The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Track and field jumps into record books, NCAA qualification

    After an impressive start to the 2010 indoor season, the Dawgs and Lady Dawgs of the track and field team looked to keep the pace going into their second event of the campaign. This led the squad to Baton Rouge for the Purple Tiger Invitational.
    Making the trip were two of the team’s leaders, seniors LaQuinta Aaron and Wendy Copeland. Both are coming off all SEC performances in 2009 and both competed in the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships. With the experience and leadership brought to the group by these ladies, the Dawgs have high expectations for the season.
    Assistant coach Bryan Fetzer said he is eager to build on the season’s early momentum.
    “We have such a young team on the women’s side. It was very positive to just see where they’re at and just see how much improvement they’ve made since they came in here and from last year to now,” he said. “It’s a big step in the right direction that the program is going.”
    The first to show this improvement was Aaron, who is a hurdler and relay runner, and was one of four Lady Dawgs who made it to the final in the 60-meter hurdles. Aaron came out with the second-best time of her career and a second place finish in the final. Her time of 8.53 seconds was only bested by the time of 8.38 seconds from Jessica Ohanaja of the Tigers. The other Lady Dawgs in the final were Keisha Wallace, Raccquel Farquharson and Brittany Covington.
    Aaron said she was pleased with the Invitational, and eager to build on its successes.
    “I thought we did okay for the first meet,” she said. “It was just hopefully some good action to work the kinks out and see where everybody’s at and understand where they are and how they can improve.”
    The biggest star of the day turned out to be Copeland in the long jump. In her first appearance of the year, she has already provisionally qualified for the NCAA’s. Along with qualifying for the NCAA’s, she also set a new personal best in the long jump. Her jump of 20 feet 2.25 inches not only gave her a new individual record but placed her second all time on the MSU charts. She had four jumps on the day besting her former career best. She said hard work made the difference
    “Probably the weight room,” Copeland said. “I got a little stronger. I’ve had some problems with my hamstring I pulled in 2008, but I’ve just been trying to stay in the weight room and get stronger. My run is actually really consistent coming down the run way so that helps.”
    The Dawgs were involved in many other areas of competition in the Invitational.
    Competing for the team in the men’s division were Ed Weslea and Kendrick Poullard. On the women’s side was Favion Cowards, Talisha Lee, Candice Polk, Richesa McCaleb, Taneisha Baker, Alyssa Hall and Chelsea Rae Smyth.
    The Dawgs are definitely off to a hot start in the young season, and with a young team and solid leadership the squad seems to have plenty of potential.
    Copeland said she sees a bright future for the team.
    “We have a pretty young group, but for us to be so young we’re mature,” she said. “I think everybody gave their best effort. Coach was satisfied.”

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    Track and field jumps into record books, NCAA qualification