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SMITH COLUMN: Keeping track of SHS hosting North 6A meet

May 3, 2011

It's worth keeping track of what Starkville High School is about to do.
For the first time in the history of the track program, the Yellowjackets are going to host the Class 6A North State track meet.
It won't be held on the SHS campus however, but it will be close enough as Mississippi State has allowed the high school to have the event on its newly-renovated surface at the Spencer Stadium/Maddox Track.
The Bulldogs have run three highly successful meets since the work was done to improve the track.
While watching the Southeastern Conference/Big 10 Challenge in late March, it appeared that the Spencer Stadium/Maddox Track was very capable of hosting a large meet.
If the venue can support some of the best SEC and Big 10 teams in the country, then it can surely entertain some of the top Class 6A and 4A squads in Mississippi, which will be the case on Saturday.
The field events begin at 10 a.m. and the 3,200-meter run will take place at that time, while the rest of the running events start at noon and continue until around 4 p.m.
According to SHS track coach Chris Barnett, the Jackets being able to host the meet wouldn't have been possible without the efforts of MSU track coach Steve Dudley and his brother, Heath Dudley, who coaches at J.Z. George.
It was amazing to learn that Starkville had not ever hosted a meet of this caliber before even before the work was done at the home of the Bulldogs.
With the North State meet coming to town, it may open up the possibility of the Jackets getting other big-time meets in the future.
It also has to serve as a good recruiting tool for Mississippi State. What better way for its track program to watch some of the best talent in Class 4A and 6A than to allow those athletes to perform in its stadium.
The Bulldogs already have Starkville natives Antoine Lipscomb and Tavaris Tate on their roster. Who's to say that the next Lipscomb and Tate doesn't come from one of the teams that participate in the North State meet.
Some of the most exciting and entertaining moments in sports is when runners compete in sprints or relays. It doesn't take long, but records can fall in a matter of seconds.
All early weather forecasts seem to suggest there will be no rain on Saturday so take the opportunity to get out and support the Jackets in their quest to qualify as many athletes as possible for the state meet in Pearl.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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