Track and field hosts annual Al Schmidt Bulldog Relays

Cameron Crump (left) and Okheme Moore (right) handle a baton pass in this past weekend’s action during the men’s 4x100 meter relays, in which they placed first.

On Friday and Saturday of this past week, Bulldog track and field was able to kick off a highly-anticipated outdoor season. Throughout the two-day event, MSU took seven wins and ranked highly in other areas.

Before the two-day meet, Head Coach Chris Woods said he was looking forward to the relays and was excited for an opportunity to finally compete in the outdoor season.

"Our student-athletes are really excited to have this opportunity to compete, especially outdoors again, because they understand now how precious every opportunity is because it can be taken away from you at any moment," Woods said. "There's a lot of excitement buzzing around our program and around the country, and our kids are excited to open up their outdoor campaigns in front of a home crowd. Hopefully we'll have a good meet, a good showing and start the outdoor season on the right foot."

The event was cut short on Saturday due to inclement weather, but the Bulldogs still made the most of an event they had been looking forward to. Caroline Standley, a sophomore from Covington, Louisiana, who throws javelin, said she was very excited to return to outdoor competition after an interrupted season last year due to COVID-19. 

"For me personally, I'm excited to get back out there," Standley said. "I think I can speak on behalf of everybody that after the COVID year, I'm just ready to get out there and do the thing, throw the thing."

Tyriq Horsford, another javelin thrower from Parlatuvier, Trinidad and Tobago, said this first meet will be an opportunity for the team to execute the technical things they have been working on these past few months.

"I know that adrenaline rush and everything, the competitive atmosphere. I think that everybody will be able to really be firing on all cylinders and just being able to execute to the best of their ability," Horsford said.

The execution certainly took place for Standley, Horsford and their fellow javelin throwers on Saturday. Although the men's portion of throwing was cut short due to lightning, the Bulldog Javelin University, also called "JavU", men held the top five slots with Horsford himself being fourth.

For the women of JavU, the Bulldogs had three slots with Sarah Blake, a senior from Birmingham, Alabama, being first, Caroline Standley at second and freshman Jenna Oetting from Festus, Missouri, ranking eleventh.

Aside from the top ranks of JavU, Mississippi State University ranked highly in other areas among the other 26 institutions they hosted over the two-day event.

The Bulldogs had been placing since early on during Friday's events, with senior Francesca Chambers, from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, scoring her new personal best and fourth overall for the women's side of hammer throwing.

Another personal best was reached by Asia Poe, a junior from Madison, Mississippi, who placed first during the high jump competition with a height of 1.77 meters.

The men's team for the 4x800 meter portion of relays placed first with a time of 7:43.44. This group included Gabriel Moronta, Omari Hammond, Freddie Jackson III and Giacomo DeLuca, who crossed the line at the final time, closing in on a Bulldog win.

Junior Leon Clarke from St. Ann, Jamaica, snagged another first place win for MSU with his achievements during the 400 meter dash. He upped his personal best to 47.50 seconds during this event.

Overall, the Bulldogs took home seven wins during this showcase. MSU track and field can be seen again on April 2 and 3 in Gainesville, Florida, for the Florida Relays, and the next time to catch the squad in Starkville will be April 30 and May 1 for the Maroon and White Invite.

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