PHILADELPHIA, Penn. - For only the second time in program history, the Mississippi State Lady Bulldog track and field team had a relay team advance to the Championship of America at the Penn Relays. Both the men's and women's 4x200-meter relay teams qualified for the event via their finishes in preliminaries held on Friday, April 25, at Franklin Field. The men's 4x400-meter relay team also moves on to the Championship of America.
The women's 4x200-meter relay finished eighth in the preliminaries of the race with sophomore Bridgett Rose, junior Priscilla Gaines, junior Gabrielle Dillon and junior Marrissa Harris, running the second-best time all-time at MSU (one minute, 35.77 seconds). The group will continue their quest for the Championship of America crown tomorrow at 2:25 p.m. (ET).
Following the women's 4x200-meter relay will be the men's 4x200-meter relay team. The quartet of freshman O'Neal Wilder, senior Jamil Hubbard, junior John Bailey and sophomore Kendall May won their heat with a time of 1:23.05 to finish in third overall in the race. They will run tomorrow at 2:40 p.m. (ET) in the Championship of America.
The 4x400-meter relay foursome of Bailey, Hubbard, senior Chris woods and Wilder added another regional qualifying mark to their arsenal, finishing the race in 3:05.72 to take third place. They will also compete in the Championship of America race tomorrow at 5:50 p.m. (ET)
Competing in the Championship of America in the sprint medley, Wilder, Bailey, Hubbard and Woods just missed tasting a Championship of America crown. The relay team finished second with a time of 3:16.83 behind LSU. With their time, the group takes over fourth all-time in the category at MSU.
After earning their first NCAA regional mark of the season in the 4x100-meter relay to advance to the finals of the event, the Lady Bulldogs 4x100 contingent of sophomore LaQuinta Aaron, Dillon, Rose and Gaines, improved on their regional mark, clocking a season-best time of 45.33 to finish in fourth place. With their time, they are now fourth on the all-time list in the 4x100-meter relay at MState.
Harris continued her rewriting of the MSU history books, breaking the 100-meter hurdle record for the second time this season, running a NCAA regional-qualifying and personal-best 13.44 in the preliminaries of the event to finish in ninth. Harris will compete in the finals of the competition tomorrow at 4:05 p.m. (ET).
The men's 4x100-meter relay team of May, Bailey, Hubbard and Wilder picked up a regional qualifying mark in the event with their 11th place time of 40.50. The finals of the event will take place tomorrow at 1:35 p.m. (ET).
In the 400-meter hurdles, senior Kyle Roberts clocked a time of 52.61 to earned 11th place, while freshman Emanuel Mayers finished in the top 25, carding a time of 53.27.
"It was a great job by them (women's 4x200-meter relay)," said MSU Head Coach Al Schmidt. "We are the second seed in the Championship of the America race. It was a great showing. The whole day was great. LaQuinta (Aaron) ran a really good leg in the 4x100. We were happy. Marrissa (Harris) made it to the finals of the 100-meter hurdles. We are just having a good meet. We have more work to do tomorrow though. This is the best Penn Relays that the women have run, team-wise and the men are showing why we are one of the best sprint teams in the county."
Results from Mississippi State's final day at the Penn Relays can be followed on the MSU Athletics web site at www.mstateathletics.com.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The 23rd-ranked Mississippi State softball team closes out its 2008 regular season home slate as it hosts No. 10 Tennessee in a three-game Southeastern Conference series beginning Saturday at the MSU Softball Field.
The Bulldogs (38-16, 11-11 SEC) and Lady Vols (45-9, 13-8 SEC) kick off the series with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday. First pitch for Sunday's series finale will also be at 1 p.m., and MSU will honor seniors Megan Bateman, Nakita Boyce, Lindsay Hunley, Courtney Bures and Hayle Guess prior to the opening pitch. Admission to all MSU home games is free. The three-game set will also be broadcast live on WMSV 91.1 and online at www.wmsv.msstate.edu.
State will be aiming for its third straight league series victory after sweeping South Carolina two weeks ago and claiming two wins over then-No. 23 Georgia last weekend. The Bulldogs hit two triples and three doubles Wednesday night and scored five runs over the final two innings en route to a 5-2 win over Southern Mississippi.
Chelsea Bramlett collected a pair of hits as she returned to the line-up Wednesday night after missing the UGA series with an injury. Ranking 10th nationally with a .452 batting average, Bramlett leads the team with 44 runs scored and has stolen a nation's fifth-best 41 stolen bases.
Senior Courtney Bures and freshman Brittany Bell helped lift the Bulldogs against Georgia in Bramlett's absence. Bures hit .750 with a double, a home run, four RBI and two runs scored. Her home run in Saturday's game two pushed her past Iyhia McMichael for the Mississippi State career RBI record.
On the year, Bures is hitting a team second-best .394 while leading the team in doubles (12) and RBI (38). She added her second triple of the season against USM and has scored 32 runs on the year.
Bell enters the weekend as the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week after a career weekend against UGA in which she hit .625 with her first career home run, a double, three RBI and four runs scored. She notched her second game-winning RBI in four days on Wednesday night as her sixth-inning double scored Jessie Bailey to break a 2-2 tie and put MSU on top for good.
Two-time SEC Freshman of the Week Misty Flesher has been stellar in the circle over the past two weeks. The Lone Grove, Okla., native won her fifth straight decision Wednesday night against the Golden Eagles to move to 18-7 for the year. Flesher earned SEC Freshman of the Week accolades last week after picking up two wins over the Gamecocks in Columbia. She opened the Georgia series with a one-hit shutout before silencing the visiting Bulldogs' bats over the final four innings in Sunday's finale.
Tennessee brings the SEC Player of the Week in Tonya Callahan to Starkville for the weekend set. Callahan paces the Lady Vols in batting average (.466), home runs (16) and RBI (58), and she earned the weekly honor after hitting .667 with three home runs and seven RBI in series wins over Mississippi and No. 11 LSU. UT also features one of the league's top base stealers in Kenora Posey, who has 37 while hitting a team second-best .375. Ashton Ward paces the Tennessee pitching staff with a 26-3 record and 1.68 ERA.