SEC Track Championships to prepare MSU for later

Rhianwedd Price-Weimer
Staff Writer

It’s the goal of the Mississippi State track program to get as many athletes prepared and qualified for the NCAA Nationals in five weeks in Eugene, Oregon.

There is no better training ground for the Bulldogs than what they are about to experience at the Southeastern Conference Championships this weekend in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“For us to have the opportunity to go to the SEC Championships, it prepares us against the rest of the nation way more,” MSU head track coach Steve Dudley said. “The other conferences championships are good championships, but are nowhere near mentality-wise of the focus these kids have to bring to the SEC meet.”

The Bulldogs have experienced success in the SEC this season. They have seven men’s individuals in the top 10 of the conference along with the fifth-fastest 4x400m relay. The top eight finishers in each event at the league meet will record points.

MSU women’s distance runner Rhianwedd Price-Weimer is the top 1500-meter runners in the SEC and the nation. Price-Weimer knows some of athletes she meets in the 800 and 1500 meter runs this week will be the same she sees at regionals and nationals in the coming weeks.

“You have to go into it with the same mentality as nationals,” Price-Weimer said. “It’s a very tough meet and you have many high-quality athletes. It might as well be the national meet. If you do well at the SEC meet then your confidence can sky-rocket, so it helps you go through the next round.”

Dudley expects the SEC Championships to be as grueling as ever with as many as 10 of the teams holding top 15 rankings in the country.

He said that an athlete can be a little off at the SEC Championships and not even make the finals that will find a way to the podium to place at NCAA Nationals.

“That’s just the way it is,” Dudley said. “It’s that close between first and eighth in our conference or even nine to make finals.

“Sometimes we leave the SEC not crazy happy about where our team placement is, but we are still in the mode coaching-wise and athlete-wise that now we can get each person better using that environment where it positions us better for nationals. We look at the big picture.”

Competition at SEC begins Friday and continues through Sunday.

Along with Price-Weimer's time of 4:10.31 being the top time in the conference for the 1500-meter run, the Bulldogs also have the best javelin thrower in the league with Anderson Peters' 61.43-meter mark on April 6.