NCAA Track and Field Championship Update

Mississippi State track and field are at the NCAA Track and Field Championships this week. MSU track coach Al Schmidt talks about how his team did Wednesday.

What's your impressions of how your team did today?
Al Schmidt - "It was a typical NCAA Championship, we were up and down. We got a little spoiled in the SEC and the Regional where everything went right for us and we didn't have any adversity. But we had some adversity.

"We figured we could get into four events on the final day and with the kind of quality that we have here we could be in the top 10. But we missed making the finals of the 4x1. We ran John Bailey although he was a little hurt. And we didn't have good sticks. But Golden Coachman made it into the next round of the 800, although Chris Woods didn't. But we do have someone who can be in the top 1, 2 to 3 of the 800 meters, so that's good. In the 400 meters O'Neal Wilder ran the fastest time of the day. As a freshman, he's leading the NCAA going into the next round. He ran a beautiful race. He ran every phase of the race perfectly. But Jamil Hubbard, the SEC champion, didn't make the finals. He missed it by one. He had a bad start and he had to run the last of the 400 meters in a 40 mile per hour wind. Everybody did, but he got behind and you can't do that against the competition that he was facing today. But we had Kendall May, a sophomore that we felt didn't have any chance to make it, make it. He was developing into a great 100 meters guy, but we didn't think he had a chance to make it this year. Then, he had the greatest 100 meters race of his life tonight. He made the finals of the 100 meters and is, literally, one of the eight fastest sprinters in the NCAA as a sophomore. He's a legitimate national star. He made up for the 4x1 that we missed.

"We are in good shape to make it into the top 10, but we had to score high in each of those events to do it. Plus, we have the first round of the 4x4 (Thursday) night. Jamil and Chris will be in that, so they have a chance to (redeem themselves)."

I guess Jamil Hubbard was pretty disappointed.
"Jamil was feeling sorry for himself. There were tears. He was crushed. But you have to dust yourself. He has plenty of races ahead of himself. He can't worry about races that have already happened. You learn from them. Chris is the same way. He has plenty of races ahead of him."

You mentioned 40 miles per hour winds. Is the weather bad there?
"We have floods here. We are about seven blocks from the river and it's rising. And we have tornadoes coming tonight, too. We had to move hotels because the other one was flooded. We are on the 30th floor of the hotel, so I feel pretty good that we will be alright (laugh). It's quite an ordeal right now. But hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow."

Who was more surprising to you, O'Neal Wilder or Kendall May?
"It's hard for O'Neal to surprise me because that kid is a superstar waiting to happen. You can't believe what the weather was like and he ran a perfect race. They were running 46 second heats until he got in there, then he ran a second faster in his heat and he took the guys along with him. So, I can't say he surprised me because I think he's going to be a mega-star eventually.

"But Kendall May is progressing. We thought we would see this next year, but we've now seen it this year. Literally, Gene, the 100 meters race he was in had the three best guys in the country. And he was right with him. He could have easily run the race, although he wound up fourth. But he was a chest away from winning it. In football terms, he's a 4.2 (second forty-yard dash) guy. Who knows what he will do tomorrow."

If Kendall and O'Neal continue running well, you could really do well couldn't you?
"With the 4x4 still to run, we could wind up walking out of here with 8 All-Americans."


MSU track athletes going to the next round:

  • 800 meters - Golden Coachman
  • 100 meters - Kendall May
  • 400 meters - O'Neal Wilder

    Thursday, Golden Coachman runs in the 800 meters semis. The 4x4 relay team also runs. We'll have our daily report with Al Schmidt Thursday night.


    Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.


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