STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State sophomore catcher Chelsea Bramlett has been named one of 25 finalists for the 2008 USA Softball Player of the Year Award, one of the most prestigious honors in women's college softball.
The Cordova, Tenn., native is one of five players from the Southeastern Conference in the pool of 25 finalists. Ten finalists will be determined on May 7, and the final three, who will be recognized during the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, will be announced on May 21.
"This is a very deserving honor for Chelsea. She has had an outstanding season, and she means a lot to our program not only offensively, but also with what she does behind the plate in working with our pitching staff," MState head coach Jay Miller said. "We hope to see her move on to the top 10, the top three and then player of the year if she keeps playing the way she has so far this season."
Pacing MSU (32-15) at the plate all season, Bramlett is hitting at a .449 clip which is third in the Southeastern Conference and 10th nationally. The first team preseason All-SEC selection also tops the squad with an SEC third-best 40 runs and 38 stolen bases, which are the second-most in the league and fifth-most nationally. Her stolen base total stands as the third-most in a season in school history, eight behind the record 46 she set last season as a freshman.
The team and league leader with 70 hits, Bramlett has also added three triples and a pair of home runs during her second season with the Maroon and White.
During her two-year career with the Bulldogs, Bramlett has compiled a program second-best .412 batting average. Her 84 career stolen bases are the third-most in school annals.
Bramlett and her Bulldog teammates travel to Columbia, S.C., this weekend to meet South Carolina in a three-game SEC set Saturday and Sunday. First pitch both days is set for noon CST.
Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State Associate Head Track and Field Coach Steve Dudley has announced the signing of Dwight Mullings and Kevin Bowen of Essex College to a national letter-of-intent. Mullings and Bowen will begin competing for the Bulldogs during the 2008-09 season.
Mullings has achieved all-American status both seasons at Essex College in Newark, N.J. under the direction of veteran head coach Michael Smart. Mullings placed first in the 400-meter dash with a time of 47.33 seconds to propel his team to a NJCAA Indoor National Championship in 2007. The sophomore also finished fourth in the 200-meter dash, running a time of 21.65.
In 2008, Mullings took runner-up in the 400-meter dash with a time of 48.41 at the NJCAA Indoor Championships behind teammate Demetrius Pinder.
"Being able to sign Dwight has to cap off this year's recruiting class as one of the best classes in many years," said Dudley. "Dwight is one if not the top Junior College recruit this year. His short and long sprinting ability will elevate our overall team relay placement at the national championships."
"I signed with MSU because when I came to visit I liked the training area and the weather," said Mullings. "I also liked the study environment and I liked the way the coaches trained the athletes."
Mullings is the son of Juliet Williams. His brother, Steve, lettered at MSU in 2005.
Bowen also comes to MSU after a standout career at Essex College. At the 2008 NJCAA Indoor Championships, Bowen posted a top-five finish in the 600-meter run, completing the race in 1:21.19. Bowen also ran the second leg of the runner-up distance medley relay team that finished in a time of 10:17.56. Bowen topped off his last NJCAA Indoor Championship, competing in the 4x800-meter relay, helping the Wolverines to a third-place finish.
"Kevin may be the steal of this year's recruiting class," said Dudley. "He had a fantastic indoor season and looks to make his country's Olympic team this summer. He is a fantastic sprinter and also student."
"I signed with MSU because when I came to visit two weeks ago, I enjoyed my visit," said Bowen. "I saw they had a good program and education system. The way their athletic department manages and takes care of their athletes is also very good."
When coming onto campus in the fall, Bowen plans on majoring in business and information systems. He is the son of Roslyn Bowen.