News from MSU Media Relations--Sept. 14

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Volleyball, Football and SEC Student-Athletes.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Last weekend's 66-kill performance by Bulldog outside hitter Caitlin Rance was cited by Collegiate Volleyball Update ( as one of the nation's best for the week.

Rance hit .285 with 25 digs and eight blocks was named the most valuable player in the MCM Elegante' Invitational after the Bulldogs (5-4) won all three matches in the two-day tournament hosted in Beaumont, Texas, by Lamar University. The Kingwood, Texas, product averages 4.82 kills and 5.38 points per set, ranking 10th in the NCAA and second in the SEC in both statistical categories.

Western Kentucky's Jordyn Skinner was tabbed the national player of the week by the internet publication, and Rance was among 10 other top performers receiving strong consideration for the weekly honor.

Mississippi State launches its 20-match Southeastern Conference schedule this weekend hosting No. 7 Florida (7-2) Friday at 7 p.m. and South Carolina Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in matches at the Newell-Grissom Building.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State Department of Athletics on Wednesday awarded the general construction contract for the proposed Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex to JESCO, Inc., the Fulton, Miss., based industrial engineering and design contractor. Groundbreaking for the $25 million football training and office facility is scheduled for noon Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Brice Griffis Boardroom in the Palmeiro Center.

Twin brothers Lee and Leo Seal initiated fund-raising for the project with a $12 million gift from the Seal Foundation of Gulfport, Miss., and the facility will be named in honor of their father, Leo Seal Jr. The late Mr. Seal was a former Mississippi State football player, long-time Bulldog Club member and president of Hancock Bank. The gift is the largest in Bulldog athletics history.

The all-encompassing football facility, approximately 80,000 square feet, will include a new weight room, locker room, training room, and coaches' offices. The building will be located just north of the Palmeiro Center, and immediately west and above the current football practice fields.

With annual sales approaching $200 million, JESCO employs nearly 1,000 Mississippians in full-time and seasonal positions.

SEC Student-Athletes
STARKVILLE, Miss. - For the fifth consecutive year, student-athletes across the Southeastern Conference are joining forces to help the community. From Friday, September 16, thru Sunday, October 2, all 12 SEC schools will participate in the 2011 Together We CAN Drive, benefiting regional food banks and shelters.

The SEC will partner with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) members from each SEC institution for the league-wide effort. The drive will be held at designated campus and community locations during the 10-day time period.

Since this marks the 5-year anniversary of the SEC Together We CAN Drive, student-athletes are hoping to collect enough food and donations to eclipse the 500,000 total pounds collected mark.

At Mississippi State, the collection point during the entire 10-day event will be established at the Templeton Athletic Academic Center (220 Lakeview Drive) on the MSU campus. Dropoffs can be made there Monday - Friday (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.). The building will be closed on weekends.

For more information on MSU's Together We CAN effort, please contact Ann Carr at 662-325-2532.

The SEC SAAC is comprised of two student-athletes from each institution. The SAAC was established in 1992 to serve as a medium of communication through which student-athletes, conference administrators, institutional representatives and coaches discuss and take action on issues relating to rules governance, student-athlete welfare and community service.

Members of the SEC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for 2011-12 are: Courtney McLane (Alabama, tennis); Kyle Weeks (Alabama, swimming & diving); Jasmine Norton (Arkansas, volleyball); Courtney O'Grady (Arkansas, swimming & diving); Morgan Murphy (Auburn, softball); Maya Pressley (Auburn, track & field); Betsy Smith (Florida, volleyball); Brian Howell (Florida, swimming & diving); Chelsea Nauta (Georgia, swimming & diving); J.P. Hackney (Georgia, track & field); Ann Armes (Kentucky, volleyball); Ashleigh Gustafson (Kentucky, softball); Madie Jones (LSU, volleyball); Brandon Gordon (LSU, track & field); Amanda Hutcheson (Ole Miss, softball); Morgan Springer (Ole Miss, volleyball); Renee Masterson (Mississippi State, track & field); Nick Lewis (Mississippi State, track & field); Samantha Arbaugh (South Carolina, softball); Courtney Newton (South Carolina, basketball); Natalie Plustkota (Tennessee, tennis); Derek Paul (Tennessee, swimming & diving) and Caleb Welchans (Vanderbilt, football).

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