By Bruce Campbell Staff Writer
Kent Mennem had only one problem with Oklahoma State's track team after transferring to OSU from Texas A--M-Corpus Christi.
The Cowboys didn't have a sprint relay.
That was why Mennem went out for the team in the first place.
So the Medford graduate quit the Cowboys team and formed his own track club -- Pure Speed Track and Field, which put a strong emphasis on sprints.
"It's nothing against OSU at all," he said. "There's not a lot of teams that have a good sprint and a good distance program. We had a good sprint relay at Medford (Class B state champions), and I've always wanted to run that. I knew some guys that we could put together a good sprint relay that could compete against colleges."
Cowboy coach Dick Weis told the Stillwater NewsPress he supports the club. He said opportunities for sprinters were limited because he could carry only 22 men on his team.
The club works out at the OSU track in the evenings after the Cowboys practice.
"The nice thing now is that we can make up our own schedule," Mennem said. "When we need to rest, we can rest. Everyone is going to school or working. It's been a lot easier for me to train because I can set my own schedule."
Mennem's sprint relay ran 42.63 at the recent Sooner State Games. He is planning a schedule of meets from junior colleges to NCAA Division I to professional competitions.
The team may go to as many as two meets a week in the spring, depending on schedules and funds.
His runners range from 18-year-olds to 30-somethings. One-time Dover resident Dexter Johnson, who graduated from Midwest City, is competing. All the runners live in the Stillwater area.
Mennem hopes to participate in some field and distance events as well and is trying to recruit some women members.
"We're still trying to get the word out," he said.
Mennem's parents once ran the Grant County Silver Bullets Track Club. An older brother was once an assistant track coach at Medford.
"I pretty much grew up around track, so I'm pretty comfortable running this," Mennem said. "Everybody on the team is pretty experienced with sports."
Mennem's top priority is funding.
His brother's insurance company out of Medford is a sponsor.
They are talking about holding a basketball tournament as a fund-raiser.
"We want to build up our account for the spring for uniforms and traveling expenses," he said.
Mennem told the Stillwater NewsPress the team would like to get down in the low 40s in the relay.
Mennem was a four-time gold medalist at Medford, winning the 200 and 400 meters and anchoring the 400- and 1,600-meter relays.
Now he is concentrating on the sprint relay, the long jump and the 200.
He will run the 60 meters indoors and will run the 100 meters.
Mennem avoids the 400 meters now, citing it puts too much toll on knees that were injured in high school football. He does more strength training.
"This has been a lot of fun," he said.
By Bruce Campbell Staff Writer
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