HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - For the first time in school history, Southern Miss sends four male athletes to the NCAA Track and Field indoor championships.
For senior McKinely West, it will be his second time on the national stage after qualifying for the 2018 Outdoor Championships in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.
West is USM’s record holder in the outdoor 100m (10.07 seconds), indoor 60m (6.64 seconds) and 200m (20.85 seconds). His college career began at Barton Community College – the same school where world champion sprinter Tyson Gay cut his teeth.
Jon Stuart discovered West during his time as the sprints and hurdles coach at Georgia. It didn’t take long for Stuart to realize the 5-foot-7 sprinter’s potential.
“Track and field is pretty easy to determine if somebody's going to be pretty good,” said Stuart, now in his fifth season as USM’s head coach. “You line up and race everyone and whoever wins, it’s not rocket science. McKinely beat one of my high-level athletes that we recruited and signed at the University of Georgia. Ever since I saw him do that when he was a sophomore in high school, I knew that he was going to be pretty good.”
“He didn’t care about the size,” McKinely said. “You know, I’m not that big. Most big schools care about size. What really inspired me was I beat one of his athletes that he recruited at Georgia. After that, I just kept with it and I’m here.”
West will compete in the semifinals of the 60m dash on Friday at 7:07 p.m. and the 200m at 7:52 p.m. He is the Conference USA indoor champion in both events.
C-USA indoor champion Caleb Parker competes in the semifinals of the 60m hurdles on Friday at 6:17 p.m.
C-USA indoor champ and school-record holder Eric Richards competes in the high jump finals on Saturday at 1 p.m. Two-time defending C-USA indoor champion John Warren competes in the triple jump prelims on Saturday at 5 p.m.
The 2019 Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships are held at the University of Alabama-Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama. ESPN3 is streaming all of the weekend’s action.