Feb. 1, 2011
By Mizzou Media Relations Student Assistant, Nathan Allen
It did not take freshman Tre Chambers long to make an impact on the Mizzou track and field team. Just two weeks into the season, Chambers, of Colorado Springs, Colo., had posted Mizzou's top times in the 60m and 200m dashes at 6.74 and 21.58, respectively. To fully understand the early success Chambers has had at Mizzou, it helps to take a glimpse at what has made Chambers the student-athlete and person he is today.
Being a child in a military family, Chambers spent some of his childhood moving across the country. However, with a mother in the Air Force, it was only a matter of time before Chambers ended up in Colorado Springs. Chambers' track career began there in the fifth grade after winning the only sprinting event at the city's fifth grade track meet. After losing one race in the sixth grade, Chambers nonchalantly went undefeated for the rest of his junior high years.
"I played football in high school and did track for fun," Chambers said. "I played summer league basketball till freshman year (of high school) and then focused on track and football, but mainly on football."
Chambers spent most of his first track season of high school running relays. A week before the regional meet, Chambers ran his first individual 100m dash. A week later he won that event and qualified for the Colorado Class 5A (largest school division) state meet where he placed 12th.
The early success led Chambers to work harder on the track after his sophomore football season. Chambers qualified for the state championships at his first meet of the season. Going into the state meet Chambers was projected to finish seventh. What happened?
"I got third and decided to start focusing more on track," Chambers said, failing to hold back the smile.
After a severe high ankle sprain in the first football game his junior year, Chambers decided to focus all of his attention on track. The early training led to yet another successful track season - and a new event. Chambers placed third again in the 100m dash but found himself in second in the 200m dash.
"My team took a trip to race at Arizona State University," Chambers said. "Seeing the college guys and how they got out of their blocks so fast, I decided to try that."
Chambers ran about 22.80 at that meet but by the state championships he had run 21.47.
After injuring his hamstring in an attempt to make the Junior World Track Team, Chambers decided to forgo his final season of football and focus on his final high school track season. It was also that summer that Chambers' father began putting together a recruiting package to send to colleges.
"Living in Colorado, it was hard to get noticed by universities outside of Colorado," Chambers said.
Missouri Assistant Track Coach, Derrick Peterson noticed immediately. Peterson was the first coach to call Chambers and there was an immediate connection.
"The first time we talked, we talked for an hour and a half," Chambers said. "I found out he was from Georgia and graduated from the same high school as my uncle. He was two years older than my uncle so I called my uncle to do a little background check."
"My uncle said Coach Peterson was a great guy and we would get along," a laughing Chambers said. "And everything has gone great; we have the same mentality and vision. If I need something, I can tell him everything and relate to him. He is an amazing runner and I feel like our relationship will get better and better."
Chambers took his official visit in October and signed his letter of intent the following February. During his senior campaign, Chambers ranked third in the nation in the 60m dash, posting a time of 6.84. Chambers then won the 100m and 200m dashes at the state meet.
Chambers arrived on the University of Missouri campus in time for summer school, which helped with the transition from high school.
"The workouts have been tough," Chambers said. "The volume and intensity have increased, but I am in the best shape of my life."
The results of those tough workouts have not gone unnoticed.
"Tre has added a tremendous energy to our team, one that has not been seen in the sprint area for some time," Peterson said. "It's fun for our men and women to have someone to cheer for in the short sprint events."
With the success surrounding Chambers, many forget he is just a freshman. So, how about the future?
"I would like to have a lot of the indoor records at Mizzou," Chambers said. "It is hard to predict the future, but I would like to be one of the best Mizzou has ever had - win a Big 12 championship, be an All-American. Coach (Brett) Halter made a wall of fame of All-Americans and it would be awesome to have my picture up there."
"It sounds crazy, but I knew that Tre was fast, and I knew he could challenge some of our current all-time marks," Peterson said. "Tre has a good head on his shoulders, a tremendous work effort and a great family upbringing. When we speak of our three core values, academic integrity, social responsibility and competitive excellence, Tre exceeds all three and this is why he is having and will continue to have success at Mizzou. I thought all along he could run as fast as he has so far, and I believe he will run faster."
Even hundreds of miles away, Chambers acknowledges and appreciates that family upbringing that has helped influence the student-athlete and person he is today.
"My parents and my girlfriend and my sister have been so supportive," Chambers said. "They are all in Colorado so it is hard for them to see the track meets. But they are always there for me even though I don't get to see them as much as I would like. My dad is my best friend and went to every track meet until now, so it is a big adjustment for him. But I appreciate him and I want to run fast so they can come to some big meets."