Track and Field
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - On the final day of the of the Penn Relays the No. 10 Mississippi State men's track and field team showed the world that they were a team that was definitely a national contender. The Bulldogs won event titles in every relay they put on the track at Franklin Field Saturday.
"This was a historic day for the Mississippi State track and field program," head coach Al Schmidt said. "We won two Championship of America event titles and another college relay title. I couldn't ask for a better performance out of our guys. This was a big day for MSU."
After just missing the Texas Relays 4x200-meter relay title to Texas A&M two weeks ago, MSU had been longing for a rematch. They got that chance in the Championship of America final and proved they were the best.
"The 4x2 ran a tremendous race," Schmidt said. "They did a fabulous job. We added Kendall (May) in the final, so give credit to Gerron (Hendricks) who ran great to get us in the final."
Bulldogs Dwight Mullings, May, O'Neal Wilder and Tavaris Tate ran 1 minute, 21.49 seconds for the win in front of SEC foes Florida and South Carolina. Texas A&M finished fourth.
"It was just a great race, and we beat two great teams in Florida and Texas A&M," Schmidt added.
The Championship of America 4x400-meter relay was no different from the 4x200, a battle against MSU and A&M. For the second time of the day MSU found the finish line before the Aggies. Wilder, Tate, Mullings and Emanuel Mayers ran 3:04.92 to get the victory over Texas A&M and South Carolina.
"In the 4x4 we changed our legs up a little and ran Tavaris second, and ran the fastest time of day in as the weather got cold and rainy," Schmidt said.
MSU's third event title of the day came in the college 4x100-meter relay final. Justin Christian, D'Angelo Cherry, Hendricks and Tate finished in 40.09 seconds for the win. Christian also finished eighth in the 100-meter dash championship running 10.71 seconds.
The Lady Bulldogs ended their stint at the Penn Relays with a fifth-place performance in the college 4x400-meter relay.
"This was a great weekend for us," Schmidt said. "But now we've only got round one of three complete, and have to put this behind us and get ready for round two and three, the SEC Championships and NCAAs."
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State seniors Jamar Chaney and Anthony Dixon were each selected in the National Football League draft on Saturday afternoon. Chaney was chosen in the seventh round by the Philadelphia Eagles, while Dixon was a sixth-round pick by the San Francisco 49ers.
Dixon finished his career at State as the school's all-time leader in rushing yardage (3,994), rushing attempts (910), rushing touchdowns (42), 100-yard rushing games (17), career scoring (276) and all-purpose yardage (4,443). His 910 rushing attempts rank second in the history of the Southeastern Conference, and his 3,994 rushing yards stands as the eighth most in SEC history. Last season Dixon posted the school's single-season record for rushing yards (1,391).
"I'm excited," Dixon said. "The 49ers were my favorite team growing up and now I'm headed out there to play for them. It's like a dream come true."
Chaney led the Bulldogs in tackles in both 2007 and 2009, and redshirted in 2008 after suffering a leg injury in the opening game. He started 40 games for State and was an All-SEC selection in 2007. Chaney posted 288 career tackles, including a career best 90 last season. He also was credited with 16 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks during his time in the Maroon and White.
"This is a blessing," Chaney said. "I'm happy I've got an opportunity to get to work and help win a championship. Just the opportunity to keep playing football is what it's all about."
Chaney and Dixon are the 17th and 18th Mississippi State players taken in the NFL draft since 2000.
Several other former Mississippi State players are expected to sign free agent contracts in the near future, and a complete list of those signings will be posted on MStateAthletics.com later this week.
Duncan McKenzie, Mississippi State senior associate athletic director and chief financial officer, has been named interim athletic director at MSU, effective May 1.
Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum said McKenzie will oversee day-to-day operations until a permanent replacement is in place for outgoing athletic director Greg Byrne. Byrne's last day in Starkville is April 30.
"Duncan is a Bulldog through and through, having been a student athlete at MSU as well as serving 22 years as an administrator in our athletic department. I have the utmost confidence in his ability to provide continuity and manage the wide-ranging issues that must be addressed on a daily basis," Dr. Keenum said.
The process is still on track to name a new athletic director in early May, but Dr. Keenum said it is uncertain when the new hire will be able to assume leadership of the department. "Duncan's experience will be invaluable during this transition period. I appreciate his willingness to step into this role," he said.