Morehouse Strives to Win 22nd Track and Field Championship
Photo by: Chris Doomes, Managing Editor of Visual Media
By: Auzzy Byrdsell, MT Secretary
For decades the Morehouse College Track and Field program has shown prestige winning 21 championships, the most in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) history. This year the championships will be held at Morehouse at the newly renovated B.T. Harvey Stadium and Edwin Moses Track from April 27-29. The event has not been at Morehouse in 12 years which could potentially drive up the anticipation for the event.
This year the Maroon Tigers could also be the frontrunners for the championship; their recent success has propelled them into the spotlight.
They placed second in last year’s championships at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. They also won the cross country championships last semester. They plan on carrying this momentum into the postseason.
The Maroon Tigers have placed in the top three in four of their last five meets. They placed first at the Morehouse Relays (the first in nine years) and rival Clark Atlanta University’s invitational.
“I think the spiritual part of the sport that our coach instills into us, regardless of religion, is part of our success,” said a Morehouse track student who asked unidentified.
“Before we even practice or warm up we have meetings where he just talks to us about life and I think looking at track as a symbol of life is definitely something that helps us,” he said.
Head coach Willie Hill is a faith and spiritual based leader that specializes in motivating his athletes intrinsically. He has been the head coach for 44 years, meaning he’s won championships for nearly half his time at Morehouse.
“I know I’ve been working. I’ve seen my hard work pay off before; I’ll see it again,” said senior Rodney Gross.
Gross recently placed first in the javelin throw and participates in other throwing events like shot put.
“I only placed first in javelin once, but i don’t see that as a negative. I just see that as more fuel for me to pick it up during the season and walk away with gold medals and the championship,” he said.
The athletes bond through their rigorous practice routine and intensity that prepares them for adversity.
“We all have to lift each other up, supporting one another in doing the work outs, especially the really hard ones. For example, if somebody has one more rep and we see them trying to tap out, we hold each other accountable for that,” the unnamed student said.
“It’s a strong support system.”
Morehouse has not won the SIAC Championship in four years. Holding the Morehouse Relays and now the SIAC championships at B.T Harvey Stadium fuels the revival of track and field at the college.
“After taking a pause due to COVID-19, this is a big chance for us to have a big comeback at Morehouse with us hosting the championships,” the unnamed student said.
The Maroon Tigers look to extend history with a 22nd title next weekend.