NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Members of the Stephen F. Austin track and field team have ranked high enough to qualify for the Western Preliminaries, and spent part of their Memorial Day training for the meet.
The track coaches call their 4x400 meter men's relay team a very special group who has made history for the program in their 4 years, and are just one meet away from heading to Nationals.
The group of seniors have a lot of personality, and trying to go out with a bang.
"We all came in freshmen year and it's been magical every since," said Torin Crowder, a member of the 4x4 meter relay team.
"We're called, 'The Money Team,'" said Cass Brown Stewart, a member of the 4x400 meter relay team.
They call themselves, "The Money Team," and it's fitting for the relay team that became the first at SFA to go to Nationals, as freshmen, the first to win outdoor conference, as freshmen, and are now preparing for their third trip to the Western Preliminaries in hopes to make it to Nationals, again.
"From the minute we got here we were named, 'The Pups,' because we were the freshmen, but we were also the fastest on the team so we had to step up and grow up really quick," said Crowder.
"They're very special. For four guys, 'The Pups,' to stay together for four years, it's pretty remarkable what they've accomplished," said Sean Lonegran, the sprint and hurdles coach.
Although talent is an obvious reason as to why this group has been successful, they credit their humor and jokes to their success
"Basically jokes run this relay. Nobody is ever serious. There a very few times when we're serious before we run," said Crowder. "Right before we run the 4x400, we're telling jokes. We're not technically serious until we're about to get the stick. There have been many times where Joshua Taylor and Cass are dancing right before they get the stick."
"They're out there a little bit, but that's what it takes to be a great sprinter," said Lonegran. "They're the empitome of working hard and having fun, and they're a very special group."
The special group has names for each other and consists of Hampton Hawkins who is called, "The Aggressor" of the group. Torin Crowder has been named, "The Neutral." Then there's Joshua Taylor, "The Professor" and Cass Brown Stewart, "The Cocky One."
The four together now have one last shot to get to Nationals, and all agree they couldn't have done it with anyone else
"The four that were meant to stay, are the ones that are here right now," said Crowder. "Us running together, it means a lot to everybody to be together one last time, one last trip."
The Pups currently hold the school record in the 4X400 after recording a time of 3:06.60, and they hope to record that time or faster to not only go to Nationals, but become All-Americans.
The team is leaving Tuesday for the West Preliminaries in Arkansas.