Craig Engels crosses the finish line as SEC champion in the distance medley relay. (photo by Joshua McCoy)
Feb. 28, 2015
Complete Results | Day One Photo Gallery | Day Two Photo Gallery
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The year was 1984. Apple introduced the Mac computer. LeBron James was born.
And Ole Miss' men's team finished third at the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Flash forward to 2015 ... Ole Miss gets SEC titles from Jalen Miller, Daniel Bulmer and the distance medley relay, and this year's Rebels achieve their best finish since '84 during a phenomenal weekend of competition at the E.J. Nutter Field House.
The Ole Miss men scored 62 points to finish fourth in the team standings, their third-best result in school history and best since tying for third 31 years ago. The team's 62 points were also their most at an SEC indoor meet since that year (scoring is based on a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 format for first through eighth places in each event).
"This fourth-place finish, I believe, is the foundation, the brick and mortar, of SEC Championships that we plan to bring to Ole Miss," said head coach Brian O'Neal.
A young Rebel women's team captured 13th place with 14.2 team points, led by freshman Brooke Feldmeier's runner-up finish and school record in the 800 meters.
Florida won the men's team title, and Arkansas claimed the women's crown, while there were numerous meet records and even an all-time collegiate best during the nation's top conference track & field meet.
Overall on the weekend, Ole Miss snagged three SEC titles, two runners-up and two school records. The only other time the Rebels won three titles at the SEC indoor meet was 1983.
"For us this meet was a success on a lot of different levels," O'Neal said. "You saw our youth movement with so many competing at their first SEC Championships. I think what you saw was a spirited, hungry, relentless group of young men and women. Our team has gotten better because of group of student-athletes that work hard day in and day out and are committed to representing the Red and Blue at the highest level. I'd also like to recognize the committed effort on behalf of our administration, support staff and coaches in getting the best out of our young men and women. I couldn't be more pleased to know that the best is yet to come."
The Rebels' success was notable in a couple of ways. Twenty of the team's 44 participants were competing in their first SEC Championships. And the men were without injured distance standouts Sean Tobin and Robert Domanic, who could have further bolstered the points total.
As he has all season in the 60 meters, sophomore Jalen Miller won his race and earned Ole Miss' first ever SEC title in the event with a time of 6.56 that was just off his personal best and school record of 6.55. The Tunica, Mississippi, native overcame a slow start out of the blocks to beat a very fast SEC field and earn 10 big team points.
Not long after Miller's victory, Ole Miss blazed the track again with an unprecedented 1-2 finish in the men's mile by senior Daniel Bulmer and sophomore Craig Engels for 18 team points. Bulmer is the first SEC mile champion in school history, while Engels is just the second runner-up in the event in school history.
Bulmer, who finished ninth in the mile at last year's SEC indoor meet, led from start to finish and crossed in a time of 4:03.28. The native of Gold Coast, Australia, had a 30-meter lead on the field at one point and talked about his race strategy.
"All season, throughout my racing and training, the coaches said they think I run better off a quicker pace," Bulmer said. "So we decided to not change anything just because it's an SEC final."
Engels, who transferred from NC State this January, made a late run and almost caught Bulmer at the line, finishing in 4:03.76. The Pfafftown, North Carolina native was the top qualifier after Friday's prelims.
Bulmer and Engels came back at the end of the day to lead Ole Miss to its second straight league title in the distance medley relay. Bulmer (1200-meter leg) and Engels (1600-meter leg) combined with seniors Dameon Morgan (400-meter leg) and Holland Sherrer (800-meter leg) to clock a 9:43.87 that ranks them fifth in school history. Amazingly, none of those four were on last year's winning relay team (Domanic, Montez Griffin, Will Spiers, Tobin).
Senior Phillip Young turned in a fourth-place result in the triple jump one day after finishing third in the long jump. His triple jump of 52-9.25 was just a quarter inch off his indoor personal best that ranks him third in school history.
Junior MJ Erb followed up Friday's eighth-place finish in the 3,000 meters with a fourth-place result in the 5,000 on Saturday. His strong kick to close the race gave him a personal-best time of 14:05.86 that continues to rank him fourth in school history.
A pair of Rebel seniors rounded out the scoring, with Morgan earning seventh place in the 800 meters with a time of 1:50.87 and Robert Semien finishing eighth in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.89.
The women were highlighted by Feldmeier, who broke a school record in the 800 meters with her time of 2:04.34 and earned a silver medal. She ran a quick final lap in which she surged from sixth all the way to second. It's been a fantastic rookie season for the Olympia, Washington, native, who looks to be in good position for an NCAA Championships berth.
Sophomore Mary Alex England ran a personal-best 16:38.95 to place sixth in the 5,000 meters and earn three more team points. She continues to rank second in school history in that event.
A day after scoring points and breaking her school record in the heptathlon, senior Fabia McDonald tied for eighth in the high jump with a mark of 5-5.75 and earned 0.2 points (five-way tie).
The Rebels will now wait to find out the final entries for the NCAA Indoor Championships, which take place March 13-14 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
For more information on Ole Miss Track & Field, follow the Rebels on Twitter at@OleMissTrack and on Facebook at Ole Miss Track. And follow Coach O'Neal at @CoachBrianOneal.
Jalen Miller - Men's 60 Meter Champion
On winning SEC title ...
"It's a dream come true. I watched this on TV growing up. I had a lot of emotion at the end. I was very happy after the race."
On the way the race went ...
"I had confidence the whole time I was running, even during the race when I had a bad start. I knew if I stuck to my race pattern and continued to do what coach was telling me to do, I would pull it out."
On upcoming NCAA Indoor Championships ...
"I feel pretty good going in. I think I've got a shot to win it, just as everybody else in the field. I'm looking forward to a good race."
Daniel Bulmer - Men's Mile Champion and Distance Medley Relay Champion
On winning the school's first SEC mile title ...
"That's something really special. I came in over a year ago just hoping to run the best I could for the team. To finish my career like that is something special to get an achievement like that at a prestigious university like Ole Miss and the program we have."
On his race strategy ...
"All season, throughout my racing and training, the coaches said they think I run better off a quicker pace. So we decided to not change anything just because it's an SEC final. I've never gone from the gun to the tape, so it's something special, especially in an SEC final.
Craig Engels - Men's Mile Runner-Up and Distance Medley Relay Champion
On making an impact in his first season at Ole Miss ...
"I kept getting hurt at NC State, and I needed a new change of pace, and Coach (Ryan) Vanhoy gave me what I needed. Coach was hanging out with me, telling me how well we were going to do this season, and I'm here doing well because of him."
On trailing Bulmer the whole mile race ...
"Yeah, that old guy (Bulmer) was out there quick. I was like, he may come back and he may not, but we're going to get first place anyway. So I'll lead this second pack. I'm glad with the way it ended. Next year when he's gone, I hope I'm up there in his place."
Brooke Feldmeier - Women's 800 Meter Runner-Up
On placing second at SECs as a freshman ...
"I think I was honestly more nervous yesterday just trying to get into the final. Today my coach just said I had to go out there and represent Ole Miss, and that's exactly what I wanted to do."
On her future ...
"I hope to get a lot faster. This is basically my fifth open 800 meter race. I only ran the 800 heptathlon before, so this is nice."
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
1. Florida - 114
2. Arkansas - 89
3. Texas A&M - 87
4. Ole Miss - 62
5. LSU - 53
6. Alabama - 49
7. Tennessee - 48
8. Georgia - 46
9. Auburn - 34
10. South Carolina - 31
11. Missouri - 27
12. Kentucky - 22
1. Arkansas - 130
2. Florida - 86
3. Texas A&M - 81.9
4. Kentucky - 76
5. LSU - 51
6. Georgia - 50
7. Mississippi State - 36.7
8. Alabama - 34
9. Missouri - 32
10. Tennessee - 22
11. Auburn - 21
12. Vanderbilt - 18.2
13. Ole Miss - 14.2
14. South Carolina - 9
60 Meter Final
1. Jalen Miller - 6.56 (10 points)
60 Meter Prelims
1. Jalen Miller - 6.57Q
200 Meter Prelims
25. Darryl Brown - 22.31
800 Meter Final
7. Dameon Morgan - 1:50.87 (2 points)
800 Meter Prelims
8. Dameon Morgan - 1:50.49q
14. Derek Gutierrez - 1:51.02
16. Holland Sherrer - 1:51.14
27. Will Spiers - 1:54.61
1. Daniel Bulmer - 4:03.28 (10 points)
2. Craig Engels - 4:03.76 (8 points)
9. Trevor Gilley - 4:06.10
1. Craig Engels - 4:04.06Q
3. Daniel Bulmer - 4:04.99Q
5. Trevor Gilley - 4:05.72Q
8. MJ Erb - 8:16.62 (1 point)
Wesley Gallagher - DNF
4. MJ Erb - 14:05.86 (5 points)
21. Taylor Caldwell - 15:14.18
60 Meter Hurdle Final
8. Robert Semien - 7.89 (1 point)
60 Meter Hurdle Prelims
4. Robert Semien - 7.80Q
Distance Medley Relay
1. Ole Miss (Bulmer, Morgan, Sherrer, Engels) - 9:43.87 (10 points)
5. Branden Greene - 7-0.5 (4 points)
10. Adam Aguirre - 6-10.75
3. Phillip Young - 25-1.25 (6 points)
17. Adam Aguirre - 22-9
20. Branden Greene - 22-4.25
23. Malcolm Davis - 19-4.25
4. Phillip Young - 52-9.25 (5 points)
11. Nathan Loe - 61-11
17. Kevin Conway - 60-3
13. Peyton Moss - 4,945
60 Meter Prelims
15. Jhorden Hunter - 7.43
18. Shannon Ray - 7.50
20. Nicole Henderson - 7.52
200 Meter Prelims
17. Shannon Ray - 24.14
24. Deanna Tate - 24.37
27. Nicole Henderson - 24.49
29. Jhorden Hunter - 24.97
400 Meter Prelims
19. Kiannah Alexander - 54.83
36. Deanna Tate - 56.93
40. Breanna Tate - 58.76
800 Meter Final
2. Brooke Feldmeier - 2:04.34 (SR) (8 points)
800 Meter Prelims
5. Brooke Feldmeier - 2:08.53Q
10. Britt Ummels - 2:10.20
12. Leanne Zimmer - 2:12.83
18. Margaret Harkness - 5:02.72
23. Shelby Brown - 5:06.48
24. Scarlett Fox - 5:11.10
22. Bo Ummels - 10:15.69
6. Mary Alex England - 16:38.95 (3 points)
20. Elisabeth Gaillet - 17:15.75
25. McKenna Coughlin - 17:39.10
60 Meter Hurdle Prelims
12. Taryn Hartfield - 8.55
4x400 Meter Relay
11. Ole Miss (D. Tate, Ray, Kelly, B. Tate) - 3:53.68
Distance Medley Relay
11. Ole Miss (Ummels, Mattix, Feldmeier, Ummels) - 11:43.71
T8. Fabia McDonald - 5-5.75 (0.2 points)
Lyndsey Acree - NH
18. Lanae Newsome - 18-9.25
20. Kierra White - 18-1
21. Lanae Newsome - 38-6.25
23. Kierra White - 38-2.75
6. Fabia McDonald - 4,168 (SR) (3 points)
10. Brittany Kelly - 3,830