March 24, 2018
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LOS ANGELES – Ole Miss men’s and women’s track & field both led for a majority of the final day of the Trailblazer Challenge on Saturday, but both still ended up with very strong runner-up finishes to conclude an excellent open to the outdoor season for the Rebels in California this weekend.
The inaugural Trailblazer Challenge – conceived to highlight the five Power-5 schools with women in charge of both men’s and women’s track & field (Miami, Amy Deem; Ohio State, Karen Dennis; Ole Miss, Connie Price-Smith; Tennessee, Beth Alford-Sullivan; USC, Caryl Smith Gilbert) – used a slight deviation of the scoring system at 10-8-6-4-2-1 (rather than 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1), but that didn’t hamper the drama as the team races were fairly close into the final stages of the competition.
The No. 22 Rebel women were up 127-110 on No. 4 USC with just four events left to score, but the high-powered Trojans – who are coming off a top-10 national finish indoors – made that ground up fast for a close 148-141 win over Ole Miss. Despite losing out on the team title, today’s strong finish by the Rebel women registered above Ohio State (103), Miami (77) and No. 23 Tennessee (70) by meet’s end.
On the men’s side, the Rebels were in a tight battle with Ohio State with eight events to go, leading the Buckeyes, 67-62 at that point. It was a narrow fight right up until the end when Ohio State nabbed a huge 18-point gain from the pole vault alone. The Buckeyes ended up with a 152-113 win over the Rebel men, but Ole Miss got the better of No. 7 USC (102), who was coming off a national runner-up finish indoors. Tennessee (100) and Miami (46) rounded out the men’s team scores.
The Rebel women won three event titles on the day, which included an NCAA-leading time by junior Maddie McHugh to win the 800-meter. McHugh, a 2017 NCAA East Region qualifier in the 800-meter as a sophomore, was neck-and-neck with Miami’s Kayla Johnson for the entire race, with both running a 62 on the first lap and a 63 on their final go-round. It was the last 100 meters where McHugh showed some resilience, retaking the lead and staving Johnson off at the finish line by just under two-tenths of a second at 2:06.12 – currently the top time in the NCAA early this outdoor season.
Also scoring for Ole Miss in the 800 was senior Kat MacNeal, who took sixth at 2:10.65 – moving her to No. 14 all-time at Ole Miss while ranking No. 28 on the national list and 11th on the East Region list this year.
Ole Miss also claimed a pair of women’s titles in the field, with both being big sources of Rebel points. Senior Lindsey Murray claimed her first outdoor pole vault title of the season at 4.06m (13-03.75), which leads the SEC and ranks No. 2 in the East and No. 3 nationally at the moment. Ole Miss also claimed 10 additional points from runner-up Nicole Kallenberger (3.70m/12-01.50, T-27th East) and fifth-place finisher Katy McAuley (3.70m/12-01.50), T-27th East).
Alex Enright led a big run for the Rebel women in the javelin, winning at 36.33m (119-02). She was followed by Kieshonna Brooks in second (33.61m/110-03) and Haley Hood in fourth (22.07m/72-05).
Ole Miss received a big run of points in the women’s 3K, where the Rebels took spots two-through-five for 20 total points. Emily Bean nearly broke the school record in the non-standard event, finishing second at 9:45.69 (the record, set in 2012 by Logan Waites, is 9:45.54). Also scoring were Clio Ozanne-Jaques (third, 9:47.27), Nicole Rice (fourth, 9:49.90) and Victoria Simmons (fifth, 10:02.71).
The Rebel women’s sprinters had a stellar open to the outdoor season with several nationally-prominent finishes.
Senior Jolie Carbo, fresh off an indoor season where she became one of four Rebel women to ever run under 54 seconds, took second in her first outdoor 400 of the year at an outdoor PR of 52.87 – pushing her up to fifth all-time at Ole Miss at into a tie for third both nationally and in the East Region.
Carbo also ran a leg on the runner-up Rebel women’s 4x100-meter relay team, which ran 44.10 – the fourth-fastest time in school history. The relay consisted of Nicole Henderson, Alia Holmes, Carbo and Shannon Ray – with Henderson and Ray being the two returning members of the 2017 4x100-meter relay squad that qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Currently, today’s time ranks tied for fifth nationally and third in the East Region.
Shannon Ray had another breakout performance of her own in the 100-meter dash, running a wind-legal PR of 11.25 seconds (3.5 wind), putting her just one-hundredth of a second short of the all-time Ole Miss record of 11.24 (0.5) set by Teneeshia Jones in 2000. Currently, Ray leads the NCAA East Region and ranks third on the national list at that time.
Also scoring for the Rebel women was senior Janeah Stewart, who took runner-up honors in the shot put at 16.85m (55-03.50) – the second-best in the NCAA and the top throw in the East at the moment. Stewart scored 20 total points this weekend after finishing runner-up at a new school record in the hammer and fourth in the discus on Day One yesterday.
The Rebel men, meanwhile, received a very large number of points in the distance events, totaling 49 points across three events.
Senior Trevor Gilley, in his first race of the 2018 season, won the 1500-meter race at 3:47.44 – 13th-best in the NCAA and No. 10 in the East at the moment.
Gilley also paced the men’s 3K race, which paved the way for a school-record run by sophomore Parker Scott, who won at 8:25.62 – besting Bo Boatner’s 1993 time of 8:26.92. Ole Miss scored an incredible 25 points in the 3K alone, with Gilley (second, 8:27.02), Mark Robertson (third, 8:30.13), Robinson Snider (fourth, 8:30.29) and Ben Savino (sixth, 8:34.37) all scoring in a tight pack behind Scott.
Ole Miss claimed 14 alone from three freshmen in the 800-meter. Cade Bethmann was the runner-up at 1:51.00 (12th NCAA, sixth East), followed by Griffin Riley in fourth (1:51.52; 27th NCAA, 16th East) and John Rivera Jr. in sixth (1:53.34, 31st East).
The Rebel men’s jumpers claimed a significant number of points in their own right, taking 24 across three events.
Sophomore Manny Foster notched a solid outdoor opener with a runner-up finish in the long jump at 7.36m (24-01.75), putting him No. 34 in the NCAA and No. 18 in the East Region at the moment. Also scoring were Allen Gordon (fourth, 7.10m/23-03.50) and Fraquan Gaines (fifth, 7.10m/23-03.50).
Gordon was also the runner-up in the high jump, clearing the fifth-best height in Ole Miss history at 2.14m (7-00.25). Gordon had the same height as the winner, Earnie Sears of USC, but took second on total misses. He currently ranks No. 8 in the NCAA and No. 7 in the East early on this outdoor season, and he now ranks No. 5 both indoors and outdoors at Ole Miss.
Gaines, meanwhile, was the top finisher for Ole Miss in the triple jump, taking third at 14.73m (48-04.00) – 36th-best in the NCAA and No. 19 in the East. Foster also scored in fourth at 12.75m (41-10.00).
Just one day after setting the NCAA lead in the discus, senior All-American thrower Brian Williams broke a nine-year-old school record in the shot put this afternoon. Williams took third overall in the shot at 18.67m (61-03.00), a one-foot outdoor best that breaks the 2009 record of 18.51m (60-08.75) set by Derek McGuire. Williams currently ranks No. 7 nationally and fourth regionally.
Ole Miss now returns home to Oxford to host its first of two home meets this year, the Ole Miss Classic, next Saturday (March 31).
Women’s Team Scores:
1. #4 USC – 148
2. #22 Ole Miss – 141
3. Ohio State – 103
4. Miami – 77
5. #23 Tennessee – 70
Men’s Team Scores
1. Ohio State – 152
2. Ole Miss – 113
3. #7 USC – 102
4. Tennessee – 100
5. Miami – 46
OTHER REBEL SCORERS
Men’s 100-Meter Dash:
6. Andrew Raspo – 10.74
Men’s 400-Meter Hurdles:
3. Christian Yancey – 55.80
4. Maddie King – 4:32.43 – 14th all-time, 37th NCAA East
5. Ylva Traxler – 4:32.88 – 41st NCAA East
6. Lisa Vogelgesang – 4:35.79
Women’s 4x400-Meter Relay:
4. 3:40.38 – Jolie Carbo, Jasmin Allen, Aisha Newsome, Mercedes Mattix
Men’s 4x400-Meter Relay:
5. 3:17.12 – Alvin Westbrook, John Rivera Jr., Cade Bethmann, Griffin Riley (fastest since 2015)
Men’s Pole Vault:
5. Cole Colozzo – 4.91m (16-01.25) – Outdoor PR, T-8th all-time, T-26th NCAA East
6. Peyton Weissmann – 4.91m (16-01.25) – 8th all-time, T-26th NCAA East
Women’s Long Jump:
4. Kieshonna Brooks – 5.91m (19-04.75) – T-15th NCAA East
5. Kaira Simmons – 5.84m (19-02) – T-22nd NCAA East
Women’s Triple Jump:
5. Lanae Newsome – 12.08m (39-07.75) – 21st NCAA East
For more information on Ole Miss Track & Field and Cross Country, follow the Rebels on Twitter (@OleMissTrack), Facebook and Instagram.