The opening day of the Power Five Invitational in Ann Arbor, Michigan got off to a good start as Mississippi State University had two athletes score high as pentathletes. Shayla Broughton, a redshirt junior from Brooklyn, New York, placed second with a score of 3,862 points for MSU which is the fourth highest in school history. 

Head coach Chris Woods said it was an exceptional day for the Bulldogs as Asia Poe, a sophomore from Madison, scored 3,800 points and now holds the seventh-highest score in school history. 

“If we can continue to improve there, I think that’s an event where we could qualify two women to the national championship meet,” Woods said. “Our sprinters who qualified today will also have a very special opportunity to test themselves against some of the best in our sport tomorrow morning.”

In the 60-meter hurdles, Faith Gilbert, a junior from Ridgeland, Mississippi earned a spot in the 60-meter finals to race alongside Allyson Felix, a nine-time Olympic medalist. Those nine medals are the most won by a woman in track and field. 

“Watching [Felix] compete in the 2012 Olympics in London is a memory that I will never forget,” Gilbert said. “I remember jumping, screaming and celebrating with aspirations of one day being able to do the same thing. The opportunity to compete against not only an Olympian, but the most decorated woman in U.S. track and field history, will be an extremely honoring and humbling experience.”

On Saturday, the final day of the competition, MSU had 15 top-three finishes with Gilbert being one of those 15. Woods said he was proud of their execution and competitive spirit over the weekend. Competitiveness was a point of emphasis for Woods when he said no one was going to work harder than his team this summer.  

MSU will next compete at the Tiger Paw Invitational in Clemson, South Carolina and the Music City Invitational in Nashville, Tennessee on Feb. 14 and 15. 

“We’ve placed an emphasis on competing to win our hearts and races and reminded our athletes that performances would come from that if they focus on execution,” Woods said. ”This weekend, we saw marks we’ve been looking for all year thanks to that mentality. Now, we have to apply that same mentality moving forward to our next competition.”

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