Missouri's Chambers races to successful start to outdoor track season

Monday, April 11, 2011 | 8:08 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — After he crossed the finish line in his final race of the day, Missouri freshman Tre Chambers' teammates started yelling and laughing at him. Chambers started laughing too after he looked down at his shirt.

Chambers never took off his white warm-up shirt before the 200-meter dash Saturday at the Tom Botts Invitational at Walton Stadium, but it didn't seem to slow him down at all. Chambers won the race and set a new personal best time at 21.11 seconds.

"Coach says each meet you'll have three bumps, where you forget something or forget to do something," Chambers said. "I guess I'll just count that as a bump."

Even Missouri sprints coach Derrick Peterson laughed when he saw Chambers running in his warm-up shirt.

"He was so focused," Peterson said. "Normally, yes, we do race in our uniforms, but he was really focused on that 200."

The 200 was the third race of the day that Chambers won. Chambers won the 100 in a personal-best 10.37 seconds and also ran the last leg of the 4 x 100 relay, which Missouri won in a meet-record 40.85 seconds.

His performance led him to be named male athlete of the meet and helped the Missouri men's team win the meet title. The Missouri women's team took the team title as well.

Chambers was especially thrilled with his times because it was just the Tigers' second outdoor meet of the season.

"It's hard (to adjust to being outdoors)," Chambers said. "Your depth perception is way off going from 60 meters straight to 100 meters straight, so when we first get out here it's like we're not even moving."

Chambers' quick start to the outdoor season is not a surprise to anyone who saw him run during the indoor season.

By the second week of the indoor season, Chambers had already set the top times for Missouri in both the 60 and 200 meters. He also finished seventh in both events at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in February.

Chambers said that some of his senior teammates have been a big part of his success. Senior Mark Hughes is a sprinter that Chambers spends a lot of time with.

"He's done this before, so he helps us get through it," Chambers said. "(Senior) Chris (Davis) as well. They're always pushing the workouts. They make us so much better."

And the seniors see Chambers' potential.

"He's just got that raw talent and he's a hard worker," Davis said. "He keeps putting in that work and overcoming each challenge. He's going to be someone to reckon with on the national level, and I could even see him going to the professional level."

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