KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Al Schmidt has built a legacy of strong sprinters in his 22 seasons as Mississippi State’s track and field coach. But he had a career first on Sunday.
Schmidt watched his men’s 4×100-meter relay team hit the tape first at the SEC Outdoor Championships, marking the first time MSU has won that event in the conference meet since Schmidt began coaching.
The foursome of Justin Christian, Kendall May, Dwight Mullings and Tavaris Tate ran a season-best 39.09 seconds. Schmidt said last week he thought the 4×100 squad was underrated.
“We executed, did good work, and we won; it paid off,” said Christian.
On a day that was prolonged by rain, that showing helped MSU earn tie for seventh place in the four-day meet, scoring 64 points. That was 20 points better than last year.
Florida finished first with 124 points, followed by LSU (100) and South Carolina (89). It was the first league outdoor title for the Gators since 1997.
In the 4×400 relay, considered MSU’s strongest relay event, the Bulldogs finished second in 3 minutes, 4.15 seconds. And in the 400-meter spring, Tate, a freshman from Starkville, took second place (45.16) while O’Neal Wilder was third (45.24).
MSU’s Emanuel Mayers finished second in the 400 hurdles and collected 14 points on the weekend.
Ole Miss finished tied for sixth, its highest finish since 2003. Two Rebels captured first place on Sunday: Martin Kirui won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 8:50.08, while Ricky Robertson won the high jump with a leap of 7 feet, 2.5 inches.
“I knew coming in that I was supposed to score,” Robertson said. “But I had to keep that mindset.”
Distance runner Barnabas Kirui had a pair of second-place finishes, in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and the 5,000-meter run, and he took third in the 10,000 meters.
In all, Ole Miss had nine top-three finishes.
On the women’s side, Ole Miss finished ninth, while MSU finished 11th. LSU (132) won its third title in four years, with Arkansas (98.5) second.
Up next is the NCAA Regional meet, May 27-29 in Greensboro, N.C. The NCAA Outdoor Championships are set for June 9-12 in Eugene, Ore.
NEMS Daily Journal