Former Bulldogs Make Olympic Teams

Published 2:24 pm Sunday, July 4, 2021

STARKVILLE – The Mississippi State track and field program officially has six former Bulldogs participating in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Marco AropErica BougardMarta Pen FreitasBrandon McBrideAnderson Peters, and Curtis Thompson.

Six is the most Bulldog participants in a single Olympic Games for Mississippi State.

Two will compete for Team USA, two for Team Canada, one for Team Grenada and one for Team Portugal.

Marco Arop and Brandon McBride will be the two participants in the men’s 800m for Canada.

Team Canada was officially announced on Saturday, July 3, and the two former Bulldogs are on the roster.

Arop turned pro after competing at Mississippi State in 2018 and 2019, now running for adidas. He was a three-time All-American, competing both indoor and outdoor, and earned the USTFCCCA Accusplit Relay Award for his participation on the 4x800m relay in 2018. He qualified twice for the NCAA Indoor Championships and twice Outdoor. He earned gold at the 2019 Pan American Games for the 800m. He also was a 2019 IAAF World Championships Finalist for his event where he was the youngest competitor. In 2018, he was the Outdoor Athletics Canada Champion and the Outdoor NACAC Championships Silver Medalist. Arop holds both the MSU indoor and outdoor 800m records, as well as the freshman record. He is the Canadian national record holder for the indoor 800m and the Pan American Games record holder for the outdoor 800m. Brandon McBride was the reason he came to Mississippi State.

McBride competed for the Bulldogs from 2013 to 2016. He is a nine-time All-American, which is tied for MSU’s most. He made six NCAA Championships appearances in total and is a two-time semifinalist for the Bowerman. He was Canada’s National Champion in 2016 and competed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio where he reached the semifinals. He ranks fourth in Canadian national history indoors and is a four-time Athletics Canada Champion overall. He placed eighth at the 2017 Outdoor World Championships in London. McBride earned his bachelor’s in Business Administration from Mississippi State in 2016.

The men’s 800m has their qualifying round on July 30 at 7:50 p.m. CT. The semifinals are scheduled for August 1 at 6:25 a.m. CT. August 4 is the finals, competing at 7:05 a.m. CT.

Erica Bougard and Curtis Thompson will be competing in the heptathlon and javelin, respectively, for the United States.

Bougard wore the maroon and white from 2012 to 2016. She is the most-decorated student-athlete in Mississippi State history with 16 All-American honors and holding five school records. The two-time SEC Champion and three-time SEC Field Athlete of the Year also was the 2013 NCAA Pentathlon Champion. She won the Cliff Harper Trophy in 2015 and was the first female for MSU to be named to The Bowerman Watchlist, happening in 2015. The former Bulldog ranks 26th in world history for the heptathlon and fourth in U.S. history. In 2019 she was the fourth-place finisher at the Outdoor World Championships and finished fifth in the pentathlon at the 2018 Indoor World Championships. She’s a two-time USATF Heptathlon Champion and two-time USATF Pentathlon Champion. In 2017, she was the USATF Long Jump Champion as well. Bougard graduated from Mississippi State in 2016 with her bachelor’s degree in Human Sciences. She placed third at the 2021 USATF Olympic Trials to punch her ticket to Tokyo.

She competes in the heptathlon on August 3 through 5. The schedule for day one has the 100m hurdles at 7:35 p.m. and high jump at 8:35 p.m. CT. Day two will have the shot put at 2:05 a.m., 200m at 6:30 a.m., long jump at 7:40 p.m., and javelin at 10:30 p.m. CT. The final event, the 800m, will take place on August 5 at 7:20 a.m. CT.

Thompson competed for Mississippi State from 2015-2019 and is considered one of the founding members of JavU. He is a four-time First Team Outdoor All-American and the 2016 NCAA Javelin Champion, where he was the first to win that event for Mississippi State. He was the NCAA Runner-Up in 2019. He is a two-time USATF Champion in both 2018 and 2021 and he won silver at the 2018 NACAC Championships. In 2019, he represented the United States at the Pan American Games and The Match Europe vs. USA as well as the 2019 Athletics World Cup. In 2016, he missed qualifying for the Rio Olympic Games by 13cm despite winning U.S. Olympic Trials. He was the Olympic Trials Champion in 2021 and got the call to join Team USA on July 1. Thompson graduated with his bachelor’s in mathematics from MSU in 2020.

He will compete on August 3 at 7:05 p.m. CT in the qualifying round. August 7 will be the finals, at 6 a.m. CT.

Marta Pen Freitas will compete for Portugal in the 1500m.

Freitas competed for the Bulldogs from 2015 to 2017, running cross country, indoor and outdoor. She was the 2015 NCAA Champion for the 1500m, and NCAA All-Region for cross country that next fall, also being named an All-American. She is one of only three MSU athletes to be named a cross country All-American. In 2016, FloTrack named her Human of the Year. She won the SEC title in both the 1500m and mile in 2016, also earning First Team All-American honors in the 1500m, and was a part of the 2017 SEC distance medley relay title. Freitas has the No. 2 time in school history for both the 800m and 1500m. She is a six-time Portugese National Champion with four 1500m titles and a pair of 800m wins. She is making her second-consecutive Olympic Games appearance after competing in Rio in 2016, announcing her place on the 2020 team on July 2. Freitas graduated from MSU in 2018 with her bachelor’s in Business Administration.

The qualifying round for the 1500m is on August 1 and 7:35 p.m. CT. The semifinals will take place on August 4 at 5 a.m. CT, and the finals are set for August 6 at 7:50 a.m. CT.

Anderson Peters will compete in the javelin for Grenada.

Peters holds the NCAA Championships meet record, the SEC Championships meet record, as well as the MSU freshman and school record in the javelin. He is a two-time NCAA and SEC Champion, competing for the maroon and white for just 2018 and 2019 before turning pro and signing with adidas. Peters is a two-time semifinalist for The Bowerman and was named the 2018 SEC Freshman Field Athlete of the Year. He holds seven of the top-11 throws in NCAA history. He is a five-time CARIFTA Games Champion and is an Austin Sealy award winner. He won bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Continental Cup, and won gold at the 2019 Pan American Games. Peters holds the Grenadian National Record, the Pan American Games record, and the CARIFTA Games record. He is the reigning World Champion after winning gold at the 2019 IAAF Outdoor World Championships. He graduated from Mississippi State in 2021 with his degree in Business Management.

He will compete on August 3 at 7:05 p.m. CT in the qualifying round. August 7 will be the finals, at 6 a.m. CT.

Previews and recaps of each event will be posted to HailState.com. Coverage of the Olympic Games will be on the NBC family of networks.