AUTHOR: WHEELE

HED:Daily Journal relays set for Saturday

By D.E. Wheeler

Daily Journal

After getting to run around out of school during spring break last week, around 900 Northeast Mississippi athletes get to run around for their school this weekend.

A busy weekend for area track athletes will be highlighted with Saturday's Daily Journal Relays at Tupelo High School.

"Last year we ended up with the Daily Journal and Tri-State meets on back-to-back weekends," Tupelo head track coach Jamie Mitchell said of the earlier date for the meet this spring. "The coaching staff said that if we did that again, they would quit.

"It just worked out easier this way for us to move the meet up."

Mitchell was just joking about his coaching staff, but several serious track schools year in and year out will be among the 48 teams competing Saturday morning and afternoon at Tupelo High School. Biggersville swept the Class 1A girls and boys state championships last year, while Pontotoc was runner-up in both boys and girls in 3A and the Tupelo boys were second in 5A.

These three schools will not be competing against each other, as the Daily Journal Relays splits teams into three divisions. One division will feature Class 1A and 2A schools, 3A will be all by themselves in one division, and 4A and 5A will be in the other division.

"Broadstreet won on the boys side, and Biggersville is always good," Mitchell said talking about various schools that should challenge for titles Saturday. "Potts Camp and Biggersville girls should do well also.

"In 3A the Pontotoc boys are awfully strong, and so are the Pontotoc girls. Starkville and us are good on the (5A) boys side, and our girls are much better this year, too."

Athletes that Mitchell feels will do well include two Tupelo sprinters, juniors Lanauldo Boldin and Stevenson McKinney. Pontotoc features Shalando Jones in the field events and hurdles, and distance runners Scott Whitesides and Lee Hill.

"The people I mentioned are people I've seen so far this year," Mitchell said.

Tupelo has already had two meets this month, March 1 at Pearl and March 6 at Tupelo with Pontotoc and Itawamba AHS. The Daily Journal Relays will be the first meet of the season for most schools.

"I don't know for how many years it's been held, but this is one of the oldest meets in the state," Mitchell said. "The tradition of it more than anything else helps make the meet."

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