April 21, 2018
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AZUSA, Calif. – Rebel senior and NCAA Champion Robert Domanic found himself within one of the fastest 1500-meter heats in NCAA history to lead an astonishingly fast day by the Rebel distance runners across two meets in the Los Angeles area at Azusa Pacific’s Bryan Clay Invite and the Mt. SAC Relays on Friday night.
While the remainder of the Rebel track & field squad was also in competition at Auburn’s War Eagle Invite on Friday, it was the distance runners who stole the spotlight with several impressive races among some of the fastest collegiate and professional athletes in the nation out in California.
Domanic, a member of the 2017 Ole Miss distance medley relay squad that won the NCAA title, was in the 15th and final heat of the men’s 1500-meter at the Bryan Clay Invite late Friday night – a heat that featured the defending NCAA 1500 champion (New Mexico’s Josh Kerr), and the reigning NCAA cross country champion as well (Syracuse’s Justyn Knight), among several other high-end performers.
Kerr ended up winning at a new NCAA record time of 3:35.01 – breaking the 37-year-old record of 3:35.30 set by Villanova’s Sydney Maree in 1981 – and Knight took second at 3:36.07 (seventh all-time in the NCAA). But it was Domanic right up there in the fold in third place at a new Ole Miss record time of 3:36.33, a four-second PR that now sits as the ninth-fastest time in NCAA history to give this heat alone three NCAA all-time top-10 times.
Domanic’s time topples Rebel great Craig Engels’ previous record of 3:37.66 from the 2016 Olympic Trials. Additionally, Domanic now ranks No. 2 in SEC history (trailing Arkansas’ Joe Falcon, who ran 3:35.84 in 1988).
Just minutes earlier, it was freshman Waleed Suliman stealing the show with yet another absurd display of athleticism in his first-career 1500-meter race. Just one week after running the fastest 800-meter time nationally by a freshman at 1:47.29, Suliman took fourth in his heat (and 14th overall) at 3:39.76 – the No. 3 time in school history, which ranked as No. 2 before Domanic’s heroics moments later.
Suliman’s time currently puts him No. 9 in the NCAA, No. 3 in the East Region (behind Knight and Domanic), and No. 2 in the SEC behind Domanic.
Domanic wasn’t the only Rebel to get in on the school record fun, as senior Shelby Brown completed her first steeplechase of the season in style, shattering her own record in the process.
Brown, a 2017 NCAA qualifier in the 3000-meter steeplechase, took fifth overall in the elite section of the steeple over at the Mt. SAC Relays, running an eight-second PR at 9:58.98 to put her at No. 5 in the NCAA, No. 2 in the East and atop the SEC list.
Freshman Lisa Vogelgesang impressed in the steeple as well, finishing 11th overall in her first-career attempt in the event at 10:22.93 – the third-fastest in Ole Miss history, which also ranks No. 31 in the NCAA, No. 19 in the East Region and third in the SEC.
It was also the first career steeple for senior Sean Tobin, finishing ninth in the men’s elite section at 8:53.09. After just one race in his career, Tobin finds himself No. 6 all-time at Ole Miss, as well as No. 22 in the NCAA and No. 4 in the East Region this season.
Youth and experience alike were successful in the final event of the evening for Ole Miss, the women’s open 5K race at Mt. SAC. Freshman Clio Ozanne-Jaques – an SEC All-Freshman runner indoors – ran an explosive time in the 5K, finishing third at 16:13.82 to launch herself all the way up to No. 2 all-time (behind Mary Alex England’s 2017 record of 16:10.93). Ozanne-Jaques sits at No. 24 on the NCAA list and No. 12 in the East Region.
Senior Emily Bean wasn’t far off, taking ninth place at now the third-fastest time in school history at an 11-second PR time of 16:19.70. Bean also now ranks No. 30 in the NCAA and No. 16 in the East Region.
Other notable distance finishes from out west this evening came from the women’s 1500-meter at Bryan Clay. Junior Maddie McHugh ran a season-best 4:21.61 to finish 25th, followed by senior Kat MacNeal in 35th at a season-best 4:24.14 and freshman Ylva Traxler in 61st at 4:27.91 – the ninth-fastest time in school history.
Over at Auburn, the Rebel hammer throwers had a successful outing to open competition at the War Eagle Invite.
In the women’s hammer, Ole Miss pushed three through to the final – including senior All-American Janeah Stewart, who finished as the top collegian in third place at 65.62m (215-03). Annika Larsson took eight at a season-best 57.18m (187-07), and freshman Shey Taiwo took ninth at a near season-best of 56.24m (184-06).
Ole Miss volunteer coaches Gwen Berry and Jessica Ramsey opened their professional competitive seasons in the hammer today. Berry – the American record holder in the hammer – won at 72.47m (237-09), the second-best in the United States this season. Ramsey was second at 66.32m (217-07), the No. 8 throw in the U.S. this year.
Grad transfer Cullen Prena led the way for the Rebel men in the hammer, finishing third at a two-foot season-best of 61.26m (201-00). Prena improves on his place at No. 5 in Ole Miss history with that throw today, while also moving up to No. 36 in the East Region.
With the distance runners finished out in California, the remainder of the Ole Miss track & field squad at Auburn returns to action at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday morning.
OTHER NOTABLE PERFORMANCES (WAR EAGLE INVITE):
Women’s 1500-Meter Invite:
6. Maddy Nikkel – 4:40.31
7. Anna Elkin – 4:42.10
14. Chelsea Drum – 4:47.51
Men’s 1500-Meter Invite:
4. Griffin Riley – 3:53.69
Men’s 5K Invite:
8. Taylor Caldwell – 14:47.75
14. Nolan Hesse – 15:14.07
Women’s Triple Jump:
9. Lanae Newsome – 12.33m (40-05.50)
Men’s Triple Jump:
6. Fraquan Gaines – 14.80m (48-06.75) – SB
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