GREENSBORO, N.C. – Before Mississippi State’s track and field team departed for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships East Region earlier this week, it adopted the theme of “Move On.”
Opening day on Thursday at Aggie Stadium, both the men and women did just that, and in commanding fashion.
Senior standout Wendy Copeland set the tone early for MSU, leaping 20 feet, 5 inches in the long jump to qualify for the NCAA Championships, scheduled for June 9-12 in Eugene , Ore.
“Wendy had an average day in regards to her standards, but still performed extremely well,” MSU coach Al Schmidt said. “She has a lot more in her at the nationals. But she did what she had to do to advance. I’m looking for an All-American performance out of her at the nationals.”
Following Copeland’s performance, the theme of “Move On” definitely became contagious.
Emanuel Mayers advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 50.83, while Kendall May is now one round short of Oregon after finishing 11th in the 100-meter dash at 10:35.
Not to be outdone, freshman Tavaris Tate dominated the field in the 400-meter dash, finishing first with a time of 45.07. However, he wasn’t the only Bulldog to put on a show in the 400. Not far behind were Dwight Mullings at third and O’Neal Wilder at seventh at 45.45 and 45.86, respectively.
“You can’t discount what these guys can do,” Schmidt said. “I really like their chances.”
Then to cap off the perfect day, both Jody-Ann Muir and Crystal Wilson moved on to today’s quarterfinals in the 400m. Muir ran 52.91, her second-fastest time ever, to finish 4th, while Wilson posted a personal best 53.80 to place 14th.
“They brought it too,” Schmidt said. “That was the best I’ve seen Crystal do.”
Action for MSU resumes at 4 p.m. today with the 100-meter hurdles.
From school reports