COLUMBUS, Miss. – The first season of Owls track and field will kick-off this weekend when The W men's and women's track teams travel to Birmingham, Ala. to participate in the Vulcan Invite hosted by the University of Alabama – Birmingham on Saturday, Jan. 11. The will be held at the Birmingham Crossplex and is set to begin at 9 a.m.
"As a coach, we all have high expectations for our student-athletes to go out and finish at the top," said track and field head coach Dedrick Burnett. "Tomorrow, I just want them to go out and have fun competing. I want them to be as relaxed as possible so they can shake off the nerves of competing. For some, this will be their first time competing on an indoor track. So from me, there will be no pressure. We simply are going out tomorrow to find a starting point to improve from as we go through this season."
Although both the men's and women's programs are in its infancy, there are several runners who are competing that ran for the Owls cross country team. "Jonathan Mathis, David Standifer, David Young, Caitlyn Parker, and Katelyn Vann are all transitioning over from the cross country season," continued Coach Burnett. "I kind of expect them to perform better earlier in the season while the sprint group may make a late surge to catch up with them as the season progresses."
As the first head coach of both programs, Coach Burnett is optimistic about the first outing and the inaugural season. "I'm really excited to be here and for this opportunity to build a program from the ground up," he explained. "I have a vision that this program could be one of the best Division III programs in the nation. If everything happens in the vision I saw, we could have a few USCAA National Championships in individual events this upcoming April."