Stewart Shines as Rebels Win Six Titles at Blazer Invite
Jan. 12, 2018
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Ole Miss men's and women's track and field opened the 2018 indoor season in fine form, claiming six total event titles at a productive season opener at UAB's Blazer Invite on Friday.
"I think overall it was a good beginning for the 2018 indoor season," said Ole Miss head coach Connie Price-Smith. "We had some really good things, but also some okay things that I saw that we need to work on for the season. But, I am excited about where we are right now. Anytime you can start the season off with a bunch of personal bests it is a good start. I am looking forward to next week and seeing them perform again."
The No. 8 Rebel women stole the show, winning five of those six events on the day for Ole Miss. Leading the way with two of those wins was senior All-American Janeah Stewart, who impressed right out of the gate of her final campaign as a Rebel.
Stewart opened the day with a powerful performance in the weight throw, winning at a meet and facility record toss of 22.64m (74-03.50). That throw puts her at No. 2 on the NCAA list at this early stage of the 2018 indoor season, but it's an impressive open considering where she finished her junior campaign. Stewart won the 2017 SEC weight throw title at an Ole Miss and SEC record 23.18m (76-00.75) -- the seventh-best throw in the United States last season, which made her the sixth-best individual in NCAA history.
Freshman Shey Taiwo opened some eyes in the weight too, taking fifth in her first collegiate meet at 18.28m (59-11.75) -- the fifth-best throw in Ole Miss history that ranks 32nd in the NCAA at the moment. Sophomore Kendall Chavarria also impressed with a four-meter PR in 10th place at 16.77m (55-00.25).
Stewart made a clean sweep of the throwing events with a win in the shot put at another meet record of 16.55m (54-03.75). That ranks her sixth in the NCAA, putting her in a good spot to make a return trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships in both events.
Fellow senior Lindsey Murray kicked off her final indoor season with a win in the pole vault, clearing 4.05m (13-03.50) for a solid season open that puts her at ninth in the NCAA. Three additional Rebels joined her in the top-five: Katy McAuley (fourth, 3.80m/12-05.50), Sandra Brown (fifth, 3.65m/11-11.75) and Nicole Kallenberger (fifth, 3.65m/11-11.75).
The No. 8 Rebel women also had a bit of a youth movement on Friday. Sophomore Kieshonna Brooks took the long jump title at a half-foot PR leap of 5.81m (19-00.75), with fellow sophomore (and returning SEC All-Freshman team member) Kaira Simmons taking third at 5.75m (18-10.50).
Brooks came narrowly close to making the final in the 60-meter hurdles as well, missing out by .01 seconds at a PR of 8.76. Brooks' near-qualifier pushes her into a tie for 11th all-time in the Rebel record book.
The Rebels weren't without a win on the track, though, as senior Maddy Nikkel took the 3K crown at 10:08.11 -- just three seconds off her career-best. Freshman Emma McClellan finished fourth at 10:25.96.
Other Rebel women with impressive performances included senior Lanae Newsome in the long jump (third place, 12.08m/39-07.75) and fellow senior Shannon Ray in the 60-meter dash, who finished seventh at a new PR of 7.45 seconds that ranks 10th all-time and ties for 21st in the NCAA.
As for the Rebel men, sophomore Manny Foster had a productive day, claiming a win in the men's long jump. Foster won on a large PR of 7.58m (24-10.50) -- beating his previous best by more than a foot and putting him 11th all-time in Ole Miss history. Foster's leap also puts him at fourth nationally at this early stage of the indoor season.
Foster also posted a career day in the triple jump, leaping an overall best 14.58m (47-10.00) for fifth place.
Freshman jumper Allen Gordon made quite an impression in his first NCAA meet. Gordon was the runner-up in the high jump at 2.10m (6-10.75), which already lands him at No. 7 on the all-time Rebel list. Not long after, Gordon followed that up with a third-place finish behind Foster in the long jump at 7.22m (23-08.25).
The Rebel men's throwers put together a show of their own in the weight and shot. Senior Dempsey McGuigan, back for one final indoor season, led the way for the Rebels in the men's weight throw in second place at 20.23m (66-04.50). McGuigan's toss today was an impressive open, coming less than one foot off his all-time best recorded two years ago and ranking him 13th nationally.
Fellow senior and All-American Brian Williams put in a solid day's work of his own, finishing fourth behind McGuigan in the weight at 18.11m (59-05.00) and leading the Rebels in third in the shot put at 18.00m (59-00.75). Williams, the school-record holder in the shot put, put together a consistent set with four throws of at least 17.88 meters. His shot put mark today puts him 15th in the NCAA at the moment.
Another top-three finish for the Rebel men came courtesy of Dylan Day in the 3K, finishing third at 8:49.43.
Ole Miss also had success in some non-standard events on the track Friday. Senior Jolie Carbo led the way in the women's 300-meter in third place at 38.97. Other top non-standard finishes included Everett Smulders in the men's 600-meter (fourth, 1:21.39), Maddie McHugh in the women's 600-meter (fifth, 1:32.32) and Cade Bethmann in the men's 1K (seventh, 2:27.05).
The indoor season is in full swing now, and the Rebels will get right back on the road next week for the Vanderbilt Invite on Jan. 19-20.
Other Notable Performances:
Men's 60-Meter Dash:
Women's 60-Meter Hurdles:
Women's 4x400-Meter Relay:
Men's Pole Vault:
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