Mississippi State concludes the 2012 season of track and field with a trip to the NCAA Championships this week in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Bulldogs have a chance to bring home some hardware with 12 athletes set to compete in eight events today through Saturday at Drake University.
“It all comes down to this,” said MSU coach Steve Dudley, whose men’s team posted a fifth-place finish at the Southeastern Conference Championships. “Everything you have as an athlete will be tested, and all of the hard work will pay off. I know our athletes are prepared. Now, it is up to them to give it their all and earn the rewards I know they deserve and are capable of.”
On the women’s side, three athletes make the trip with SEC All-Freshman team member Erica Bougard competing in the long jump and heptathlon leading the way.
She’ll be joined by reigning SEC Indoor Champion Favian Cowards in the hammer throw and Jody-Ann Muir in the 400-meter dash.
“I know a lot of people are expecting me to do really good,” said Muir who earned All-American honors. “I think I can run top 10. I did during the indoors.”
For the men, the two relay teams highlight the best of what the Bulldogs have to offer.
Daundre Barnaby and Starkville native Tavaris Tate lead State’s qualifiers, as both are scheduled to compete in two events. Barnaby splits his time between the 400-meter dash and the 4×400-meter relay, while Tate take turns running in both the 4×400- and 4×100-meter relays.
Tate first lines up with Justin Christian, D’Angelo Cherry and Jarrett Samuels in the 4×100-meter relay, before pairing up with Barnaby, Emanuel Mayers and James Harris in the highly-anticipated 4×400-meter showdown.
“I think we have a solid team going in,” said Mayers. “If everybody executes, we can place high with some of our best performances on the relay. This being my last shot I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”
Rounding out the Bulldog contingent will be high jumper Marcus Jackson and Nathan Arnett, who is seeing his first National Championship competition, in the 400-meter hurdles.
Fans can follow live results of all the action by visiting http://www.flashresults.com throughout the competition.