KINGSPORT — The Times News Relays makes its return in 2020 while TriCitiesSports.com joins forces with Texas Roadhouse to present this spring’s prestigious Crowe-Coughenour Relays.
Both events are set for the Crowe-Coughenour Track at Dobyns-Bennett High School.
The Times News Relays began in 1976 and ran through 2015 when TriCitiesSports.com, in cooperation with the Times News, picked up the banner for 2016. TriCitiesSports.com went solo the following spring, and Ballad Health came on board with TriCitiesSports.com two years ago.
Now, the Relays return under its original Times News banner for the 42nd event, set for Friday, May 1. The pole vault competition is set for Thursday, April 30.
“The Relays hold a special place in the minds of all area track fans and it would be a shame to have let them die,” said Tanner Cook, meet director and Times News/Johnson City Press reporter. “It was good that TriCitiesSports.com kept the meet alive and helped forward the event into the new decade. Now it’s time to make the meet better than ever.”
The Times News Relays is unique in that it features the nine top qualifiers in each event from throughout the Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia region. It’s often the only chance during the track and field season athletes from both states compete in the same event.
Retired Times News Executive Sports Editor Pat Kenney directed the meet for well over two decades and in 2016 was co-director with TriCitiesSports.com editor Steve Wilmoth. Wilmoth took solo helm of the event the following year.
“Pat loved the Times News Relays and had such a passion for the event,” Wilmoth said. “He was instrumental in helping make the transition successfully. We couldn’t have done that without his experience and assistance.”
Now, Wilmoth is glad to repay the favor after learning from Dobyns-Bennett track and field coach Bob Bingham and Cook of the Times News’ desire to return.
“I was originally lukewarm to the idea when I was approached by Coach Bingham and Tanner,” Wilmoth noted. “But the Times News started the event, it was their baby for a long, long time, and they did a magnificent job making the relays what they are today. And when Coach Bingham offered TriCitiesSports.com a chance to get on board with the TC/DC Relays, it was certainly the right thing to do.”
The Texas Roadhouse DC/TC TriCitiesSports.com Relays is one of the largest high school track meets each year and boasts athletes from schools as far as 200 miles away. It also routinely features events not normally on a typical meet schedule, such as the steeplechase and 4x200-meter relay. This year’s meet is set for Saturday, April 11.
“We appreciate TriCitiesSports.com coming with us for the DC/TC Relays,” Bingham said. “They came in and certainly filled a void when the Times News had to step out of their relays and did a great job in keeping that thing going. They will do the same with the DC/TC Relays.”
Bingham also lauded both outlets on not only for their support of both meets but also for their commitment to high school sports coverage in general.
“In a lot of areas in our country, and even our two states, high school sports is getting very little or no coverage,” Bingham noted. “We’ve got two groups right here that have made high school sports coverage a priority and you just don’t get that much anywhere else. We are very fortunate to have both.”