USC's Lee: A Better Stronger Athlete

By Ryan Broadhead

The Pac-12 Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., provide a chance to win a championship, prepare for regionals and nationals, and qualify for the Olympic Trials.

For a select few, specifically participants in the men's 400-meter relay and long jump, the Pac-12 Track and Field championships serve a purpose.

USC freshman Marqise Lee, a receiver on the Trojans football team, a participant in the men's long jump and a member of the relay team said, "I do both sports to stay busy and keep myself in shape."

When asked what his favorite sport of the two is, Lee said, "football;" a theme echoed by fellow 400-meter relay opponent Oregon cornerback Dior Mathis.

Does Track and Field have a direct impact on football and vice versa?

Oregon's Dior Mathis, whose relay team finished second in the championships, said, "Track helps with endurance and speed on the football field. You can keep going the same speed through the whole game."

When asked for how football prepares athletes for track, Mathis said, "In football you lift weights really hard. That will help you, no matter what event you run in with track, down the long stretch of any race."

Lee, a regional qualifier with a personal best 7.65 meters in the long jump said, "One of the reasons I am able to jump as far as I jump is because of the strength I have in my legs, which comes from the weight room coaches in football pushing and pushing to build up my leg strength."

Although Lee and Mathis did not win a Pac-12 title in their events on Sunday, they are a better stronger all-around athlete moving forward because of their experience in track and field.

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