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Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

Bulldogs to host track event featuring area's top talent

Thursday, April 12, 2007

(Photo)
Sikeston's Mark Williamson is one of several top jumpers for the Bulldogs.
SIKESTON -- Sikeston track and field coach Jerry Dement fought for years to get a state of the art track facility for his high school team.

His efforts paid off as a new all-weather rubberized track surface and new jump pits were installed last summer, replacing the aging asphalt surface that Sikeston athletes ran on for 15 years.

Now that he's got his dream facility, he's wasted little time in organizing what he hopes will be one of the premier track and field events in the area.

The first ever Sikeston Twilight Relays will kick off tomorrow at 4 p.m. at SPS Stadium, featuring 16 boys and girls teams from around the area.

The event includes teams from as far south as Caruthersville to as far north as Festus. All four SEMO Conference teams (Sikeston, Cape Central, Jackson and Poplar Bluff) will compete along with defending Class 2 boys state champion Malden as well as local opponents Charleston, Kelly, Scott City, New Madrid County Central and Dexter.

"We want to make it a big event every year locally," Dement said. "We're excited to finally be able to host a big meet at home. We've been on the road for years and years and years -- every big meet's been on the road and now we finally get to host one ourselves, including the district later on. We think this will help out so some of the fans can come out to watch our kids run."

The event is set up in a relay format, meaning no team points will be kept, but individual winners will receive medals and the top three competitors in the field events will total up heights and distances to determine a team winner in those respective events.

Dement said the decision to go with a relay format instead of the traditional meet in which team points are kept was key in getting many of the local schools to sign up.

"With the relay format some teams don't have to worry about their place in the team standings," Dement said. "They can just come out and compete and try to get good marks and good times for their district meets later on.

Dement said some of the top track and field athletes in the area will get a chance to compete against each other for the first time this season.

On the boys side, individual events to watch will be the open 100 meter dash, the open mile and the long jump competition.

"In the 100 meters there are eight guys around 11 seconds or less," Dement said. "The mile will be a signature open event as well. There are 12 guys under five minutes from 4:25 to 4:45. That ought to be a really, good exciting race. And the jumping events will be hotly contested, particularly the horizontal jumps."

Dement also said the speed relay events will be exciting races as well.

"The speed relays look to be very, very competitive," Dement said. "You've got Cape, Sikeston, Malden, Festus -- any of those teams can win it. Caruthersville, Charleston, New Madrid, those teams have some speed too."

Dement says his Bulldogs will be one of the favorites in the jump relays, along with Cape Central and Malden.

"We've got three or four guys that are around 20 feet in the long jump and we've got good triple jumpers," Dement said. "That will be a real tough competition that will be hotly contested."

The weather forecast calls for possible showers, which could threaten the meet. Dement said the meet will be made up on Monday if there is a postponement.

Sikeston has already had two meets cut short due to weather this year and the Jackson Invitational was canceled altogether last Saturday due to cold, windy conditions.

"Hopefully the weather will cooperate because we're going to have some really good competition," Dement said.