Spring time in southwest Mississippi is known for marking the end to basketball and the beginning of baseball and softball seasons. But it also marks the start of the track season and for many in the area involved in the sport, the Charlie Floyd Coca-Cola Relays has been an important event over the last two years.
The third annual, all-relay event will take place 11 a.m. Saturday at John I. Hurst Stadium on the campus of Southwest Mississippi Community College.
“It is just really special to me because I coached track and field in this area and I have a lot of support for track and field and you have a lot of outstanding coaches in this area,” Floyd said. “I am happy to see the tradition of track and field in this area is beginning to pick up like the old days.”
The event will consist of several high schools across the southwest Mississippi along with a pair of schools from the Jackson area, a pair from Louisiana and a few junior high teams.
“We are expecting 12 high school teams and five junior high (teams),” Floyd added.
He thanked several individuals who have helped develop the event and make it a success. He thanked Dr. Steve Bishop and everyone at SMCC for allowing him to hold his event on their track. He also took the time to thank sponsor Coca Cola, his former athletes and Victor Montgomery who has become his right-hand man in helping to run the event.
“I am especially thankful to the former track star Victory Montgomery for his hard work and dedication resulting in two successful relays,” Floyd said. “He is a guy who I feel is a carbon copy of myself who really loves track. Victor has been with me and he will be retiring (from the military) and I believe he will be a big asset to the track and field community when he comes here full time.”
Floyd added that he wants to see track gain more attention due its involvement in helping to improve athletes who also participate in other sports.
“We need to put more emphasis on it because track and field compliments every other sport, speed kills,” he said. “Track and field is a foundation for all other sports.
Montgomery — like Floyd — is also hoping for tremendous success at the event Saturday.
“We are looking for some good talent and I know that it is the first of the year,” he said. “Some schools will run their first or second meet. I hope we have an injury-free weekend and I hope for some good weather.”
Saturday’s event is also vital as it will be one of the premiere track events in the area this year. The Camellia City Relays will not take place due to McComb High School’s track at C.C. Moore Stadium getting a face-lift.
“Unfortunately, McComb is under construction right now,” Montgomery said. “This is probably going to be the only track event for the high schools this year in southwest Mississippi with the exception of the Tylertown Invitational that is going to be, I believe, next month.”