DES MOINES, Iowa - Ole Miss freshman Mary Alex England picked a good moment for her breakout performance.
Running in her first ever competitive 10,000-meter race Wednesday night, England won the event at the prestigious Drake Relays - and broke the school record for good measure.
"I'm extremely proud of Mary Alex and the way she competed tonight," Rebel head coach Brian O'Neal said. "From the start of the race, she put herself in a position to be competitive. She battled back and forth with (Ohio State's Michelle Thomas) and then had some kick left at the end. To come out in her first 10K and not only win the Drake Relays, but set the school record, is just a phenomenal night for her. It gives us a good start to our weekend."
The Cary, N.C., native crossed the finish line first in 34:48.66 to defeat a field of 26 runners. Her time broke the previous school record of 34:59.20 by more than 10 seconds.
She notched the fifth Drake Relays title in Ole Miss women's program history and the first since 2009. Other Rebels to win titles are Brittney Reese in the high jump and long jump in 2007, Reese in the long jump in 2008, and the sprint medley relay of LaJada Baldwin, Kristin Bridges, Britney Barnard and Sofie Persson in 2009.
It was actually the second straight weekend that a Rebel freshman has captured a school record in their first ever collegiate race at a particular distance. Sean Tobin broke the men's 1500-meter school record in such fashion at the Mt. SAC Relays.
Senior Kayleigh Skinner, whose record England surpassed, finished 11th in Wednesday night's race with a time of 36:01.56.
Senior Mary Ashton Nall competed in the first four events of the Drake Relays heptathlon on Wednesday, but she was unable to finish the competition on Thursday due to injury.
The Ole Miss women will continue competing at the 105th Drake Relays through Saturday. The No. 11 Rebel men will be at the A-State Red Wolves Open in Jonesboro, Ark., Friday and Saturday.
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