By D.E. Wheeler

Daily Journal

After getting rained out last year, Tupelo High School gets to show off its track facility to the rest of the Northeast Mississippi Saturday with the running of the Daily Journal Relays.

The biggest track meet in Northeast Mississippi, and perhaps the state, the Daily Journal Relays will have 35 schools in the 1996 edition. Action gets underway Saturday on the campus of Tupelo High School at 9 a.m. with the beginning of the field events.

The first running event begins at 10 a.m. with the 3,200-meter run. The rest of the running events begin at noon with the 100 and 110-meter hurdles.

“We’re excited about hoping to get the meet in this year,” said Tupelo track coach Jamie Mitchell, who can not remember another year when the Daily Journal Relays had been rained out. “This will be the first time we get to host the meet on our new facility, and we’re looking forward to hosting everybody.”

Besides getting to use the facility for the Daily Journal Relays, this will be the first chance for Mitchell to Tupelo to show off its state of the art electronic finish line system.

“People will find out that times will be quite a bit slower this way as compared to hand times,” Mitchell said. “This system totally eliminates human judgment at the finish line, and the conflicts you can have because of it.”

The state meet and the north half meets now use an electronic finish line system, and Tupelo’s has been error free in two previous meets the 1995 and 1996 Tri-State Challenge meets. Tupelo will also be using a new computer program to tally event results and team scores, and speed the posting of results.

At the Daily Journal Relays, schools will be divided into three classes: Division 1, which will be all Class 1A and 2A schools; Division 2, which will be all Class 3A schools; and Division 3, which will be all Class 4A and 5A schools. Mitchell has only seen a couple of area schools, but feels there are a couple of usually strong schools to watch out for.

In Division 1, Biggersville is always one of the top track schools while Pontotoc has made strong showings already this spring and should be one of the challengers in Division 2.

In Division 3, the Tupelo boys are coming off consecutive wins, including the Tri-State Challenge which featured schools from Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama. The Division 3 girls could feature the defending 4A champions from Starkville and the Columbus team.

Click video to hear audio