For Immediate Release
Date January 20, 2017
Contact: Hailie Pease (208) 908-8348
Simplot Games After Dark
Featuring Olympian Andre Phillips
Pocatello, Idaho – After a full day of competing, Simplot Games athletes will get a chance to unwind and have fun at Simplot Games After Dark, an event filled with food, workshops, games, and a dance party.
Simplot Games prides itself in the excitement of the on-the-track experience, and in all the off-the-track entertainment the weekend provides. On Friday, February 17, at 6 p.m., in the Idaho State University Pond Student Union Building, athletes will have the opportunity to fill their plates with Idaho potatoes and Simplot veggies at the Idaho Baked Potato Bar and then choose between one of the following activities:
Featuring Andre Phillips
Featuring Trent Sanderson
Simplot Games Version
This year’s spotlight speaker is Olympian Andre Phillips, who won a gold medal in the men’s 400-meter hurdles at the 1988 Olympics. Phillips was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2009, and he now works as principal at Stagg High School in Stockton, Calif.
Phillips started track and field after watching his older brother compete in a high school track meet. Initially, in the ninth grade, Phillips decided he was not a runner so he turned his attention to high jumping until his coach pulled him aside in the tenth grade and convinced him to try hurdles. This is one of the reasons why he believes high school sports are important.
“It’s kind of a way for kids to find their destiny,” Phillips said. “You never know. I never knew I would be good at hurdles. I never ran them before.”
For his In the Spotlight talk, Phillips will go more in depth about his beginnings in the sport of track and field and the lessons he has learned along his journey from high school sports to the Olympics and beyond.
Phillips said that many of the lessons he learned in his time as an athlete have transferred into the rest of his life as well. When he was younger, he found that when he had a bad practice or race and took it home with him, he would show up for practice the next day with the same bad attitude. He learned that it is necessary to leave it all at the track, and he has since taken that lesson into his working life. He said that when he leaves work at the end of the day, he leaves it there and comes back fresh the next day.
Phillips also has advice for young athletes based off his experiences. He said first that an athlete might not know what their event truly is until they try it. He strongly advocated for young athletes to try every event they could while they were young. He then went on to discuss the importance of putting in the hard work after committing to something. His third and final piece of advice applies to both sports and making decisions in life, especially when it comes to choosing things like a university or career.
“You’ve got to have fun,” Phillips said. “You have to enjoy it. It can’t totally be about the money or someone else wanting you to do it.”
Phillips said he is excited to return to Simplot Games this year and be the speaker for In the Spotlight. This will be his 17th year in attendance, and he said each year feels like more of a family reunion.
Track Academy features Coach Trent Sanderson in the Bengal Café starting at 6:30 p.m.
Sanderson is an exercise physiologist and the owner and creator of Team Prep USA. He has produced 13 high school national champions, 167 state champions, and 43 Footlocker and Nike Cross Nationals qualifiers. Sanderson is sure to offer insight that will be helpful to any track and field athlete.
This is an opportunity to win cool prizes in Simplot Games After Dark’s own version of Deal or No Deal. Prizes include Simplot Games swag, gift certificates, and more.
At 7:30 p.m., athletes can head over to the Ballroom for a dance party that includes a live DJ, bounce houses, obstacle courses, and more.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity of great food, inspiring insight, and fun! Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online or at the Simplot Games Store.
More than 2,100 athletes will come from across the U.S., Canada, and Australia to participate in the 39th annual Simplot Games. Simplot Games remains the nation’s premier high school indoor track and field event. Sponsored by the J.R. Simplot Company since 1979, the Simplot Games are held at Idaho State University’s Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho.
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