GREENSBORO, N.C. – When Mississippi State travels to Eugene, Ore., June 9-12 to compete for a national championship, it will look to garner those coveted points in 10 different events.
Saturday, the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs concluded what was an exceptional weekend from start to finish at the NCAA Division I Outdoor East Region by qualifying for three more events.
It was the type of weekend MSU coach Al Schmidt said that could lead to the best finish in school history in two weeks at the NCAA Championships.
“We go with all our bullets on the men’s side and we have our top women too,” MSU coach. “If we can perform the way we did this weekend, it could be a special trip to Oregon.”
For the men, ranked 13th nationally, it was all about the relays.
The day started with the 4×100 team of Justin Christian, Kendall May, Dwight Mullings and Tavaris Tate posting their second-fastest time of the year at 39.34 and ending with the 4×400 squad of O’Neal Wilder, Emanuel Mays, Mullings and Tate topping the field at 3:02.10, the second fastest in school history and nearly two seconds better than their previous best of 3:04.00 set at the Texas Relays back in late March.
“When we are at our best, we are an exceptional team and anything can happen,” Schmidt said of his talented relay teams. “it should be a fun time at the NCAAs.”
The relays also proved to be favorable for the Lady Bulldogs as well.
The foursome of LaQuinta Aaron, Crystal Wilson, Jody-Ann Muir and Taneisha Baker was clocked at 3:36.54, their second-fastest time this year, en route to a 9th-place finish.
“It’s been a struggle all year to get them to come together, but Saturday it finally happened,” an elated Schmidt said. “LaQuinta was rock for us, and she’s been a rock for us all four of her years.”
And while they didn’t advance in the 100-meter hurdles, Keisha Wallace and Aaron turned in stellar performances.
Wallace set a freshman school record with a time of 13.31, a mark that also ranks second in school history, while Aaron posted a season-best finish of 13.43, nearly matching her personal best of 13.32 set last year.