STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State University's track and field teams return to action Thursday through Saturday at the 112th Penn Relay Carnival. Action begins Thursday at 10 a.m. at the University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field.
"This is a big relay meet, a prestigious meet," said MSU head coach Al Schmidt. "It's a good showcase for our athletes. We've won some big trophies there in years past. We have a good chance with our women's distance medley relay, 4x1500- and 4x800-meter relays. We're looking to do well in the men's 4x400- and sprint medley relays. It's a quality tune up for the SEC Championships."
Last year at Penn, the Bulldogs came away with two third-place finishes in the 4x200- and 4x400-meter relays. Kendall Pyant II also finished fourth in the long jump (23-10 ¾), while Matt Denton tied for seventh in the high jump (6-08 ¾). In women's action, four Lady Bulldogs posted top 10 finishes. In the discus, Crystal Averitt met an NCAA regional qualifying mark throwing 156-08. In 2004, Tiffany McWilliams won the Olympic Development Mile in a regional qualifying time of 4:31.31, the second fastest time ever run at the Penn Relays. According to the university, the annual Penn Relays has not only been America's largest track meet, but the world's first and most recognized relays meet. The presence and prestige of the Relays is extremely significant. Every April, the Penn Relays draw many of the nation's - and the world's - top track athletes to Franklin Field. Relays participants have won gold medals in every modern (summer) Olympic Games except the 1980 Moscow games, which the United States boycotted. Last Saturday at the Auburn Invitational, junior Jen McPherson (Nampa, Idaho) ran 4 minutes, 22.26 seconds to win the women's 1500-meter run and qualify for June's Mideast Regional. The time is the best by a Southeastern Conference female athlete and ranks among the top 15 best times in the country this season.
Also in the 1500, senior Zita Magloire (Tallahassee, Fla.) took third, running 4:29.36, a personal best. Behind Magloire, four Lady Bulldogs also finished in the top 10 - junior Joy Griffith (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) in a personal record time of 4:32.29, sophomore Annie Falor (Flagstaff, Ariz.) in 4:33.07 (personal record), freshman Michelle Corrigan (Green Bay, Wis.) with a personal-best 4:39.57 and junior Mina Thorstenson (Okauchee, Wis.) in 4:41.43.
Junior Nicola Wilson (Trenton, N.J.) won the shot put with a regionally-qualifying throw of 49 feet, five inches. Sophomore Tim Williams (Pensacola, Fla.) won the men's high jump title after clearing 6-08 ¾. The Bulldog 4x400-meter relay team of junior Bruce Davis (Phenix City, Ala.), sophomore all-American Elzie Coleman (Newburgh, N.Y.), junior all-American Arthur Davis (Mobile, Ala.) and junior Ezra Jones (Wildwood, Fla.) won the meet title, clocking a season's best and regional-qualifying 3:05.43.
A. Davis finished fifth in the men's 200-meter dash, crossing the finish line in 21.50. In the 400-meter dash, B. Davis ran 46.45, junior Nathan Daniels (New Iberia, La.) clocked 47.03, Coleman came in at 47.06 and Jones ran 47.07 for the Bulldogs. All the marks are regional-qualifying times. In the 800-meter run, sophomore all-American Chris Woods (Atlanta, Ga.) clocked 1:48.94, a regional-qualifying time to finish second. Junior Ryan Irwin (Ballwin, Mo.) also finished in the top 10, taking seventh in a season's best 1:53.35.