A Winning Combination

For Immediate Release
Date: February 1, 2015
Contact: Amy Sorensen (801) 554-6988

E-mail: media@simplotgames.com

A Winning Combination

Simplot Games Highlights the Highly Competitive 400m Event

Pocatello, Idaho – Winning the 400-meter dash requires an athlete to have physical balance. While some races demand all-out speed, others require endurance. But, the 400 is unique in that it requires successful athletes to excel in both. These qualities make the 400 a thrilling event for any spectator to watch, and an extremely exhausting task for any athlete to complete.

However, the physical side of the race is only part of being successful in the event. Coach Sean Patterson, of the Velocity Suns Track and Field Club in Georgia, feels that the 400 meters is so hard because it’s just as much a mental challenge as it is physical. Before each competition, he tells his athletes that after months of training, their bodies are prepared to handle the intensity of the race. But the key is “you just have to help your mind understand that.” He says, “both the mental and physical elements have to come together, but if you can master [the 400], you can do just about anything in track and field.

This year at Simplot Games, the 400 meters promises to be exciting once again as many talented athletes will come from across the globe to compete. One standout athlete coming to run the quarter mile is Marquise Cooper, a high school senior from Grayson, Georgia.

While this will be Coopers’ first journey to Simplot Games, he’s certainly not inexperienced when it comes to the 400. As one of the top ranked high school runners in Georgia, Cooper has had success both on individual and relay teams. In 2012 he was the 400-meter champion for his age group in the USA Track and Field (USATF) Georgia Association. Additionally, he was part of the national champion 4×400-meter relay team at the USATF Jr. Olympics.

When asked why he likes the 400 meters, Marquise says, “It’s probably the most competitive, because it’s not all about speed. It’s about endurance. It’s more competitive than [some of the other races] in my eyes.”

One additional thing that Marquise is looking forward to is running on the Simplot Games wood track. Patterson, his coach, competed on the track when he came to Simplot Games in high school and has shared his experience with Cooper. Cooper knows the track is fast and is looking to make his mark in the record books as he participates this year.

While the Simplot Games’ wood track is something to behold, its speed is impressive and can be attributed to a number of factors. Simplot Games Meet Director Greg Burch says the altitude, indoor environment, and the turf cushion under the track allow for runners to set some amazing marks at Simplot Games.

When you combine high caliber athletes such as Cooper with the facilities available for Simplot Games, the result is a rich tradition of record-breaking 400-meter runs.

When it comes to the 400 meters, both girl and boy athletes have set national records at Simplot Games. The boy’s record was most recently set in 2004—Elzie Coleman’s electrifying record of 45.92 seconds that still stands—and the girl’s record in 2001 by Lashinda Demus of Long Beach, Calif., with a time of 53.38.

Looking forward to this event, Burch says all of these characteristics make the 400 meters very engaging for fans. The race will be “long enough to be exciting…but short enough to be very competitive.”

Both the men and women’s 400-meter finals are scheduled for Saturday, February 21, beginning at 2:15 p.m. With this combination of successful athletes and a record-breaking stage, the 400 is truly something you won’t want to miss.

More than 2,000 athletes will come from across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Australia to participate in the 37th 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.

For more information on Simplot Games, please visit our website at www.simplotgames.com. You may also contact Lisa Woodland at (208) 235-5673 or Simplot Games Media Team at media@simplotgames.com.

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