do and running outside, she really took off at the beginning of April and into May,” Kindt said. “That was something I thought she could do at some point of her career and maybe next year would be the year, but she kind of exploded toward the end there. That was a lot of fun.”
Mattox was a four-year letterwinner in a state championship career in both cross country and track for the Yellowjackets in high school.
Her fastest times at SHS were 17:59 in 5K, 4:55 in the 1600-meter run, 10:59 in the 2-mile and 2:18 in the 800-meter run.
Mattox is already back in Starkville preparing for next season at Southern Miss.
That doesn't surprise Kindt because he has witnessed Mattox's desire to be a better runner real close already in Hattiesburg.
“One thing about Kate is she is as tough of a competitor as you'll ever come across,” Kindt said. “We just let Kate's natural competitiveness take over.”