News from MSU Media Relations--April 2

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Softball, Men's Basketball, Women's Golf, Track & Field and Football.

Softball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Heavy rains have forced the cancellation of Tuesday night's non-conference softball game in Itta Bena between Mississippi State and Mississippi Valley State.

The season finale between the two teams will not be rescheduled. State (30-11) swept the all three meetings with MVSU this year, outscoring the Delta Devilettes 32-1.

The Bulldogs return to Southeastern Conference play Thursday, hosting Kentucky in a doubleheader slated for a 4 p.m. start at the MSU Softball Field. Admission to all MState home softball games is free of charge.

Thursday's second game will be broadcast live on WMSV 91.1 and online at www.wmsv.msstate.edu.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State senior outfielder Hayle Guess has been named one of 25 winners of the third annual Spirit of State Award, the university announced last Friday.

The Spirit of State Award is the premier honor given to students on the MSU campus, recognizing outstanding personal contributions to student life at Mississippi State.

"This is a great honor for both Hayle and the Mississippi State softball program," Bulldog head coach Jay Miller said. "To have one of our players honored as one of the top students as Mississippi State is great. Hayle really epitomizes the definition of a student-athlete. She has been a great leader for our team, especially for the younger players. Hopefully some of them can follow in her footsteps down the road."

A three-year letterwinner for the 21st-ranked Bulldogs, Guess has accumulated a number of honors during her MSU career. The Moss Point, Miss., native earned MSU Softball Rookie of the Year and Freshman All-SEC in her first year, and she has gone on to earn second team all-SEC and second team all-region accolades.

A career .298 hitter with the Bulldogs, Guess rates in the top 10 in 14 different career offensive categories. She has 199 hits in 667 at-bats with 23 doubles, 14 triples, 16 home runs, 99 RBI and 139 runs scored. The school record-holder for single-game triples (three v. Mississippi in 2007) and RBI (seven v. Pacific in 2007), Guess has stolen 72 bases in 80 attempts in her career.

This season, Guess, a starter in center field for all 41 games, is hitting .308 while leading the team with five home runs, including one of the team's two inside-the-park home runs. She also leads the team with four triples and is tied for second on the squad with 27 RBI and 28 runs scored.

Guess has received numerous academic honors to go along with her outstanding honors on the diamond. The NFCA Academic All-American has been selected to the SEC All-Academic Team three times, the BulldognHonor Roll nine times and the President's Scholar List three times.

Outside the softball field, Guess has served the past two years as president of the M-Club, a student-athlete group that takes part in various community service projects throughout the year. As the president of the M-Club, she serves on Big Dawgs, a combination of various club presidents on campus who meet to discuss pertinent issues. She also represents the M-Club on the school's athletic council which focuses on issues relating to MSU athletics.

"Receiving a Spirit of State Award is a huge honor," Guess said. "Being a student at Mississippi State, you have the responsibility to carry yourself with integrity and respect. This award is given to just a few people each year, and I am proud to be one of those chosen to receive this honor."

A member of State's Fellowship of Christian Athletes leadership team, Guess also holds a position on the leadership council for the Bulldog softball squad. She was selected as the softball liaison on the student athletic advisory council which discusses various community service opportunities for MSU student-athletes.

Guess, who is specializing in clinical exercise physiology, is the daughter of Rodney and Teri Guess.


Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Adding to his growing list of 2007-08 season accomplishments, Mississippi State junior guard/forward Jamont Gordon has been named this year's recipient of the Cellular South Howell Trophy Award. The presentation was made Monday night by the Jackson-based Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum at Tupelo's BancorpSouth Conference Center.

Named in honor of former MSU All-American Bailey Howell, the Cellular South Howell Trophy is given annually to the state of Mississippi's top collegiate men's basketball player. Gordon was joined by his senior Bulldog teammate Charles Rhodes and Ole Miss senior Dwayne Curtis as this year's trio of finalists for the coveted in-state award.

A former prep all-American at powerhouse Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, Gordon presently stands seventh on Mississippi State's all-time scoring list with 1,558 career points, along with ranking third with 484 career assists and tied for 12th place with 677 career rebounds in 99 career collegiate outings. He also ranks fifth on the school's all-time list for career free throws made (403), third in free throws attempted (588) and ninth in three-point field goals made (129). A three-year starter for coach Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs, Gordon most recently helped lead the 2007-08 State squad to a second straight SEC Western Division championship and a second-round NCAA Tournament appearance with a 23-11 overall record and 12-4 SEC mark.

Also a finalist for last year's Cellular South Howell Trophy Award, Gordon becomes the second MSU player to claim the prestigious honor since its inception in 2005. During the inaugural year of the award, former State All-American Lawrence Roberts earned the 2005 Cellular South Howell Trophy Award over Bulldog teammate Shane Power and Tommie Eddie of Ole Miss.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State sophomore Jarvis Varnado, the nation's leading shot-blocker, has been named to the 2007-08 CollegeInsider.com Defensive All-America Team.

The 16-man honor roll was compiled by the CollegeInsider.com staff with input provided by NCAA Division I coaches and NBA scouts. The team also includes SEC standouts Joe Crawford of Kentucky and LSU's Garrett Temple, as well as Final Four participants Joey Dorsey of Memphis, Kansas' Russell Robinson, and the UCLA tandem of Darren Collison and Russell Westbrook.

A native of Brownsville, Tenn., Varnado leads the nation with an average of 4.62 blocked shots per contest, while his 157 total blocks on the year easily broke Erick Dampier's previous single-season school standard of 106 rejects set during MSU's 1995-96 Final Four campaign. In addition, Varnado matched Shaquille O'Neal's all-time SEC season mark of 157 blocks set at LSU in 1991-92 to also rank tied for 15th all-time in NCAA history.

This year's unanimous selection as the SEC's Defensive Player of the Year, Varnado also averaged 7.9 points per game and ranks sixth in the SEC in rebounding (7.8 rpg) on the season. The 6-foot-9, 210-pound defensive stalwart recorded six double-doubles in 2007-08, including the school's third recorded triple-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks in the Bulldogs' 69-64 victory over Kentucky on Jan. 15. Varnado also had 10 blocks against NCAA Tournament entries Miami (Fla.) and Georgia. All total during the 2007-08 season, he was credited with five or more blocks on 17 occasions.

With 224 career blocks in just 69 MSU outings through two seasons, Varnado already ranks second on the school's all-time list behind Dampier's three-year total of 249 career blocks. After posting the fourth-best season field-goal percentage mark (.641) in school history this past year, Varnado now tops State's all-time chart in career field-goal percentage (.643).

Varnado's defensive presence in the post this season for coach Rick Stansbury's NCAA Tournament squad has enabled the 23-11 Bulldogs to rank second nationally in blocked shots (7.85 bpg) as well as field-goal percentage defense (.370) en route to setting an all-time school record for blocks (267 this season after 222 last season) for the second consecutive season.

For his season-long, shot-blocking efforts for the SEC Western Division champions, Varnado will be showcased in a one-page photo feature entitled ‘Shootaround' slated to run in the 2008 NCAA Men's Final Four Official Program, published by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, CBS Sports and IMG.

This year's 16-member CollegeInsider.com Defensive All-America Team is rounded out by Stanley Burrell of Xavier, Oklahoma State's Marcus Dove, Frank Elegar of Drexel, Wisconsin's Michael Flowers, Jeremiah Rivers of Georgetown, Diamon Simpson of St. Mary's, Connecticut's Hasheem Thabeet, Deron Washington of Virginia Tech, and Washington State's Kyle Weaver.


Women's Golf
STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. - The Mississippi State women's golf team opened first-round play at the John Kirk/Lady Panther Intercollegiate Monday at the Eagles Landing Country Club, firing a 313 and stands in fourth heading into Tuesday's final round. The Lady Bulldogs are 13 shots off the lead, but are only five strokes out of second.

Sophomore Suzanne Stanley matched her career low round Monday, firing an even-par 73 as she stands in a tie for third place, one shot off the individual leader. Senior Julia Huh is in the top-20 after carding a 78 in Monday's round. Freshmen Mallory Batson and Erika Thornton both shot 81 and are tied for 39th while sophomore Gina Sharp fired an 86 and is tied for 66th.

Host Georgia State has the lead after the Panthers shot a 300 on Monday. GSU leads by eight strokes over second-place Jacksonville State and 12 strokes over third-place team Western Carolina. GSU's Sandra Maier and Miami's Jessica Steward are tied for the individual lead after rounds of 72.

Tuesday's final round will begin with a 7:30 a.m. CT tee time on holes #1 and #10. MSU will begin play on hole #1 at 8:10 a.m. CT.

STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. - Mississippi State sophomore Suzanne Stanley shot a 1-over-par, 74 on Tuesday to claim the individual championship by two strokes at the John Kirk/Lady Panther Intercollegiate held at the Eagle's Landing Country Club in Stockbridge, Ga. The Decatur, Ala., native claimed her first collegiate title, shooting a 147 in the 36-hole tournament, which was the second best two-round score of her career.

"It was good to see Suzanne play consistent from start to finish in the tournament," said MSU head coach Christi Sanders. "The course suited her game with her length and she was very solid with her short game. Her teammates and I are proud and happy for her."

As a team, the Lady Bulldogs matched its season's best finish, concluding the tournament in fifth place with a 623. Senior Julia Huh notched a top-15 finish as she shot a 76 Tuesday to finish with a 154 and conclude the tournament in a tie for 13th. Freshman Mallory Batson concluded play in a tie for 37th with a 154, firing a round of 78 in the on Tuesday. Freshman Erika Thornton finished tied for 50th with a 163 while sophomore Gina Sharp closed out play in 67th with a 169.

Host Georgia State edged Jacksonville State in a one-hole playoff to capture the team title with a 613. Western Carolina remained in third place while East Carolina jumped to fourth after a field-best 304 on Tuesday.

The Lady Bulldogs will return to action April 7-8, as they travel to Miami, Fla., to compete in the Canes and Cardinal Classic.


Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. - After sweeping both the 12th annual Jace Lacoste and the Bulldog Invitational team titles in back-to-back weekends, Mississippi State's track and field team will travel to Austin, Texas for the renowned 81st annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. The four-day event will begin on Wednesday, April 2nd and continue through Saturday, April 5th.

Six events are slated for the opening day of the relays with MSU competing in five of those. Junior Marrissa Harris (Memphis, Tenn.) will be the first MState athlete to compete, taking part in the heptathlon, with action starting at 12:30 p.m. CST. Senior Pad Judd (Cushing, Wis.) will challenge the field in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Last weekend at the Bulldog Invitational, Judd finished second in the 3000-meter steeplechase, turning in a personal-best time of nine minutes, 17.37 seconds.

In the 800-meter run, all-American seniors Golden Coachman (Birmingham, Ala.) and Chris Woods (Atlanta, Ga.) will collide with the rest of the field. Both seniors have already qualified for the NCAA Mideast Regional, with Woods picking up his qualifying time of 1:48.40 at the Bulldog Invitational and Coachman earning his qualifying time of 1:49.19 at the Jace Lacoste Invitational.

Both teams will conclude their first day of events on the University of Texas campus, clashing in the 5000-meter run. On the women's side, the freshmen duo of Simone Domingue (Lafayette, La.) and Sarah Hammes (Meridian, Miss.) will represent MSU. Both Domingue and Hammes set season-best in the 5000-meter run at the Southern Miss Invitational earlier in the season, finishing the race in 17:35.50 and 17:47.36, respectively.

On the men's side, senior Ashenafi Arega (Atlanta, Ga.), freshman Adam Lenz (Montpelier, Ind.) and junior Robert Scribner (Tupelo, Miss.) will bid for top honors in the race. The trio established personal-best marks in the 5000-meter run at the Jaguar Premier. Arega finished in 14:45.56; Lenz came in at 14:55.76 and Scribner at 14:52.82.

The rest of the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs will start their quest on Thursday.

To follow all the action from the Mike A. Myers Stadium at UT, go to www.texassports.com. Live results will be posted throughout the event. For video coverage of the Texas Relays, go to www.flotrack.org.


Football
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) will re-air the 2008 Mississippi State spring football game at least twice next week, the regional television network announced today.

The re-broadcast of the games, to be shown on Thursday, April 10 at 8 p.m. CT and on Friday, April 11 at 11:30 a.m. CT, will feature interviews with several players, head coach Sylvester Croom, offensive coordinator Woody McCorvey and defensive coordinator Charlie Harbison.

The "enhanced version" of the game will also show scenes from around campus during Super Bulldog Weekend.

Fans may check local listings with cable or satellite providers for channel availability.


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