Today's running of the SEC-Big 10 Challenge college track meet is not only important for Mississippi State and the Southeastern Conference.
It's also something the city of Starkville can take pride in having.
Some of the best collegiate track teams in the nation hit the Carl Maddox facility, the home of the Bulldogs.
"It's big for the community to be able to see the quality of teams coming in," MSU track coach Steve Dudley said. "You basically have eight top 25 type of teams in one location and 15 to 20 athletes who look to make their prospective Olympic teams from whatever countries they are from during the Olympic year. You don't get an opportunity to see that in person."
Tennessee and Ole Miss joins State in representing the SEC, while Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio State men participate from the Big 10.
The Bulldog men are ranked 14th in the country with Indiana at No. 8, Wisconsin at No. 19 and Ohio State at No. 25. The Tennessee women are listed 14th in the nation.
The international system will be used to score the meet.
In each event, first places get 10 points, while seconds earn eight points, thirds grab four points, fifths receive two points and sixths get one point. The points are pooled together by conference at the end of the day and both a men's and women's champion will be determined.
Mississippi State looks to continue the momentum gained from the first outdoor meet of the season and coming out of the indoor season.
At the Louisiana Classics in Lafayette, La., MSU won seven events.
Keisha Wallace won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.22, while Jodie McGuff was first in the 5000-meter run with a time of 17:48.22 and Adrianna Poole claimed the 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11:29.29 for the Lady Bulldogs. For the men, Marcus Jackson won the high jump with a leap of 7-02 1/2, Ed Wesela captured the shot put with a throw of 56-01 1/4, Bobby McIllece won the 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:37.61, and Jarrett Samuels claimed the long jump with a leap of 24-00 3/4.
Dudley is pleased with the progress of the women and said the men also continue to be steady.
"Our women's team finished higher (indoors) than they ever have in the history of the program at the SEC meet and had a couple of girls qualify for nationals which was good," Dudley said. "Obviously finishing in the top 25 on the men's side was positive, but we're excited about getting outdoor started. We look to have our highest finish on the women's side again outdoor in the SEC, just like we did indoors."
The field events for the SEC-Big 10 Challenge begin at 9 a.m., while the running events start at 1:30 p.m.
"We need as many people we can pack in there," Dudley said.