News from MSU Media Relations--May 17

The lastest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...

Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State track and field coaching staff handed out the 2007 team awards recently at a season-ending team function. The staff presents four awards on both the men's and women's side to athletes that have excelled during the season and over their career at MSU.

The Bulldog Spirit Award is given to individuals who show team leadership on and off the track. The 2007 honorees for this award are sophomore Annie Falor and junior Chris Woods. Falor, a distance competitor for the Lady Bulldogs, had a season-best time of 17 minutes, 19.13 seconds in the 5000-meter run at the Georgia Relays. The Flagstaff, Ariz.-product also competes in the women's cross country team. This past fall, she placed ninth at the Crimson Classic and 24th at the Southeastern Conference Championships. Woods, an all-American during the 2005 season and an NCAA Championships qualifier a year ago, has competed in the 800-meter run and an alternate on the men's 4x400-meter relay squad. The Atlanta, Ga.-native will compete next week in the NCAA Mideast Regional in the 800-meter run. He clocked a time of 1:49.82 at the Auburn Invitational to advance to next week's postseason event.

Selected as the most improved award winners were sophomores Marrissa Harris and John Bailey. Harris, an NCAA qualifier in the women's long jump this season, improved in other areas from her freshman campaign. As a freshman, the Memphis, Tenn.-native, broke two MSU freshman records in the 100-meter hurdles and the heptathlon. In 2007, she posted a career-best mark in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, one and three quarter inches at the Alabama Relays. Her mark ranks second all-time on the school's superlative list in the long jump. This past week, Harris placed fourth in the heptathlon at the SEC Championships with 5,242 points. Bailey set three personal-best marks during the outdoor season in the 100, 200 and 400-meter runs. At the season lid-lifter FSU Snowbird event, he posted a time of 10.61 in the 100m and registered a team-best 21.24 in the 200m at the MSU-hosted Bulldog Invitational.

The team's Most Valuable Athlete award went to seniors Nicola Wilson and Travis McKay. Wilson is the school-record holder in the shot put with a mark of 50-01 ¾, which was set in 2006. As she winds down her collegiate career, the Trenton, N.J. resident will leave her mark in the Maroon and White record books. She currently owns the top-three shot put marks in MSU history. Her season-best performance came at the Texas Relays where she earned a mark of 49-07 ¾. Wilson ranks as one of the top SEC performers in the shot put. McKay, a distance standout for the Bulldogs, was a three-time SEC Runner of the Week Award winner during his stint in Maroon and White. He won the award during the first week of the outdoor season after his performance in the Georgia Relays. At the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Ca., he won the 3000-meter steeplechase in 8:52.23, the second-best time in the event at MSU. The Edmonton, Alberta, Canada-native has earned NCAA Regional bids in the men's 1500-meter run and the 300-meter steeplechase.

The Iron Dog Award is presented to track student athletes that have performed extensively over their four years on campus. The awards are named after former State track and field standouts Tiffany McWilliams and the late Jace Lacoste. McWilliams, one of most decorated female athletes in the history of MSU athletics, was a three-time NCAA Champion and all-American at the school. She won six SEC titles throughout her career and was named the conference's Runner of the Year in 2004. Lacoste, an all-SEC decathlete, was killed in an automobile accident in 1995. The award is given annually to the most outstanding Bulldog track and field athlete.

The 2007 winners of the four-year award are seniors Jennifer McPherson and Arthur Davis. McPherson joins McWilliams as one of three MSU women to compete in all three NCAA Championships within track and field ­ cross country, indoor track and outdoor. This season, she has qualified for the 800-meter and 1500-meter runs at the NCAA level. At the recent SEC Track and Field Championships, she claimed fourth in the 1500-meter run with a personal-best time of 4:20.87. Davis, a three-time all-American, will be bidding to become the second MSU track and field athlete to earn all-American status in all four seasons at State. The Mobile, Ala.-product is a member of the sixth-ranked 4x400-meter relay team and has qualified in the 400m at the NCAA Mideast Regional.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Freshman Chelsea Bramlett and junior Hayle Guess became the fifth duo in Mississippi State history to be named National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-South Region, announced Wednesday morning. It is a first time honor for both players, and they will now be eligible for All-American laurels, announced May 30 at the NCAA Women's College World Series, May 30 - June 6.

Bramlett continues her record setting freshman campaign with a First Team All-South Region honor. The Cordova, Tenn. native already earned Second Team All-SEC, as well as SEC Freshman of the Year. She becomes the fourth Bulldog to be named to the First Team.

The two-time SEC Freshman of the Week turned in one of the best rookie performances at State. Bramlett is one of two players to start every game this season. Bramlett finished the year setting a new MSU single-season stolen base record with 46. She was also third in the conference with 53 runs scored, fifth in hits with 79. She also finished the year with a .385 batting average, placing her tenth in the SEC. Her 38 consecutive stolen bases from February 16 to April 4 is the second longest streak ever at Mississippi State.

Guess earned Second Team All-South Region after being named Second Team All-SEC last week. The Moss Point, Miss. native started every game for the Bulldogs, and finished the season hitting .326. Guess is tied for sixth in triples with four, and is tenth with 25 stolen bases. The junior is hitting .320 with a team-leading five home runs, and has driven in 27 RBI while scoring 42 runs.

Mississippi State (34-25) will take on Pacific (34-22) in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tucson Regional on Friday evening at 6 p.m. (CT) at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium on the campus of the University of Arizona.

First Team All-South Region
Monica Abbot, P, Tennessee
Chrissy Owens, P, Alabama
Killian Roessner, C, LSU
Tonya Callahan, 1B, Tennessee
Lauren Parker, 2B, Alabama
Brooke Marnitz, SS, Kentucky
Kelley Montalvo, 3B, Alabama
Holly Tankersley, UTL-P, La.-Lafayette
Chelsea Bramlett, UTL-Non Pitcher, Mississippi State
Lindsay Schutzler, OF, Tennessee
India Chiles, OF, Tennessee
Brittany Rogers, OF, Alabama

Second Team All-South Region
Emily Turner, P, LSU
Dani Hofer, P, LSU
Angel Shamblin, P, Houston
Brooke Loudermilk, P, UT-Chattanooga
Ragan Blake, P, Texas State
Nicole Henderson, P, Mississippi Valley State
Bonnie Bynum, P, Tennessee Tech
Shannon Doepking, C, Tennessee
Charlotte Morgan, 1B, Alabama
Brooke Broadhead, 2B, McNeese State
Beth Boden, SS, Tennessee Tech
Jessica Valis, SS, Houston
Jessica Rogers, 3B, UT-San Antonio
Candy Shumpert, 3B, Mississippi Valley State
Mary Jane Callahan, UTL-P, Ole Miss
Jordan Praytor, UTL-Non Pitcher, Alabama
Leslie Klein, OF, LSU
Jazz Jackson, OF, LSU
Hayle Guess, OF, Mississippi State
Katie Jones, OF, UT-Arlington

Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado and Phil Turner recently helped lead the SCORE International basketball team to a perfect 5-0 record during the club's week-long goodwill tour of Argentina.

Varnado, a rising sophomore forward/center from Brownsville, Tenn., averaged 12.2 points during last week's overseas tour in addition to leading the SCORE club in rebounding (7.8 rpg) and blocks (4.2 bpg). He capped the trip by posting his second double-double with 22 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks in the team's 93-80 victory over Club Argentina this past weekend. Varnado also totaled 17 points, 11 boards and four rejects in a winning effort against Ramos Mejia earlier in the week.

Turner, a redshirt freshman guard for coach Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs, ranked as SCORE's third-leading scorer and third-best playmaker while averaging 13.0 points and 2.6 assists during the tour. The former Grenada High School standout also averaged 3.2 rebounds in Argentina. Turner posted the highest single-game scoring effort of the tour with 26 points, including 3-of-5 three-point accuracy, in the 112-99 victory over the Huracan de San Justo squad. He also tallied 15 points versus Ramos Mejia.

Guided by Decatur (Ala.) Heritage Christian Academy head basketball coach Tommy Kyle, this year's nine-man SCORE International squad also consisted of SEC standouts Jermaine Beal and JeJuan Brown of Vanderbilt, the South Carolina trio of Chad Gray, Bryce Sheldon and Mitchell Carter, and David Huertas of Ole Miss, along with Clemson's David Potter. The squad played five games in five days (May 8-12) against professional club teams based in Argentina, including four contests played in the capital city of Buenos Aires.

The 6-foot-9, 195-pound Varnado averaged 5.0 points, including 65 percent field-goal shooting, and 4.2 rebounds per game as a true freshman for the 21-14 Bulldogs this past season. Finishing fifth overall in the SEC in blocked shots (1.9 bpg), he broke Erick Dampier's previous freshman school record with 67 blocks a year ago.

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