International Phenom Mullings Seeking Success

For 22-year-old Steve Mullings attention from news reporters has scared him since his days at Vere Technical High School in Jamaica. The MSU junior sprinter found the most unusual places to disappear to keep from doing interviews.

"One of the places I could run from the press was the men's bathroom. I would sit there until they all left," said Mullings. "If a bathroom was not close by, I hid on the floor of the school bus just to stay away from reporters."

Not since 2003 has a men's sprints team looked as promising as the Bulldogs' 2005 squad. With the losses of Glenn McFadden and Keston Nelson, MSU was faced with the task of bringing in talent to fill some big shoes.

Enter Mullings. Perhaps the most anticipated sprinter to arrive on the MSU campus since Pierre Browne in 2000, Mullings comes to State from Barton Co. (Kansas) CC. The 2004 NJCAA national champion in the 100 and 200-meter dashes and the 4x100-meter relay brings a long resume of accomplishments to MSU. While MSU Associate Head Coach Steve Dudley describes the 5-feet-10 inch sprinter as a quiet and shy young man, the NJCAA First Team all-American is expected to make an immediate impact on the team.

"Steve is a quiet person, which is the type of sprinter we bring to Mississippi State," Dudley said. "For a sprinter, they have to focus and train year round for 10 seconds. Sprints is a dynamic sport where you train year round. He can take himself mentally and focus on his race and pay close attention to detail. You want someone who is very powerful, dynamic and holds composure. That's the type of person Steve is. My goals for him are the same as his personal goals. He wants to be an individual NCAA champion in a year that's going to be difficult to do. There are lots of talented guys out there who could win. This year, you could finish third or fourth with a time that would normally win."

Mullings won the indoor 60-meter dash at the 2004 NJCAA Championships in 6.59 seconds, breaking the previous meet record. He also won the indoor 200-meters title, tying the meet record (21.04). If it was not enough being an NJCAA national champion, Mullings is the reigning Jamaican national champion in the outdoor 200-meters (20.22).

In the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) outdoor rankings through 2004, Mullings is 19th on the outdoor 200 list and 23rd on the 100-meters list.

The Perth Town, Jamaica-native does not mind the fact he has to eat baked chicken, fish and vegetables seven days a week; train and work-out six days a week; and attend four hours of study hall a week to have a chance at becoming a NCAA and Olympic champion.

Being the youngest of six brothers and two sisters, most do not expect Mullings to be the timid person he is. With nine children running around the same house, it seems as though it would be hard for one child to grow up quiet and shy. He admitted that while growing up in Jamaica, he had dreams of coming to the United States and attend college.

"If I could have changed anything in my life, I would have tried out for the Olympics after I won the 200 at the Jamaican national championships," said Mullings. "My number one goal in life is to graduate from MSU and to make my family and coach happy. I also want to become an Olympic champion."

Coming from another country to the United States it seems as though most people would feel like an outcast. However, Mullings does not feel that way. According to him, transition from Jamaica to Kansas and eventually Mississippi was not a big challenge. Driving on the opposite side of the road was not that big of a deal, according to him. He said food was a big difference.

"The food here in the US is more fast-food and fried," he said. "The food in Jamaica is spicier."

When asked about where Mullings sees himself in the next 10 years he hinted at a possibly retirement from the sport.

"I plan to return to Jamaica to visit my family, but still live in the US and train, but in the next 10 years I plan to be retired from track, working in sports communication. I would love to be married with four kids."

While the transition from another country is not his focus, Mullings turns his attention to graduating from college and becoming a champion. He will begin his journey to the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Championships when MSU opens the season at the FSU Snowbird in Tallahassee, Fla. March 4-5.

"What I would love to take from Mississippi State is my degree in sports communication and a NCAA national championship," he proudly noted.

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