News from MSU Media Relations--Jan 13, 2012

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Track and Field, Men's Tennis.

Men's Tennis

#16 Bulldog Tennis Downs UC-Santa Barbara In Season Opener

HONOLULU, Hawaii - Mississippi State's 16th-ranked men's tennis squad earned a 5-2 victory over Santa Barbara in its 2012 season opener on Friday.

In doubles, MSU took an early win on court 3 as the duo of James Chaudry and George Coupland took down Santa Barbara's Ben Recknagel and Alexander Gryaznov 8-2.

However, that would be the only victory in doubles for the Bulldogs as UCSB took charge on 1 and 2. In the top spot for State was the 12th-ranked tandem of Louis Cant and Malte Stropp, who were upset 8-4 by UCSB's Matthew Forget and Mbonisl Ndimande. On court 2, Santa Barbara's duo of Greg Scott and Axel Bouillon took down MSU's Artem Ilyushin and Ethan Wilkinson in a tight 8-6 decision to seal the doubles point for the Gauchos.

Swinging to singles play, the 90th-ranked Stropp evened the score for the Bulldogs as he ousted Scott 6-2, 6-4 in a quick two-setter in the No. 3 position. However, Santa Barbara was quick to respond as Ziad Sultan took down MSU newcomer Wilkinson 6-3, 6-3 on court 6 to put the Gauchos up 2-1.

Yet again, the Bulldogs were able to even the match as Ilyushin held off UCSB's Forget in the top spot 6-3, 7-6(3). MSU then earned its first lead of the day when No. 45 Cant battled hard to take a 6-4, 6-4 victory from Santa Barbara's Ndimande on court 4, putting the Bulldogs ahead 3-2.

Two nailbiters came on courts 2 and 5 where both matches went to three sets. No. 32 Coupland dropped an early 7-5 first set in the No. 5 spot to UCSB's Bouillon. However, Coupland battled to take the second 6-4, taking the match to a third set. In a breeze, Coupland then rolled through his Gaucho opponent, taking the third and clinching the team match for the Bulldogs with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 win.

In the final match of the day, State's 79th-ranked Chaudry took an early 6-1 set over Scott, yet fell 6-1 in the second set to force another thrilling three-setter. In the third, Chaudry and Scott battled to a 6-6 tiebreaker where Chaudry would prove victorious and take the match 6-1, 1-6, 7-6(5) for MSU's fifth point.

Mississippi State will be back in action tomorrow when they take on the University of Hawaii in Honolulu at 2 p.m. CT.

Track and Field

Record Setting Performance For MSU At UAB Invitational

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A new season is underway for Mississippi State's indoor track and field team and for one athlete the first meet was a path to the record books.

Senior Jessica Merriweather began the 2012 season just outside of the Top 5 on the MSU all-time high jump list, but that all changed on Thursday. With a height of 5-08 the Memphis native jumped her way to a first place finish and into a tie for the number one spot on the all-time list.

Also posting top finishes for the Maroon and White women were Katie Hutson who finished second in the mile (5:12.47), Keisha Wallace taking third in the 60m hurdles (8.80), Jody-Ann Muir who was fourth in the 200m dash (24.74) and the distance medley team who also placed fourth (12:35.19).

Merriweather began the meet with a win and in like fashion, the Lady Bulldog 4x400m relay team ended it with a victory. The foursome ran 3:44.93 to bring the UAB Invitational and MSU's first meet to a close.

A small group of Bulldogs saw action in Birmingham and among those there were six first places, two seconds, a third and two fifth place finishers. Claiming medalist positions were D'Angelo Cherry in the 60m dash (6.73), Ed Wesela in the shot put (57-03 ¾), Marcus Jackson in the high jump (7-02 ½), Daundre Barnaby in the 400m dash (47.46), Tavaris Tate in the 200m dash (20.96) and the 4x400m relay team who rounds out the group with their time of 3:14.15.

The completion of the 4x400m relays signaled the end of UAB Invitational, but not the end of MSU's weekend competition, as the team will again see action at the Birmingham Crossplex on Saturday at the Alabama Invitational.

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