World, NCAA Leaders for Rebels in Outdoor Season Opener at Home
March 25, 2017
Day Two Photos | Day One Photos | Day One Recap
OXFORD, Miss. – Nothing could stop the Rebels on the opening weekend of the 2017 outdoor track & field season.
Despite predictions of 100 percent chance of rain and likely thunderstorms on Saturday, the weather held quiet all day, allowing Ole Miss to host the Joe Walker Invitational that saw some truly incredible performances.
“The rain held off and we were able to get the whole meet in,” Rebel head coach Connie Price-Smith said. “I was excited with the way it ran and all the help we had. I thought we had some really good performances both days.”
Highlighting the weekend were a pair of world-leading efforts, two NCAA leaders and three facility records.
After Friday’s world-leading and facility record men’s pole vault by Ole Miss alum and Rio Olympian Sam Kendricks (5.81m/19-0.75), fellow Olympian and current Rebel Raven Saunders took over the world lead and smashed the facility record in the women’s shot put (18.51m/60-9) on Saturday.
Fellow Olympian Gwen Berry, an Ole Miss volunteer assistant, broke her own facility record in the women’s hammer throw (71.94m/236-0) with the No. 4 mark in the world this year.
Ole Miss junior Brian Williams made his outdoor debut a strong one by winning the discus (60.35m/198-0) with the NCAA’s top mark of the season. He broke a school record that had stood since 2003.
On the weekend, current Ole Miss athletes combined for one world leader, two NCAA leaders, two school records, one facility record, 10 event titles and 30 outdoor personal bests. And that was without running the vast majority of the team’s standout distance men and women.
“During the meet, I’m not able to see everything that’s happening,” Price-Smith said. “To see at the end that we came away with that many personal bests is exciting and bodes well for the future of our team.”
Event titles went to the following Rebels:
Brian Williams – men’s discus – 60.35m/198-0 (School Record) (NCAA Lead)
Dempsey McGuigan – men’s hammer – 66.94m/219-7 (#4 NCAA)
Peyton Moss – men’s decathlon – 6,404 points
Raven Saunders – women’s shot put – 18.51m/60-9 (Facility Record) (World Lead)
Raven Saunders – women’s discus – 54.91m/180-2 (#7 NCAA)
Breanna Tate – women’s 100m – 11.93
Shannon Ray – women’s 200m – 23.51
Nicole Henderson, Shannon Ray, Deanna Tate, Breanna Tate – women’s 4x100m relay – 45.29
Lilli Williamson – women’s high jump – 1.65m/5-5
Callie Watson – women’s pole vault – 4.05m/13-3.5 (Personal Best)
Saunders and teammate Janeah Stewart pulled the rare feat of competing in all three throws on the same day, and came out incredibly well.
Stewart, last year’s national junior college field athlete of the year, achieved outdoor personal bests in all three events Saturday. That included a school record in the hammer throw (62.70m/205-8) that ranks her No. 7 in the NCAA this year, as well as a shot put of 16.38m/53-9 (#3 in school history, #6 in NCAA this year) and a discus of 54.17m/177-9 (#2 in school history, #9 in NCAA this year).
In addition to Saunders’ world lead in the shot put, her victory in the discus ranks her seventh in the NCAA this year.
“It was tough for them competing all three in one day, but they’re troopers and they competed and did very well,” Price-Smith said. “A lot of good marks came out of it. When it came to the shot put (last of the three events), they still had some left in them and were able to perform well.”
In the women’s pole vault, senior Callie Watson and freshman Sandra Brown both cleared 4.05m/13-3.5, which ranks them in a tie for 12th in the nation this season.
Next weekend, Ole Miss travels to Gainesville for the Pepsi Florida Relays, held Friday and Saturday.
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