The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

MSU's Price prepares for NCAA's

1817 days ago
Mark Maloney
Photo: Madeleine Takahashi

Spotting Rhianwedd Price on a cross country course usually is a simple task.

More often than not, the Mississippi State sophomore runs in red socker socks.

"It's not necessarily a superstition," Price said Thursday. "But I wear them for my family and stuff, because they can't be here with me. Just wearing them makes me feel like they're with me when I race and stuff."

The red symbolizes the red dragon that is highlighted on the flag of Wales, Price's homeland.

Saturday, Price hopes she and her red socks will be somewhere near the front of the field as the NCAA Championships take place in Terre Haute, Ind., at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center. Price qualified as an individual in the women's 6K race (noon ET start) by placing third in last weekend's NCAA South Regional. (The men's 10K will start at approximately 1 p.m. ET.)

The socks will be a reminder of twin sister Ffion (who plans to run for MSU next year) and older brother Carwyn.

Price ran a personal best of 19:37.20 in the regional and seems to be peaking at just the right time.

"Exactly," she said. "I'm just happy that that's happening."

Coach Houston Franks says he has seen Price make steady progress all season.

"She's probably had a better race every single race as the year's gone on," Franks said. "But everything we did training-wise was to get ready for SECs, regionals and now. So she's definitely ready, there's no doubt about that."

Price, who goes by Rhian, said she wound up at Mississippi State after being offered a scholarship during a phone call.

"I thought it was a really good opportunity, so I just said yes really," she said. "I really, really like (Starkville). Because it's rural, it's like being back at home and stuff, because I'm in a really rural area back home, too."

At MSU, she is studying animal and dairy science.

Her focus Saturday, though, is all about running fast.

Franks says he'd like a top 40 finish, which would make Price an All-American.

"She's got very good race instincts," he said. "She does very good kind of getting her nose up in it. So our game plan is get up towards the front, try to stay as comfortable with the pace as long as you can and then try to run a really good second-half of the race. Our plan is to get our nose up in it."

Price has run 2:05 for 800 meters and 4:16.11 for 1,500, her favorite track event. That speed will give her confidence Saturday if she is close to the lead with 1K to go.

"Yeah, definitely," she said. "If I can try and keep it (close), then hopefully it will work out."