With high hopes coming into the season, the MSU men's track team ranked as high as second in the nation at one point during the season. Due to injuries and just plain ole bad luck during the season and during the NCAA Outdoor Track Championships, the men's team wound up 20th in the nation at the NCAA Outdoor Track Championships this past weekend. The women's team, due to the individual title won by sophomore middle-distance runner Tiffiany McWilliams, wound up 27th in the nation, scoring 10 points, the most in school history.
The extremely gifted Tiffiany McWilliams won the 1500-meters, beating the meet record by over 1 1/2 seconds.
While the men's team didn't win any individual titles, several athletes scored points, including seniors Pierre Browne (2nd in the 100m dash, 8 pts.) and Kelvin Harris (110m hurdles, 1 pt.) and outstanding freshman Trey Hardee (5th in the decathlon, 4 pts.).
Other men's team athletes who qualified for the NCAA Championship but didn't score points were juniors Marquis Davis (injury kept him from qualifying for the finals at the NCAA), Keston Nelson, Jamel Ashley and sophomores LaChristopher Lewis, Glenn McFadden (injured during a relay sprint).
Although the men's track team's didn't achieve their goals this year after having such high hopes coming into the season, next year's team could be even better due to a very talented and youthful nucleus that includes Hardee, Nelson, Ashley, Lewis and McFadden. Davis will probably go pro and not be back next year.
As Lewis and McFadden continue to improve their speeds, look for MSU to be a force once again in the 100m and 200m sprints, as well as the sprint relay teams. Ashley, who first attended MSU in January of this year, wasn't able to work with the team until January. With a full year of training under his belt, he will also be a force in the sprints. Nelson will also figure prominently in the sprints.
Hardee, who was a newcomer to the throws this year, will improve his decathlon score greatly next year. Hardee also has a chance to contribute in the pole vault. Senior-to-be Dan Hunter, a redshirt this past season, will also be a significant factor in the decathlon next season.
MSU's young throwers (hammer, javelin, shot put) junior Clay Garner, sophomores J.D. Erickson, Matt Huey and freshman John-Micah Stowers should improve enough to give MSU a chance to score in the SEC Championship Meet and even an outside chance to do something in the NCAA Championship next season.
Add in an outstanding recruiting class that includes Missouri sprinters Elliott Morant (best 60m time in the nation, excellent 300m, 200m 100m dash, 110 hurdles times), Damond Berry (excellent 100m, 200m, 400m dash times, also an excellent football player who will walk on at MSU), Alabama sprinters Arthur Davis (400m dash time 3rd in nation, excellent 200m time), Daniel Nolan (100m and 300m hurdles times best in Alabama this year) and you have the makings of another outstanding MSU men's track team.
Once all of MSU's track and field signees have been announced, I will write a more in-depth article covering all of the track teams; men, women and cross country.
Have a great Bulldog week!
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.