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 are in the starting blocks for a new season

Track+and+Field+are+in+the+starting+blocks+for+a+new+season
Track and Field are in the starting blocks for a new season

Mississippi State University began its indoor track season this past weekend at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Head coach Chris Woods said in a press release previewing the meet he felt the meet would be important to the team going forward.

“I think this meet is going to be a great stepping stone to the meet that we have next weekend and a great stepping stone to the Razorback Invitational,” Woods said.  

Woods is currently serving as the interim coach, following the resignation of former head coach Steve Dudley in September 2018. However, Woods felt he and his staff have been able to handle the transition well, and have properly prepare their team for another solid season.

“Obviously, the first week or so was a little bit of a whirlwind,” Woods said. “But after you get yourself grounded and you start making traction with some of the things you want to do and you figure out what direction you want the program to go, things have been smooth ever since then.”

Woods said the team will have plenty of veteran talent, as they kick off the season, but he also mentioned they will have some help from several newcomers.

He went on to mention specific athletes Marco Arop, a sophomore from Edmonton, Aberta, Canada, and Daniel Nixon, a junior from Hoover, Alabama, as well as more. Woods is confident his team can replicate their past successes, and expects his staff and team to outwork their opponents.

“Last year, our women finished in the top 20 in the country,” Woods said. “So that’s something we want to duplicate or do better. This year, we feel like our men, indoors, can be a top-20 to top-25 team.”

Part of their success plan is going to several challenging meets, as well as outworking everyone in the NCAA. For Woods, that hard work is what defines this state, and he wants his team to reflect that in their training and competing.

“As a staff, we have to outwork people,” Woods said. “That’s what this state is about. We are a working class, blue-collar state, and that’s what our staff has to be. That’s what I have to be as an individual, and that’s what our kids have to be.”

While they have never had a very high recruiting class, nor have they been afforded the same luxuries other schools may have, they are still able to be successful, and Woods said this is demonstrative of how much they work to be successful.

“We’ve never had a top-10 recruiting class, and I believe that success we’ve had shows the amount of effort that we put into coaching,” Woods said. “And the amount of effort the student-athletes put into honing their craft and getting better at his or her event.”

When the team finally saw action this weekend, they had several individuals who posted a solid performance. Alicia Viveros, a sophomore from Bakersfield, California, and Madelyn Lee, a junior from Chickamauga, Georgia, both posted personal bests in their respective field events.

Arop and Nixon both contributed to a second-place finish in the men’s 4x400m relay.

The women’s 4x400m team also placed second. Riley White, a sophomore from Nolensville, Tennessee, won the women’s 500m with a personal best of 1:16.39. Several Bulldogs placed third in their respective events. Gralyn Jones, a senior from Brandon, posted a personal best in the men’s long jump. Alexis Farley, a junior from Peachtree City, Georgia, finished third in the women’s triple-jump.

Mississippi State Track and Field will be back in Birmingham next weekend, as they compete in the Vulcan Invitational hosted by Samford University.  

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Track and Field are in the starting blocks for a new season