Stewart Takes Third as Rebels Conclude Stay at NCAA Indoor Championships
March 10, 2018
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Senior thrower Janeah Stewart earned her third-career First-Team All-American award after a third-place finish in a heated weight throw final to conclude action for Ole Miss at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships on Saturday.
Entering the meet, the women’s weight throw was set to be one for the ages as potentially the most explosive national final in NCAA history. Four entered above the 78-foot plateau and three were above 79 (including Stewart) – with the top-four marks of the season all ranking within the all-time NCAA top-10.
After a disappointing finish in the shot put yesterday in 15th place, Stewart got on the board early in the weight today, taking an early lead on her second throw of 23.24m (76-03.00). In the next round, she was bumped down to second by national leader and No. 2 all-time thrower, Annette Echikunwoke of Cincinnati, who threw 23.29m (76-05.00).
That throw and Stewart’s second-round best held as the top two in the competition until the last round, when Minnesota’s Kaitlyn Long – the No. 2 thrower in the NCAA this season and No. 3 all-time entering this weekend – uncorked a winning heave of 23.30m (76-05.50) to move from sixth to first and edge Echikunwoke by a half-inch for the NCAA title.
Stewart had a chance after Long’s throw, but improved only to 23.26m (76-03.75), placing her within two inches of a national title. Stewart earns her sixth overall All-American award as a Rebel with First-Team finishes in the weight throw today, the indoor shot put (eighth) in 2017 and the outdoor shot put in 2017 (fifth). Stewart also owns Second-Team honors in the weight throw from 2017 (13th) and the outdoor discus (ninth) and hammer throw (10th) from 2017.
“I’m happy with finishing third,” Stewart said. “Coming in I was seeded third, so I’m happy that I got third, but I feel like there was a lot more left in the tank and I could have finished higher.”
Senior Sean Tobin, fresh off a dramatic prelim last night where he snared the final time qualifier spot by one-hundredth of a second, took 10th for Second-Team All-American honors in a tough mile final today. Tobin ran 4:06.90 after running in the mile prelim and the 800-meter leg of the distance medley relay last night, falling off the fast winning pace of now two-time champion Josh Kerr of New Mexico, who became the first to repeat since 2009-10 with a time of 3:57.02.
Ole Miss also had senior pole vaulter Lindsey Murray in action on Day Two, where she took home Second-Team All-American honors with a 15th-place finish. Murray, one of five seniors in competition but the only one to have qualified for the indoor national meet all four years, cleared 4.11m (13-05.75) on her second attempt before just barely clipping the bar on two great attempts at 4.21m (13-09.75). Arkansas Olympian Alexis Jacobus broke her own meet record with a winning clearance of 4.66m (15-03.50).
Overall, Ole Miss ended the weekend with one First-Team All-American and six Second-Team All-Americans with Tobin in the mile, Murray in the pole vault, and Tobin, Robert Domanic, Waleed Suliman and Alvin Westbrook in the distance medley relay last night. Ole Miss now has 89 total Rebels that have earned some variant of the All-American award during the indoor season, which now includes 61 men and 28 women.
The Rebel women finished with six points by meet’s end, which was good for a tie for 35th place. Georgia dominated the women’s team competition, besting Arkansas by a score of 61-49. The men’s race came down to the 4x400-meter relays, but the Florida Gators held on for a 40-37 win over USC.
“It was a pretty tough meet for the Rebels,” said Ole Miss head coach Connie Price-Smith. “We ended up coming out with six points on the women’s side, so at least they knew we were here. We’ve just got to go back and do a lot of work to get ready for outdoors.”
Ole Miss will get a week off before a high-profile opener in Los Angeles for the Trailblazer Challenge at USC on March 23-24 on the Pac-12 Network. The meet features the five Division I high-major programs that have both the men’s and women’s teams coached by women: Miami (Amy Deem), Ohio State (Karen Dennis), Tennessee (Beth Alford-Sulivan), USC (Caryl Smith Gilbert), and Ole Miss’ own Connie Price-Smith.
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