Rebels Start Outdoor Track Season Strong at Home Friday
Dempsey McGuigan won the Joe Walker Invitational hammer throw with the second-best throw in the nation so far in 2017.
March 24, 2017

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OXFORD, Miss. – Event titles by Dempsey McGuigan and Shannon Ray highlighted a strong first day of the outdoor season for the Ole Miss Rebels on Friday at the Joe Walker Invitational.

In their first home meet since 2014, the No. 13 Ole Miss men and No. 23 Ole Miss women treated the crowd with a number of outstanding performances from both current and former athletes.

“Our kids ran great,” said second-year head coach Connie Price-Smith. “The track is fast, so I’m really glad they got to run on it for the first time in a competition and have really good performances. When they can come out and PR in their first outdoor meet of the season, it’s really a good sign of what’s to come. I heard from a lot of other coaches that their athletes had a lot of PRs today too. It shows that it’s a good, competitive meet.”

The most notable achievement of the day came from a well-known former athlete and Oxford native, Olympic bronze medalist Sam Kendricks. Making his outdoor season debut, Kendricks won the pole vault with a clearance of 5.81m/19-0.75, which is a 2017 world leader and the best season-opening height of his career. He also broke his own facility record from 2014 by nearly a foot.

McGuigan, a senior from London, U.K., captured the hammer throw crown with a mark of 66.94m/219-7.75, placing him No. 2 in the NCAA ranks for the early season. He was an All-American and SEC medalist in the event last year.

Ray, a junior from New Orleans, Louisiana, sprinted to a first-place finish in the 200 meters with a speedy time of 23.51. It’s her fastest clocking since she was an All-American in the event as a freshman and ranks her among the early NCAA leaders in the event for 2017.

Other highlights for the No. 13 Ole Miss men were hammer throwers Kevin Conway (4th, 60.87m/199-8.75) and Brian Williams (5th, 58.74m/192-8.75). Williams, a junior college transfer, enters the school record books at No. 6. Freshman Manny Foster placed runner-up in the long jump with a mark of 7.17m/23-6.25.

The 23rd-ranked women got a bunch of personal-best showings, including Katherine MacNeal’s runner-up in the 1500 meters with a time of 4:28.58 that moves her up to No. 5 in the school record books. Behind MacNeal in the 1500 meters was a trio of Rebels with PRs, including Maddie McHugh (4th, 4:33.70), Maddy Nikkel (6th, 4:34.13) and Haley Ward (9th, 4:38.16).

Deanna Tate finished fifth in the 200 meters with a personal-best 23.99, edging out teammates Nicole Henderson (24.08) and Breanna Tate (24.12).

Freshman Kendall Chavarria made her outdoor debut a strong one with fourth-place efforts in the hammer throw (48.47m/159-0.5) and javelin (34.45m/113-0.5). She enters the school record books at No. 9 in the hammer.

Sophomore Alex Enright achieved a big PR in the javelin with a mark of 41.30m/135-6.25 that moves her up to No. 9 in school history.

In the long jump, Lanae Newsome and Kaira Simmons placed 2-3 with distances of 5.88m/19-3.5 and 5.76m/18-10.75, respectively.

In total, there were 18 outdoor personal bests by Ole Miss athletes on day one of the 2017 season.

The second day of the Joe Walker Invitational will begin with multi-events at 9 a.m. CT. Highlights will include a strong field in the men’s 110-meter hurdles and men’s discus, as well as a world-class collection of women’s shot putters and invitational hammer throwers.

For more information on Ole Miss Track & Field, follow the Rebels on Twitter (@OleMissTrack), Facebook and Instagram.



200 Meters
17. Andrew Raspo – 21.92 (PR)
27. Nick DeRay – 22.18
28. Courtland Barnes – 22.25
46. Triston Blaney – 23.27 (PR)

1500 Meters
9. Robinson Snider – 3:57.92 (PR)
18. Dylan Day – 4:03.24 (PR)
41. Nolan Hesse – 4:13.65 (PR)

5000 Meters
Dylan Day – DNF
Robinson Snider – DNF

Pole Vault
Barclay Angle – NH
Austin Garrett – NH

Long Jump
2. Manny Foster – 7.17m/23-6.25

Hammer Throw
1. Dempsey McGuigan – 66.94m/219-7.75
4. Kevin Conway – 60.87m/199-8.75
5. Brian Williams – 58.74m/192-8.75 (PR)

Decathlon (thru 5 events)
4. Peyton Moss – 3,301 points


200 Meters
1. Shannon Ray – 23.51
5. Deanna Tate – 23.99 (PR)
6. Nicole Henderson – 24.08
7. Breanna Tate – 24.12
11. Mercedes Mattix – 24.64 (PR)
13. Jolie Carbo – 24.71 (PR)
17. Porsha Shirley – 24.95
20. Jasmin Allen – 25.10 (PR)
34. Aisha Newsome – 25.52 (PR)

1500 Meters
2. Katherine MacNeal – 4:28.58 (PR)
4. Maddie McHugh – 4:33.70 (PR)
6. Maddy Nikkel – 4:34.13 (PR)
9. Haley Ward – 4:38.16 (PR)
15. Tavyn Lovitt – 4:42.13
17. Elisabeth Gaillet – 4:44.97

Long Jump
2. Lanae Newsome – 5.88m/19-3.5
3. Kaira Simmons – 5.76m/18-10.75
10. Ralesheia Gee – 5.49m/18-0.25
20. Jayla Jones – 5.27m/17-3.5
24. D’Lacia McKinley – 5.16m/16-11.25

Hammer Throw
4. Kendall Chavarria – 48.47m/159-0.5 (PR)

2. Alex Enright – 41.30m/135-6.25 (PR)
4. Kendall Chavarria – 34.45m/113-0.5 (PR)

Heptathlon (thru 4 events)
5. Kieshonna Brooks – 2,789 points
11. Haley Hood – 2,326 points






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