LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Mississippi State ended Friday's opening round of the NCAA Mideast Regional in grand fashion with Wendy Copeland and Priscilla Gaines advancing to the nationals in the long jump following impressive and personal-best leaps.
Copeland's jump of 21-00 ¾, the second-longest in school history, gave her a second-place finish, while Gaines placed fourth at 20-05, the fourth-best jump in school history.
The nationals are scheduled for June 10-13 in Fayetteville, Ark.
"They were huge for us today," coach Al Schmidt said. "Huge. I'm just estatic. They topped off what was already a great day."
Indeed it was, as MSU advanced to Saturday's finals in five of the nine other preliminary events it competed.
The Bulldogs, who are currently ranked No. 23 nationally, qualified in four of the events, while the Lady Bulldogs saw senior standout Marrissa Harris advance to the finals in the 100-meter hurdles after finishing fourth in the with a time of 13.43 seconds.
As for the men, true freshman D'Angelo Cherry had a stellar by finishing second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.21 to beat out top-ranked Trindon Holliday of LSU, who clocked in at 10.51.
Also moving on to Saturday's finals were John Bailey (46.25, 3rd) and Dwight Mullings (46.55, 4th) in the 400-meter dash, along with Emanuel Mayers, who finished fourth in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 51.26.
The 4x100-meter relay team of Justin Christian, Mullings, Cherry and Mayers also advanced after finishing third at 40.12.
The men will also be competing Saturday in the 4 x 400-meter relay, while both the men and women will also look to qualify for the nationals in the triple jump.
"We did what we came here to do, and that's advance to the finals," coach Al Schmidt said. "Basically, all we have to do now is just cross the finish line to move on to the nationals."