MSU Bruce Davis Running for a National Title

Mississippi State senior Bruce Davis is fully aware of the task at hand and knew what the future held this week at the NCAA Championships in Sacramento, Calif. The Bulldog sprinter, who qualified for the semifinals of the 400 meters Wednesday evening, will join three State teammates to compete in the 4 x 400 relay event Thursday.

The Phoenix City, Ala., native will compete all four days of the NCAA Championships, but he's been preparing for just this moment his entire collegiate career.

"Really it's been a dream come true," said Davis. "I know I can handle it and can run both well. If I run well on Friday and make it to the second round, then I will be running Wednesday through Saturday.

"But Coach (Steve) Dudley has trained my body for this for a long time. It's what I have been getting ready to do. Being conditioned is the least of my worries because I am in the best shape of my life."

It also helps that Davis has experienced this stage before.

Last June, Davis teamed up with Arthur Davis (no relation), Ezra Jones and Nathan Daniels to finish seventh in the NCAA Championships, which gave the four Bulldogs All-American status.

"Well, we made All-American in the 4 x 400 last year," said Davis. "And last year, it was more of not knowing that atmosphere, with the media and the cameras and all of the distractions.

"This year we are not as nervous. We have really adjusted well and adapted to the setting out here."

A year ago, Davis and his 4 x 400 teammates finish the race in three minutes and five seconds, which was good enough to garner national attention and rank among the country's best.

But Davis was already anticipating a return trip to the championships, and one last shot to move up in the rankings.

The 4 x 400 relay team posted a season-best 3:04.72 in the Mideast Regional held in late May at Columbia, Mo.

That number ranks fifth among the 18 teams in the 4 x 400 field.

"It's been a good senior year," said Davis. "Last year when we made All-American and ranked third in the country, we still knew we could do better."

Also in the Mideast Regional, Davis sported a personal-best 46.02 and was runner-up while advancing to the NCAA Championships.

As of late Tuesday night, Davis was enjoying his visit to California. He admitted the weather was 'perfect' and there was just one main concern, something that will definitely resolve itself by the end of the team's stay at the NCAA Championships.

"It's been good," said Davis of his stay in California. "It's been hard to adjust to the time zone and being two hours behind. You have to get your rest and be prepared. But other than the time thing and all, it's been great and the weather is great."

With a degree in educational psychology, Davis has plans to return to school after this semester and grab his master's degree as well. However, a lot of those plans could be put on hold, at least for a little while.

Davis knows there will be a lot of eyes at the NCAA Championships, and other athletes trying to impress the right person for a shot at the next level.

"My first goal is to get my degree and start looking for a good job," said Davis. "That will be my first option and thing I look at. But a lot depends on how this weekend goes, too.

"I feel like I am just starting to peak in my career, and that could always present the possibility of a professional career."

Davis exploded on the Division 1 level last spring and has yet to slow up, literally.

After being a three-time juco All-American at Wallace State Community College, Davis quickly joined forces on State's 4 x 400 relay team, the same group he will compete for a title with starting on Friday.

Along with last year's No. 7 national finish, Davis and company were fifth at the talent-rich SEC Championships. They also captured events at Auburn, the prestigious Penn Relays, at Florida State and back home in the Jace Lacoste Invitational.

And two quick semesters later, Davis is confident the 4 x 400 group of seniors can go out on top.

"Most of us have been running together for two years now and the chemistry has been great going on those two years," said Davis. "This would be a great way to cap off our careers in college.

"It's a tough role but we are not ready for it to end just yet. If we win then it would be a great footnote to our careers at Mississippi State."

Davis discussed the top-flight competition on hand this week at the track NCAA Championships.

But a lot of the talent showcased has already been seen by Davis and company. They finished strong at the SEC Championships. And they finished third at the Mideast Regional, considered the toughest of the regionals, trailing only SEC rivals Kentucky and LSU.

And now comes one final challenge, with Big 12 champion Baylor largely tagged the favorite in the 4 x 400 relay event. But Davis strongly believes in himself and his teammates.

Yes, the champion will largely be determined by speed. But Davis has another factor in mind that could favor the Bulldogs this weekend.

"I think we have a great outside shot of winning," said Davis. "Baylor is ranked number one but we feel that they have not been tested a lot.

"I feel that we have the heart and the talent to win and we have a good outside shot of winning. All of us are seniors and want to run this race with everything we have because it's the last. If we run with heart we can win this."

Paul Jones is a writer for the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website. Paul, also a sports writer for the Columbus Commercial Dispatch, can be reached by email at

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