Tyrese Cooper Chooses Flo Golden South As Place To Make Postseason Mark

FLRunners.com: Tyrese had offers to run at other meets around the country, but you chose Flo Golden South. Where else was he invited and what sold you on our meet?

Coach Darius Lawshea: He could have ran at the Atlanta Relays against Jamaican junior record holder Christopher Taylor in the 400m or at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon. We chose Flo Golden South because we've been running there for the past several years, and I gave Todd (flrunners.com webmaster) my word at the beginning of the season. A man's word is everything, plus we love the meet. If FloSports (flrunners.com/MileSplit) has anything to do with Golden South, I know it's going to be a great meet.

You've been coming to this meet for years with your Miami Gardens XPress Club. Why do you keep coming back?

It gives my MGX kids a chance to run on the big stage. There's always great competition there. I believe when MGX is there, people want to compete against the best, and we want to compete against the best. It's a win-win for all track and field programs.

Tyrese, what do you love most about this meet?

I love that in years past, when I was in 7th and 8th grade, this was the only competition where I had to push myself to higher standards. I didn't realize I was running against high school kids before the meet; my coach just signed me up.

How have you guys been preparing for next Saturday's main event?

Tyrese has been working on his strength and physical fitness. He's been getting a lot of one-on-one with me now that high school is over. He's like my son, since he's been living with me the last couple of years. He's training even harder now because he wants to be the USA people's champion. He loves his country, and he loves people. He knows he has to work even harder to not forget where he came from. 

What are some of your favorite Golden South memories?

When we raced against the American high school 4x400m relay team in 2014. Being that some of the boys on the American team were also MGX kids since they were eight years old, it was like MGX vs. MGX--old generation vs. new generation. That was the first time we ever had to compete against each other on the big stage, and it came down to the wire. Both teams went 3:12, but American went 3:12.12 and we ran 3:12.47.

For some of those kids on the 4x400m relay team, it will be their last meet in an MGX uniform as they graduate. 

This is a road trip with my MGX boys, so we always have fun, but this Golden South is going to be special because this graduation class of 2016 is the group that put Miami Gardens Xpress on the map. This group owns every age group's 4x400m relay national AAU record. This is going to be a going-away-to-college, last-race type of trip. These boys have been with me from the age of eight years old, traveling all over the country and breaking age group national records.

Tyrese, we are accustomed to seeing fast times every time you step on the track. What can fans look forward to on Saturday?

I'm looking forward to a 45 low or 44.9 in the 400m and 20.20 in the 200m.