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Smith Column: Saturday can be considered a SBW preview

March 26, 2011

By DANNY P. SMITH
Sports Editor
sdnsports@bellsouth.net

The Mississippi State campus was jumping with activity on Saturday afternoon.
From my seat in the pressbox at the Carl Maddox Track facility, all of the action from the SEC-Big 10 Challenge track meet could be viewed as well as the Bulldogs men's tennis team as it competed against Florida in front of a nice crowd at the Pitts Tennis Centre to the right. To the left, the MSU football scrimmage was visible from the practice fields.
There were enough cheers, whistles and bells, yes including cowbells, that it was difficult to tell where exactly the sounds were coming from at times.
Also taking place at Dudy Noble Field was the second game of the Southeastern Conference baseball series between the Bulldogs and the Auburn Tigers.
It was evident when MSU got off to a good start with its eight runs in the first inning because the cheers and the fight song were often heard from the grandstand at the track facility.
Saturday certainly seemed to be a nice tune-up for Super Bulldog Weekend in a couple of weeks. It's hard to believe that things could be any busier then, but it probably will be.
With the spring football game, baseball, softball and women's tennis, just to list a few of the sporting events, Super Bulldog Weekend is sure to present another crazy time. It was nice of the people of MSU to help get us prepared for it a couple of weeks early.
Hopefully the weather will cooperate for Super Bulldog Weekend like it did on Saturday.
After a forecast of rain and some storms, it turned out to be a pretty good afternoon. It was a little hot and humid, but there didn't appear to be many complaints.
Each venue had a crowd. It seemed like the public was anxious to welcome back track and field to the MSU campus because the grandstand was full and many other people stood around the fence.
Even those spectators watching the football scrimmage turned around at times to peak at the track action, especially when some of the running events were being contested.
Steve Dudley, the track coach of the Bulldogs, was pleased with the atmosphere.
“The crowd was unbelievable today,” Dudley said in a statement. “People got excited and that really helps motivate these athletes. There were times where you couldn’t even see the fence line. There was a person in every spot all the way around, plus people in the stands. That was huge. Our kids love that, and it pushes them to give it their all.”
It was nice to see MSU host a track and field after a four-year absence.
Even though the Big 10 had the upperhand in the standings, the Bulldogs felt fortunate to have such a prestigious event in Starkville.
"I love the new track and the surface," MSU long distance women's runner Haley Greenwell said. "The environment and the cowbells ringing was just great. Running the last lap to know I had so many friends and family here supporting me was awesome."
Except for the men's discus lagging into the early evening hours, everything seemed to be run efficiently and on schedule. The Bulldogs get a positive mark in how the meet was managed.
With a dominating baseball victory, a hard-nosed football scrimmage, competitive men's tennis and a track meet with no major issues, the weekend may not have had the title of "Super," but wasn't very far off as being such.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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