News from MSU Media Relations--May 17

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

Track & Field
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - There was no letup for Mississippi State on Day 3 of Saturday's SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Florida's Percy Beard Track at James G. Pressley Stadium, as both the men's and women's teams continued their impressive showings with more regional qualifying marks and Top 5 finishes.

The highlight of the afternoon for MSU came in the women's long jump, where the Lady Bulldogs collected 10 points thanks to Tupelo native Wendy Copeland finishing second with a personal best and regional qualifying leap of 20 feet, 5 ¾ inches and senior Marrissa Harris of Memphis placing seventh at 10-03.50.

As a result, they enter Sunday's final day tied for fourth with Alabama in the overall standings with 22 points. Florida is first with 46 points, followed by Arkansas and Kentucky with 45 and 39 points, respectively.

"We're sitting pretty good," an elated MSU coach Al Schmidt said. "To finish in the top half is not out of the question. We're having one of our best meets in a long time. I'm very proud of what they've already accomplished, especially knowing we got a chance to finish really, really strong."

Harris also had an impressive run in the 100-meter hurdles, advancing to Sunday's finals with a regional qualifying time of 13.54 to finish third in the preliminaries. LaQuinta Aaron advanced as well with a regional qualifying mark of 13.74, as did Bridget Rose (14.22).

In the 400-meter dash, Crystal Wilson clocked a personal best time of 54.75 to punch her ticket to the finals.

"She was huge today," Schmidt said. "She surprised a lot of people and showed what she'll be capable of doing next year."

Schmidt was as pleased with men as he was with the women, and rightfully so.

In the 400-meter dash, junior Dwight Mullings was clocked with the fastest time in the preliminaries at 45.59, while senior John Bailey was sixth at 45.93. Both times were personal bests and regional qualifying marks.

"John has been on the sidelines the last six weeks with injuries, and to be able to run that time shows you the type of runner he is," Schmidt said.

In the 100-meter dash, D'Angelo Cherry advanced with a fourth-place and regional qualifying run of 10.21, while Matthew Cameron moved to the finals in the 1,500-meter run at 3:48.25.

In the high jump, the Bulldogs had two to score, with freshman Josh Tucker of Tupelo finishing sixth (6-08.75) and senior Allen Cassell placing eighth (6-06.75). Both jumps were personal bests.

MSU also scored in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with Daniel Simpkins finishing eighth at 9:22.01.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Marrissa Harris' run at a second-consecutive heptathlon title at the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Friday came up short as she was edged by Arkansas' Etienne Chaplin by just 15 points.

The Mississippi State All-American held a slim 12-point lead going into the final event, the 800-meter run, but Chaplin crossed the finish line two seconds ahead of Harris to finish third and garner the title. However, Harris' time of 2:23.79 was a personal best.

She finished with 5,579 points (second only in the MSU record books to the 5,600 she collected last year en route to the crown) to take second place and earn an automatic qualifying mark at next month's NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., while Chaplin won with 5,594 points.

Harris, who also had a personal best in the javelin with a throw of 124-3, entered the second day of competition at Florida's Percy Beard Track at James G. Pressley Stadium 117 points out of first place.

"It was one heck of an effort by her to be down and turn things around and fight like she did," MSU coach Al Schmidt said. "It came down to the last 10 meters, and Chaplin was just able to get by her. It was a high-quality race."

Junior LaQuinta Aaron had another stellar afternoon as she finished fifth with a career-best 5,351 points, the third-most in school history. She aided her cause with a second-place finish in the long jump (18' 10 ¾"), then secured her spot with a personal-best time of 2:25.39 in the 800-meter dash.

"LaQuinta has turned into a national class hurdler and a national class 200-meter runner and a national class heptathlete," Schmidt said. "She has a chance to be as great a heptathlete as Marrissa, and maybe even better before her career is over."

Overall, the Lady Bulldogs are fifth in the standings with 12 points, while Arkansas leads the way with 31.

On the men's side in the decathlon, the Bulldogs had an impressive showing after placing three in the Top 10 following a rain delay for the second-straight day.

Senior Darryl Brady finished fifth with 6,573 points, while freshman Antoine Lipscomb was sixth with 6,302 points. Sophomore Trevarus Christian placed 10th with 5,963 points.

All three aided their own causes on Thursday as Christian won the 100-meter dash, while Lipscomb and Brady won the long jump and high jump, respectively.

"These guys aren't superstars, but they compete hard," Schmidt said. "They had a great two days and are very deserving of what they accomplished. I'm really proud of Darrly. He has scored every year in the SECs. He has been solid for us."

In individual events, Dwight Mullings enters Saturday's finals after finishing second in the preliminaries in the 200-meter dash with a regional qualifying mark of 20.73. In the sectionals of the 400-meter hurdles, Emanuel Mayers placed fifth with a time of 50.68, also a regional qualifying mark.

Mississippi State closed out the day with Tupelo native Robert Scribner finishing fifth in the 10,000-meter run with a time of 30:42.57 to put MSU in fourth place of the overall standings with 11 points, 17 behind leader Georgia. Auburn is second with 16 points, followed by LSU 16.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - One year after setting a school record with 5,600 points in the heptathlon en route to the league title, Mississippi State senior standout Marrissa Harris got off to a resounding start in defending her crown with a record-setting day on Thursday at the SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Despite heavy rains that forced a three-hour delay at the University of Florida's Percy Beard Track at James G. Pressley Stadium, the Memphis native opened the first leg of the heptathlon with an SEC meet record of 13.18 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles, breaking her own mark of 13:20 set last year.

"That was a great run," MSU coach Al Schmidt said. "She got off to a good start."

Despite Harris' effort, which was the ninth fastest mark in the nation this season and qualifies her for next month's regionals, she enters Friday's final two legs (long jump and javelin) in second place with 3,408 points. Alabama's Chealsea Taylor is first with 3,525.

Harris finish tied for second in the high jump, seventh in the shot put and fourth in the 200-meter dash.

"After the hurdles, Marrissa was a little off," Schmidt said. "But she's still where she needs to be for a chance to win."

The All-American Harris wasn't the only Lady Bulldog to have a good day.

Junior Laquinta Aaron, who finished second last year, is currently sixth with 3,285 points.

After finishing second in the hurdles (a regional qualifying time of 13.32) and 11th in the high jump, she was sixth in the shot put and first in the 200-meter dash with a regional qualifying mark of 23.94.

"She started the day good and ended the day good," Schmidt said. "She had two impressive races, and she has a chance to finish in the top three.

The rain delay put the men's decathlon way behind schedule. However, MSU's Tevarus Christian got off to an outstanding start by winning 100-meter dash with a time of 10.96 seconds, while sophomore Antoine Lipscomb followed suit with a first-place finish in the long jump (6.90m).

After three of the 10 events, Lipscomb stands in fifth place with 2,084 points, followed by Christian at sixth with 2,083 points.

MSU Athletics
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State Athletic Department announced Wednesday that 36 Bulldog and Lady Bulldog student-athletes completed the requirements for spring 2009 commencement and earned their degrees this May.

"One of our five defining principles is to graduate student-athletes and we are very proud to announce this spring 2009 graduating class," said Ann Carr, MSU Senior Associate Athletic Director. "These 36 student-athletes have worked very hard to earn their Mississippi State degrees."

The 36 student-athletes are:

Chad Crosswhite
Grant Hogue (Magna Cum Laude)
Brooks Lewis
Russ Sneed (Cum Laude)

Men's Basketball
Kyle Robinson

Women's Basketball
Marneshia Richard (Magna Cum Laude)
Donnisha Tate

Robert Ambers
Adam Carlson (Master's)
Dorsett Davis
Michael Gates
De'Mon Glanton
Anthony Littlejohn
Gabe O'Neal

Women's Golf
Jillian Jones (Cum Laude)

Mary Kate Ayers
Margaret Gallagher
Anna Goblirsch (Summa Cum Laude)
Meredith Jacobson (Summa Cum Laude)
Kevyn Shelledy

Courtney Bures
Courtney Patridge

Men's Tennis
Ryan Farlow (Summa Cum Laude)

Women's Tennis
Martina Banikova (Magna Cum Laude)
Elna de Villiers (Cum Laude)
Renee Joseph (Summa Cum Laude)
Daniela Juskova

Men's Track
Kiley Aguar
James Cassell
Delandus O'Neal
Kyle Roberts (Cum Laude)
Jonathan Rono

Women's Track
Brittany Detzel
Ashlee Drake (Summa Cum Laude)
Abbey Graham

Jamie Joyner (Magna Cum Laude)

Men's Golf
AUSTIN, Texas - The Mississippi State men's golf team completed the second round of the NCAA Southwest Regional Friday, firing a 297 at the University Golf Club in Austin. The Bulldogs are in 11th place with a 32-hole score of 602 and stand just nine shots back of the critical fifth position.

The top 5 teams following this weekend's competition will advance to the NCAA Championship May 28-31 at the Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Ind.

"We had a chance to finish with a pretty good score today but we dropped six shots on the final three holes," said MSU head coach Clay Homan. "We are still in it but we need a solid round tomorrow to have a chance."

State's first-round leader, Josh Bevell, shot a 72 on Friday to stand at 4-over-par for the tournament. The Southhaven, Miss., native is tied for 11th place among individuals heading into Saturday's final round. Senior Matt Fast bounced back after a rough first day with a team-high three birdies and a 72 in round two and is in a tie for 36th after two rounds of play.

Senior Carlos Sainz, Jr. fired a 5-over-par 77 for the second consecutive round and stands in a tie for 48th with a 154. Senior Brian Mason improved on his first-round score by four strokes to card a second-round 76 and moved into a tie for 55th on the leaderboard. Noah Goldman rounded out the Bulldog scorecard and sits in a tie for 62nd after a two-round total of 158.

Host Texas seized the team lead Friday as they carded a 285 on Friday to take the lead by two strokes. Texas Tech fell to second while Florida remained in third. UNLV and Stanford round out the top five. After posting 12 birdies through two rounds of competition, Texas' Lance Lopez stands at 5-under par to lead by four strokes in the individual competition.

MSU will begin its final round in the NCAA Regional event with a 9:20 a.m. CT tee time Saturday on hole #10. Live stats will be available through

AUSTIN, Texas - Seeking the program's first back-to-back NCAA Championship appearances, the Mississippi State men's golf squad shot a 305 in the first round of the NCAA Southwest Regional Thursday at the University of Texas Golf Club and stand in ninth place in the 12-team field.

The top 5 teams following this weekend's competition will advance to the NCAA Championship May 28-31 at the Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Ind.

"We struggled as a team today on the front nine," said MSU head coach Clay Homan. "We have to play better tomorrow. We are only nine shots behind fifth place and this is the type of course where, if we can go out and make pars tomorrow, we will be able to move up a few spots."

Leading the Bulldogs in the first round was senior Josh Bevell. The Southaven, Miss., native shot a 3-over 74 and is tied for 18th in the individual standings. Fellow senior Noah Goldman fired a first-round 75 and is in a tie for 25th after day one.

"Josh and Noah were both able to eliminate the big numbers" commented Homan. "They did a great job of minimizing mistakes and getting pars."

Senior Carlos Sainz, Jr., State's top finisher in the SEC Championship, is tied for 38th after a first-round 77. Seniors Matt Fast and Brian Mason shot rounds of 79 and 80, respectively, to close out scoring for the Bulldogs.

Texas Tech concluded its first round with a 282 to lead the field by nine strokes. Host Texas is second followed by Florida. Lamar's Hugues Joannes and Texas' Lance Lopez both shot rounds of 68 to lead by two strokes in the individual standings.

State will begin second round play Friday morning at 10:10 a.m. CT on hole #10. Saturday's final round is slated to get underway at 8:30 a.m. CT.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Mississippi State softball team had its 2009 season come to an end Saturday afternoon, falling 5-0 to host Florida State in the NCAA Tallahassee (Fla.) Regional at JoAnne Graf Field.

State finished the campaign 28-28 in its eighth NCAA Regional appearance in school history, the sixth in head coach Jay Miller's seven seasons at the Bulldog helm.

"I am very pleased with the way our team played this season. With all the injuries that forced us to move people around, our team never gave up," Bulldog head coach Jay Miller said. "Our team rose to the occasion and ended up advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time. I am very proud of this team and am looking forward to a bright future for Mississippi State softball."

The Bulldogs were never able to figure out Seminole starter Sarah Hamilton on Saturday, failing to get a hit for the first time since Feb. 16, 2007, against UC-Davis.

"Sarah Hamilton threw a great game today," Miller said. "She kept our batters off-balance, and we could never get anything going. Lindsey (Dunlap) pitched well for us today, but she made a couple of mistakes that they took advantage of. We just struggled getting the bat on the ball today."

Hamilton improved to 20-6 as she struck out 10 and walked two batters. MSU starter Lindsey Dunlap finished her inaugural campaign 17-16, giving up five runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and a pair of walks.

Florida State (44-15) took the lead in the top of the third as Monica Montez took a two-out, two-strike offering from Dunlap and lined it into center field, scoring Carly Wynn and Shayla Jackson. Jackson paced FSU with a 4-for-4 day at the plate.

The Bulldogs had a chance to cut into the 2-0 advantage in the sixth. Chelsea Bramlett, who had her hit streak halted at 14 games, reached on a throwing error by Seminole catcher Kaleigh Rafter with one out. Brittany Bell followed with a sacrifice bunt, and Bramlett ended up taking third on the play. She was stranded 60 feet from the plate, however, as Hamilton got Ka'ili Smith to ground out to short for the final out.

Florida State sealed the win with a trio of insurance runs in the top of the seventh. FSU loaded the bases with a three singles before Ashley Stager cleared the bases with a double to left-center that tipped off the glove of a diving Smith.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Chelsea Bramlett collected three hits and Brittany Bell went 2-for-2 Friday afternoon as Mississippi State fell 8-3 to 14th-ranked California in the opening game of the NCAA Tallahassee (Fla.) Regional at JoAnne Graf Field on the Florida State campus.

Bramlett also added an RBI and scored a run as she extended her hit streak to 14 games, two shy of the career-best 16 she collected earlier this season.

The Bulldogs (28-27) jumped out to a 3-0 lead through the first two innings before the Golden Bears (36-18) rallied with a pair of runs in both the second and third and four runs in the sixth.

"We did a nice job of putting some runs on the scoreboard early, but our pitching struggled today. We had some opportunities that we didn't take advantage of which is frustrating," MSU head coach Jay Miller said. "We hit the ball well throughout the line-up but left a lot of runners on base."

State opened the scoring in the first as Sammie Jo Bailey lined a one-out base hit up the middle that scored Bell after she drew a walk and took second on a fielder's choice.

MSU extended the lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning. With one out, sophomore Courtney Nesbit lined a double over the head of Cal centerfielder Frani Echavarria. A Bramlett base hit scored pinch-runner Allie Heon. She came all the way around to score as the ball went through the legs of Echavarria, giving State the 3-0 advantage.

The Golden Bears cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom half of the frame on home runs from Elia Reid and Sanoe Kekahuna. Reid and Kekahuna each drove in two runs on the day.

California tied the game in the third as Jamia Reid (4-for-4) tripled and later scored on a Valerie Arioto sacrifice fly. The Golden Bears took the lead when Gina Leomiti was hit by a pitch with two outs and scored on a Taylor Kelly ground ball that snuck through the left side of the infield.

State had the tying run thrown out at the plate in the top of the fourth. Brittany Gates was hit by a pitch to open the frame. After stealing second, she moved to third on a bunt single by Bramlett but was thrown out trying to score when Bramlett broke for an unoccupied second base.

After being struck for the three early runs (two earned), Cal starter Melissa Drewrey held the Bulldogs off the scoreboard the rest of the way to pick up the win and move to 22-10 on the year. Drewrey struck out five and walked one in the complete-game effort.

The Golden Bears gave her four extra insurance runs in the sixth off Kelsey Nurnberg, who entered the game in the fourth in relief of starter Lindsey Dunlap. Dunlap fell to 17-15 as she went three innings and allowed four runs on five hits with a strikeout and a walk.

Cal's Kekahuna homered to open the frame. A bases-loaded walk to Arioto made it a 6-3 game, and Leomiti plated the final two runs with a base hit to right field.

The Bulldogs face either the host Seminoles or Oklahoma State in an elimination game at 2:30 p.m. CDT on Saturday. The game will be broadcast live on WMSV 91.1 FM or online at

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