Raven Saunders won her third SEC shot put title in as many tries, smashing the indoor meet record along the way.
Feb. 24, 2017
Meet Central | SECN+ Saturday | Live Results | Saturday Heat Sheets
Ole Miss Meet Notes | Thursday Photo Gallery | Friday Photo Gallery
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The 13th-ranked Ole Miss women had a stellar opening day, while the Rebel men set themselves up for a big Saturday flourish during Friday's first day of the 2017 SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Vanderbilt.
Three Rebels made it on the medalist stand Friday, including a 1-2 finish in the women's shot put by Raven Saunders and Janeah Stewart. MJ Erb won a silver medal in the 3000 meters for the men.
After five of 17 events scored, the Rebels is third in the women's team standings with 24.5 points, already surpassing their total of 16 from last year's league indoor meet. After four of 17 men's events, Ole Miss sits in eighth place with nine team points.
Saunders won her second straight SEC indoor shot put crown, but this time with much more fanfare. On her second throw of the competition, she demolished the previous meet record of 18.31m/60-1 set by LSU's Tori Bliss in 2015 when she uncorked a mammoth shot of 19.07m/62-6.75 that led her to jump for joy. The Olympian now owns the top two shot puts in the world this year, including her best of 19.10m/62-8 from Jan. 14 in this same facility.
The Charleston, South Carolina, native's incredible series of throws also included marks of 18.50m, 18.48m and 18.43m that were farther than the previous SEC meet record. Saunders has broken a shot put meet record in five of six competitions this indoor season.
Her teammate, junior college transfer Janeah Stewart, made her SEC meet debut an impressive one, as well. On Stewart's second attempt, she landed a personal-best 17.31m/56-9.5 that secured her silver medal and moved her up to No. 8 in the NCAA this year. She added another throw of 17.24m for good measure.
The 3000 meters resulted in four more points for the women, with junior Emily Bean finishing sixth in 9:28.53 and junior Shelby Brown eighth in 9:33.10.
Ole Miss also got 2.5 team points in the women's pole vault from seventh-place Lindsey Murray and Callie Watson tying for eighth. Both cleared 4.15m/13-7.25. Freshman Nicole Kallenberger was just out of scoring in the top eight with a 10th-place result and a personal-best clearance of 4.00m/13-1.5.
One woman advanced through the running event prelims to Saturday's final, sophomore Maddie McHugh in the 800 meters. Her time of 2:07.59 was third-best among qualifiers.
Junior Nicole Henderson had a career day in the short sprints, setting personal bests in both the 60 meters (7.40) and 200 meters (24.21). She did not advance to a final, but did move up to No. 6 in school history in the 60 and No. 10 in the 200.
Erb, a senior, ran a very fast and competitive race in the 3000 meters, finishing second in 7:59.63, which would have been good enough to win the SEC title at six of the last seven league championships. He will be back on the track Saturday looking to score more team points as the league's No. 1 seed in the 5000 meters.
Senior Branden Greene concluded his Rebel career on Friday by placing eighth in the high jump with a clearance at 2.09m/6-10.25.
Ole Miss positioned itself for a strong final day by advancing six runners into event finals, including four in the mile and two in the 800 meters.
Junior Robert Domanic (4:07.16), junior Derek Gutierrez (4:07.66) and senior Trevor Gilley (4:08.54) clocked the top three qualifying times in the mile prelims, while junior Sean Tobin (4:10.05) also advanced by placing runner-up in his heat. Ole Miss finished 1-2-3 in the mile at last year's meet with Domanic, Tobin and Ryan Manahan.
In the 800 meter prelims, seniors Craig Engels and Manahan ran the second- and third-fastest times of 1:48.69 and 1:48.73 to advance to the final. They entered the meet ranked third (Manahan) and sixth (Engels) among 800-meter men.
Just missing out on team points were junior Dempsey McGuigan and senior Kevin Conway, who finished 10th and 11th in the weight throw with marks of 20.16m/66-1.75 and 19.92m/65-4.25, respectively.
Saturday's events get underway at 10 a.m. CT with the final portions of the men's heptathlon. Field events begin at 11 a.m. and running events at 2 p.m. The meet will be shown live on SEC Network+ starting at 1:55 p.m.
For more information on Ole Miss Track & Field, follow the Rebels on Twitter (@OleMissTrack), Facebook and Instagram.
SEC Women's Shot Put Champion Raven Saunders:
"Coming into this meet our goal was to get first and second place, based off how great practice was going. Really it just came down to competing and going after it. We got the job done."
SEC Women's Shot Put Runner-Up Janeah Stewart:
"When I came here I was just trying to psych myself out with the competition and I just pretty much performed how I do it in practice, and it just came."
On preparing for Saturday's weight throw competition ... "I'm going to eat and rest tonight. And hope for another PR. That's all I can do."
SEC Men's 3000m Runner-Up MJ Erb
"We figured the Arkansas guys were going to try to set it up for a national qualifier, so we were prepared for it to be a fast race. I think it got too crowded and kind of fell apart. There was a lot of elbowing and trying to get in position for the last few laps. It was a fight to get up there."
"I was a little disappointed to leave an extra few points out there, but happy I was able to pull something together and put some points on the board for us."
DAY ONE TEAM STANDINGS
1. Arkansas -- 48.5
2. Georgia -- 25
3. Ole Miss -- 24.5
4. Kentucky -- 23
5. Alabama -- 22
6. Florida -- 12
7. Missouri -- 11
8. South Carolina -- 7
9. Auburn -- 6
9. Texas A&M -- 6
11. Tennessee -- 4
12. LSU -- 3
12. Vanderbilt -- 3
Mississippi State -- 0
1. Georgia -- 30
2. Arkansas -- 27
3. Kentucky -- 23
4. Alabama -- 21
5. Florida -- 18
6. Texas A&M -- 13
7. LSU -- 10
8. Ole Miss -- 9
9. South Carolina -- 2.5
9. Tennessee -- 2.5
Auburn, Mississippi State, Missouri -- 0
DAY ONE AGATE
60 Meter Prelims
18. Nicole Henderson -- 7.40 (PR)
28. Breanna Tate -- 7.60
29. Shannon Ray -- 7.60
200 Meter Prelims
23. Nicole Henderson -- 24.21 (PR)
25. Shannon Ray -- 24.24
400 Meter Prelims
27. Jolie Carbo -- 55.61
34. Deanna Tate -- 56.47
35. Aisha Newsome -- 56.52
38. Jasmin Allen -- 57.20
40. Mercedes Mattix -- 57.73
800 Meter Prelims
3. Maddie McHugh -- 2:07.59Q
6. Emily Bean -- 9:28.53 (3 points)
8. Shelby Brown -- 9:33.10 (1 point)
7. Lindsey Murray -- 4.15m/13-7.25 (2 points)
T8. Callie Watson -- 4.15m/13-7.25 (0.5 point)
10. Nicole Kallenberger -- 4.00m/13-1.5 (PR)
14. Katy McAuley -- 4.00m/13-1.5
18. Sandra Brown -- 3.85m/12-7.5
17. Kaira Simmons -- 5.91m/19-4.75
23. Lanae Newsome -- 5.59m/18-4.25
26. Ralesheia Gee -- 4.66m/15-3.5
1. Raven Saunders -- 19.07m/62-6.75 (MR) (10 points)
2. Janeah Stewart -- 17.31m/56-9.5 (PR) (8 points)
60 Meter Prelims
18. Andrew Raspo -- 6.89
21. Courtland Barnes -- 6.91
200 Meter Prelims
26. Andrew Raspo -- 21.95 (PR)
32. Courtland Barnes -- 22.56
400 Meter Prelims
39. Nick DeRay -- 50.62
800 Meter Prelims
2. Craig Engels -- 1:48.69Q
3. Ryan Manahan -- 1:48.73Q
1. Robert Domanic -- 4:07.16Q
2. Derek Gutierrez -- 4:07.66Q
3. Trevor Gilley -- 4:08.54Q
7. Sean Tobin -- 4:10.05Q
21. Dylan Day -- 4:22.55
24. Shamar Tucker -- 4:31.69 (PR)
2. MJ Erb -- 7:59.63 (8 points)
17. Taylor Caldwell -- 8:34.94
18. Brandon Harvey -- 8:42.10
8. Branden Greene -- 2.09m/6-10.25 (1 point)
15. Manny Foster -- 7.23m/23-8.75
16. Branden Greene -- 6.94m/22-9.25
10. Dempsey McGuigan -- 20.16m/66-1.75
11. Kevin Conway -- 19.92m/65-4.25
Heptathlon (thru 4 events)
15. Peyton Moss -- 2518