After a two-week break from action, the Mississippi State track and field team travels to Columbia, Mo., for the 2013 SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships, slated to begin on Thursday at Audrey J. Walton Stadium.
"Just as with many sports, the SEC is top of the line in competition," MSU coach Steve Dudley said. "When we compete this weekend, we will be competing amongst the best. This will not be the last time we see many of these athletes, as the majority will make their way to Nationals once this weekend wraps."
Highlighting this year's field are seven men's teams and five women's teams who enter the weekend ranked among the Top 25 in this week's U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Poll.
Joining the Bulldogs in competition will be No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 5 Arkansas, No. 7 Georgia, No. 12 LSU, No. 16 Ole Miss and No. 20 Alabama; while the Lady Bulldogs will face off against No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 3 Florida, No. 4. LSU, No. 6 Arkansas and No. 10 Georgia.
The MSU men's 4x400-meter relay team will enter the competition as the seventh-ranked foursome in the country and will be likely contenders for a SEC title. Daundre Barnaby, Brandon McBride, Randy Patterson and Tavaris Tate comprise the Maroon and White quartet and will look to beat a season-best time of 3:05.35.
Also in quest for a first-place finish includes junior Marcus Jackson, who is the NCAA's fourth-ranked high jumper. Jackson has seen a successful outdoor season, following his personal-best performance of 7-06.00 to finish as the runner-up at NCAA Indoors in March. The Carrollton, Miss., native cleared his best height of the outdoor campaign at the Texas Relays in March, jumping 7-05.25.
On the women's side, sophomore Erica Bougard will enter the meet ranked ninth in NCAA heptathlon competition. The young Lady Bulldog posted 5,649 points earlier in the season and seeks to better that mark this weekend.
Action in Missouri will kick off at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday with the heptathlon competition and will conclude Sunday at 6:35 p.m. with the women's 4x400-meter relay final.
This year's championships can be seen for free on the Mizzou Network live stream (http://www.mutigers.com/sectrack/), while ESPN3 coverage will air from 3:40-6:45 p.m. on Saturday and pick up again on Sunday from 2:50-6:45 p.m. Dwight Stones, Larry Rawson and Lewis Johnson will call the meet.
For more information on the action in Columbia, follow the Bulldogs on Twitter (@msutracksarah) and visit www.secdigitalnetwork.com for complete championship news.