STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's Chelsea Bramlett and Sammie Jo Bailey earned first team honors, while Jessie Bailey was named to the second team as the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 6 Softball Teams Thursday.
The district honor, which is voted on by members of CoSIDA, is the first for all three. The first team selection for Bramlett and Sammie Jo Bailey advances them into consideration for academic all-America honors.
"We are very proud of Sammie Jo, Chelsea and Jessie," MSU head coach Jay Miller said. "This is a tribute to the effort they put forth on the field and in their respective courses of study in the classroom."
Bramlett, who leads the team with a .444 average, earned the academic honor after tallying a 3.82 in physical education. The Cordova, Tenn., native, who earned first team All-SEC honors Wednesday night, paces the team with a sophomore-record 84 hits and 48 runs scored. Academically, Bramlett earned NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete and Freshman Academic All-SEC last season as a freshman.
Sammie Jo Bailey, a .272 hitter with two home runs, six doubles, 21 RBI and 17 runs scored, has put together a perfect 4.00 in business information systems while starting all 60 of the Bulldogs' games this season. MSU's Exemplary Service Award winner for the top student in her major, Sammie Jo has earned NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete honors twice and was named Academic All-SEC in 2007.
Her sister Jessie landed on the second team following an outstanding freshman year in which she tallied a 3.94 GPA in general business administration. An NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete and Freshman Academic All-SEC member, Jessie has started all 60 games at third base this season and compiled a .242 average with a team third-best eight doubles, one home run, 27 RBI and 20 runs scored.
State has had 10 players earn the district honor, while Kate Jaspers, Iyhia McMichael and Keri McCallum have gone on to win academic all-American.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - A 40-20 regular season record has earned the Mississippi State softball team its seventh selection to the NCAA Division I Softball Championship. The Bulldogs will face Hawai'i in the opening round of the Tempe, Ariz., regional that will be hosted by No. 6 national seed Arizona State.
State's selection is the fifth in head coach Jay Miller's six seasons at MSU. The Bulldogs will be venturing to a regional in Arizona for the second straight season, as last year's contingent was placed in the Tucson Regional hosted by top seed and eventual national champion Arizona.
"We're looking forward to going out to Tempe," Miller said. "It's going to be a tough regional. Arizona State plays very well at home, and Hawai'i has a very good team. It will be a good test for us. We're playing really good softball right now, and if we can continue that, I like our chances out there."
MSU will meet the Rainbow Wahine for the second straight season in Friday's opener at 6:30 p.m. CST. Hawai'i, who enters the postseason with a 38-18 record, defeated State 3-2 last Feb. in the UNLV Desert Classic in Las Vegas. Host Arizona State will meet Stony Brook in the other first round match-up.
State is one of eight SEC teams to earn bids to this year's field of 64. Florida earned the No. 1 overall seed and will be one of four teams from the league (Tennessee, LSU and Alabama) hosting a four-team regional. Georgia, Auburn and Arkansas also earned selections.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State sophomore Chelsea Bramlett and senior Courtney Bures have been named Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-South Region. The pair was named to the first team for the second time each, and both are now eligible for All-America honors which will be announced May 28 prior to the start of the Women's College World Series.
Bramlett and Bures join former MState standouts Keri McCallum, Kellie Wilkerson and Iyhia McMichael as the only players in program history to earn multiple first team all-region honors.
"This is a tremendous honor for both Chelsea and Courtney, especially being the second time that each has been named to the first team," State head coach Jay Miller said. "Both are very deserving of All-America honors, and they have the opportunity to continue their tremendous seasons here in postseason play."
Bramlett earned first team catcher honors after hitting a team-leading and sophomore-best .444 (12th best in the nation) with three doubles, three triples, two home runs, and 23 RBI. The 2007 first team all-American has scored a sophomore-best 48 runs, and her 44 stolen bases, fifth-best nationally, are the best ever for a second-year player and two behind the MSU single season record 46 she set last season.
The Cordova, Tenn., native earned First Team All-SEC after rating tops in the league in hits (84) and second in stolen bases and batting average. She also earned SEC Player of the Week honors following State's undefeated run through the season-opening Cathedral City Kickoff in Palm Springs, Calif.
Bures is swinging at a team second-best and SEC sixth-highest .403 clip this season, the best average of her four-year Bulldog career. The first team All-SEC shortstop has reached base at a .488 clip, the highest on the team and seventh-best in the league. Her slugging percentage is a team-best .591.
A second team all-region selection in 2006 and first team all-region and all-America selection in 2005, Bures claimed the school's career RBI record with 189. She has also contributed a team-leading 14 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 39 runs while starting every game this season at shortstop. In conference games, the Haymarket, Va., native and draft selection of National Pro Fastpitch's Washington Glory topped the squad with a .453 average which ranked third in the conference. Her .548 on-base percentage in the SEC was second only to fellow first team all-region performer Tonya Callahan of Tennessee.
Bures and Bramlett lead the 40-20 Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 25 nationally this week, into the NCAA Tempe (Ariz.) Regional where they will meet 23rd-ranked Hawai'i (38-19). First pitch on the Arizona State campus is set for 6:30 p.m. CST on Friday.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Football Writers Association of America has announced that Mississippi State seniors Jamar Chaney and Derek Pegues have been named to the Watch List for the 2008 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the best defensive player in college football.
Chaney, a linebacker from Fort Pierce, Fla., was the Bulldogs leading tackler in 2007 with 89. He has played in all 36 games in his career, earning 26 starts. Last season, Chaney started 12 games at his middle linebacker position, earning All-Southeastern Conference recognition by the league's coaches.
Pegues is a two-time all-SEC selection from Batesville, Miss., and has excelled both at his safety position and in the return game. He holds the Mississippi State school record with three interception returns for touchdown and ranks among the career top-10 of several Southeastern Conference kick and punt return records. Pegues has also pulled in 10 career interceptions, tied for fifth in the MSU record book.
The FWAA All-America Committee selects the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner from the association's 11-man All-America defensive team in November. The watch list was developed by the FWAA All-America committee with the help of the schools and conferences.
The Charlotte Touchdown Club will hold the 2008 banquet on Sunday, Dec. 7, at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte. For the eighth straight season, the FWAA will also pick a Bronko Nagurski Defensive Player of the Week beginning with games on Aug. 30 and running through the middle of November. And a Bronko Nagurski Legends Award winner will also be selected from the FWAA's 1967 All-America team.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy has been presented since 1993 and is awarded in memory of the legendary Nagurski, a former All-America lineman at Minnesota in 1927-29 and a star for professional football's Chicago Bears in the 1930s.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Deanna Favre, wife of former Green Bay Packer quarterback Brett Favre, will serve as the guest speaker at Mississippi State's 2008 Ladies Football 101 Clinic, MSU head coach Sylvester Croom announced Tuesday.
The one-day clinic, which will be held Friday, June 6, at the Crane Team Theatre in the Holliman Athletic Center, is designed for women interested in learning more about the game of football. Sessions covering offense, defense and special teams will be part of the instruction, as will a presentation on academics and equipment. The clinic runs from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and lunch is provided.
Mrs. Favre attracted national attention during her battle to beat breast cancer in 2004. She has since launched the Deanna Favre HOPE Foundation, a charitable organization designed to assist those who are underserved or underinsured in their battle against breast cancer.
Individuals interested in learning more about MSU's 2008 Ladies Football 101 Clinic should call the Bulldog football office at 662-325-2534. More information on Deanna Favre's foundation may be obtained at www.deannafavre4hope.com.
Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Mississippi State men's and women's track and field teams begin competition at the 2008 Southeastern Conference Track and Field Championships on Thursday afternoon. The event continues through Sunday afternoon at the Hutsell-Rosen Track on the University of Auburn campus. Fox Sports South will air portions of the 2008 Championships on Saturday, May 24 beginning at 6 p.m.CT. SportSouth will re-broadcast the event during the month of June.
In the nation's toughest track and field conference, this weekend's meet provides teams a chance to make a statement heading into the postseason. Currently, seven of the league's 11 competing men's teams are ranked among the nation's top 25. On the women's side half of the conference's 12 teams are ranked. A year ago, both MState squads finished 11th and are looking to improve on that mark this year.
"I believe our men's team is one of the elite teams in the country and is an SEC quality group," said MSU head coach Al Schmidt. "We are one of the top five sprint groups from 100-800 meters. The women's team has made huge improvements this year and is prepared to be a force nationally in the future."
State's sprint corps continues to dominate this season. The Bulldogs have posted 26 individual regional qualifying marks this season and qualified in relay events a total of 12 times.
In both the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays, the Bulldogs are ranked in the top 10 in the country. State's eighth-ranked 4x1 team of Kendall May, John Bailey, Jamil Hubbard and O'Neal Wilder ran 39.62 to win the Bulldog Invitational title earlier this year. The time is the third fastest in the Mideast Regional. At the prestigious Texas Relays, Chris Woods, Hubbard, Bailey and Wilder combined to run 3:05.28 in the 4x4, ranking sixth nationally and second in the region.
Individually, Woods has the conference and region's third fastest 800-meter time, running 1:48.40 at the Bulldog Invitational. The time ranks the senior 11th nationally. Teammate Golden Coachman, the school's record holder in the event, is seeking to improve on his third-place finish in the event at last year's meet in Tuscaloosa.
In the 400-meter dash, senior Hubbard ranks 12th nationally after posting his season-best time of 46.05 at the Bulldog Limited in Athens, Ga. Hubbard's time is the best in the SEC this season and second-best in the region. Hubbard is also scheduled to compete in the 200-meter dash, an event he ranks among the top 10 in the conference with his 20.92 time posted at the year's first meet. Wilder will also compete in the 200- and 400-meters. His best 400 time of the season is the conference and region's fourth-best at 46.35.
Sophomore May will be MSU's representative in the 100-meter dash. His best time of the year came at the Ole Miss Invitational where he clocked 10.39. In the men's 400-meter hurdles, senior Kyle Roberts (52.02) and Emanuel Mayers (52.05) will look to provide MSU with scoring outside the sprinting events. Junior Allen Cassell leaped seven feet, one-quarter inch at the Bulldog Invitational to qualify for the Mideast Regional. Cassell's jump is the second-best in the league this season and ranks in the top 10 regionally.
On the women's side, the Lady Bulldogs have tallied 13 individual regional qualifying marks and two relay teams have accomplished the task.
All-SEC candidate Marrissa Harris continues to rewrite the record books in her junior season. The Memphis, Tenn.,-native has broken her own 100-meter hurdles record two times this season with the school's current standard of 13.44 seconds coming at the Penn Relays. Harris ranks 25th nationally in the event. She has also qualified regionally in the long jump with her season and personal-best leap of 20-04 ¼ netting a second-place finish at the Penn Relays.
Bridgett Rose ran 13.68 in the 100-meter hurdles at the Ole Miss Invitational and will join Harris in the event. In addition to Harris, the long jump competition will feature sophomore Wendy Copeland (20-01 ½) and junior Priscilla Gaines (20-01 ½). The duo ranks in the top 10 league-wise in the event.
State's 4x100-meter relay team of Laquinta Aaron, Gabrielle Dillon, Bridgett Rose and Gaines ran 45.56 during qualifying of the event at the Penn Relays. It marked the first time an MSU women's relay team qualified for the regional meet since going to the format. The quartet went on to finish fourth in the event, besting their time to 45.33.
Following this weekend's meet, regional qualifiers continue their season the NCAA Mideast Regional at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, May 30-31.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's golf team will begin competition at the NCAA East Regional at the par 72 Council Fire Golf Club in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Thursday, May 15,
"It should be a familiar course to us, which is a definite advantage," said Head Coach Clay Homan. "We were anticipating this regional, but we knew it would not be easy to get there."
The familiar course referenced by Coach Homan is the par 72 Council Fire Golf Club in which MState competed and finished sixth this past fall at the Scenic City Invitational. Three of the five Bulldogs in the lineup competed at the course excluding juniors Matt Fast and Noah Goldman.
MSU will feature a lineup of one senior in Brandon, Miss.-native Josh Oller and a quartet of juniors Carlos Sainz, Jr., Josh Bevell, Goldman and Fast. The lineup is a familiar one for the Bulldogs, competing in their fourth straight tournament together and seventh of the season.
"These are the five guys that have played the best all season which is what you want down the stretch," said Homan. "We have been talking about being competitive and showing consistency all along and we are capable of doing that. We need to add to our overall team birdies and I am confident we will do well."
MState will face 26 other teams, four from the SEC (Georgia, South Carolina, Auburn and Mississippi), with eight teams being ranked inside the top 25 through www.GolfStat.com. The Bulldogs have faced 17 of the 26 teams from their regional, finishing ahead of their opponents 16 times this past season.
"We will have to play well to advance and we know that," said Homan. "It is a very competitive field, we can only be concerned with what we are capable of."
MState will tee off on Thursday at 1:05, and will play one round per day for three days, concluding competition on Saturday. The top 10 teams will advance to the NCAA Championship in West Lafayette, Ind. Live stats will be available at www.Mstateathletics.com.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Seven teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago highlight Mississippi State's 2008 women's soccer schedule, head coach Neil Macdonald announced Monday.
The Bulldogs open the 20-match slate Aug. 22 against Mississippi Valley State at the MSU Soccer Field. Following the season opener, MState will welcome Arkansas-Little Rock, Southern Mississippi and Northwestern to campus for the Bulldog Classic.
The 2008 slate also includes a trip to Fairfax, Va., where the Dogs will meet 2007 NCAA Tournament participant Georgetown and perennial standout George Mason.
MSU opens the 11-game SEC schedule Sept. 26 with home dates against LSU, who advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago, and Arkansas.
Following an Oct. 10-12 road swing to NCAA invitees South Carolina and Florida, the Bulldogs return home to meet nationally-ranked Georgia and Tennessee, both of whom advanced to postseason play a year ago. After an Oct. 26 showdown with Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs will close out the 10-match home slate and the regular season by hosting in-state rival Mississippi on Halloween night.