April 30, 2009
Danny P Smith -
It was tempting for Mississippi State track jumper Priscilla Gaines to participate Saturday at the Mississippi Open in Oxford.
After reaching a season-high and regional qualifying long jump of 19 feet, 8 inches at the Mississippi Invitational on April 11, the chance for more success there was inviting.
But Gaines has something more important to do Saturday.
Gaines, Antrese Banks, and Marrissa Harris of the women''s team and Kiley Aguar of the men''s squad will miss the meet at Ole Miss to attend graduation exercises at Humphrey Coliseum.
"I''m excited about graduating," Gaines said. "You''ve just got to put school first. Track got me here to do everything. It helped me get a scholarship. If it weren''t for track, I wouldn''t be getting an education."
Gaines believes she could have set a regional qualifying time in the triple jump at Ole Miss if she had chosen to go, but graduation is a one-time event.
MSU women''s track coach Bryan Fetzer is proud of what Gaines has accomplished in academics.
"Her graduating is an awesome thing and makes you proud as a coach because that''s the real reason you come to college," Fetzer said.
Gaines, of Marietta, Ga., , only had two years with the Lady Bulldogs after transferring from Bevill State (Ala.) Community College.
Fetzer said Gaines has matured a great deal in track in her time at MSU.
"She is focused on what she is doing and she definitely has some goals she wants to obtain," Fetzer said. "When you are on the verge of having a big performance, you do a lot of little things right. When it''s there, I can see her having a big performance."
Although a little disappointed she won''t compete at Ole Miss, Gaines is looking forward to the SEC Championships on May 14-17 in Gainesville, Fla., the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships on May 29-30 in Lexington, Ky., and NCAA Championships on June 10-13 in Fayetteville, Ark.
Due to a new Southeastern Conference baseball rule, MSU baseball coach John Cohen is going to have to hold his temper to stay in games down the stretch of the season.
If Cohen is ejected from any of the Bulldogs'' remaining regular-season games, he will serve another one-game suspension for a violation of the SEC Baseball Ejection Policy. He sat out last Saturday''s outing at Vanderbilt because of ejections he received last Friday against Vanderbilt and April 5 against Auburn.
The SEC Baseball Ejection Policy went into effect at the beginning of the conference season and states, "A student-athlete, coach or team representative ejected for misconduct or unsportsmanlike conduct for a first offense will receive a written warning cautioning on actions of further like conduct. A second or subsequent ejections in the same year will carry a next game suspension for each ejection.
"I think that is a Ron Polk rule after last year," Cohen said. "He was thrown out of three games in a row."
Cohen said he doesn''t want to make it a habit for umpires to eject him, but he also appreciates the effort of his players and wants to show he is fighting for them.
"There are times you really have to step up for your club," Cohen said. "If you don''t and you expect kids to really represent your university and compete, you want to compete a little bit for them also. (The Vanderbilt game) was one of those moments I had no choice."
Q: What is a dead period?
A: A dead period is when it is not permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations on or off the institution''s campus or to permit official or unofficial visits by a prospect to the institution''s campus.
Due to exams on the MSU campus, there was no athletic activity in the middle of the week.
The action doesn''t pick up very much this weekend.
The baseball and softball teams play host to SEC series this week, with the Bulldogs playing Alabama at 6:30 p.m. Friday, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, while the Lady Bulldogs take on Ole Miss in a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday and a single game at 1 p.m. Sunday.