Erb, Williams Win SEC Titles on Day Two in Columbia
May 12, 2017
Meet Central | Live Results | SECN+ Saturday
Between the No 12 men and No. 16 women, Ole Miss secured two SEC titles, two bronze medal efforts, two school records, two facility records, an NCAA-leading mark and five running event qualifiers on Friday alone.
After two days of competition, the women are third in the team standings with 27.5 points, while the men are tied for fourth with 31 points.
Erb has been on fire his entire senior season, and he put together perhaps the most dominant SEC performance of his career late Friday night. With two laps left in the steeplechase, the Farmington, New York, native put down the hammer and made it a race for second place behind him. He finished in a Cregger Track facility-record 8:48.07, almost seven seconds faster than the runner-up.
Erb is the first Ole Miss runner to win the SEC steeplechase since Martin Kirui in 2010.
After a few solid attempts but nothing close to his season best, Williams saved the big one for his fifth throw of the discus competition. The junior from Warren, Michigan, spun the disc a whopping 65.13 meters (213 feet, 8 inches) to better his own personal best and NCAA-leading mark from a couple weeks ago at the SEC Relays in Baton Rouge.
Some notes on Williams' big throw:
The Rebel women benefitted from a pair of bronze-medal performances on Friday.
In the steeplechase, junior Shelby Brown used an incredible closing kick to finish third and break her own school record with a time of 10:11.69. It's the best SEC steeplechase finish by an Ole Miss woman, and she moves up to 23rd in the country this season.
Junior Janeah Stewart won her second bronze in as many days with a third-place result in the shot put. Her mark of 16.52m/54-2.5 earned her six more points for the team after placing third in the hammer throw Thursday.
Sophomore Katy McAuley tied for eighth in the pole vault with a clearance at 3.87m/12-8.25 to score 0.5 point for the women.
The 1500-meter prelims went swimmingly for the Rebels on Friday, as all four men and the one woman who ran qualified through to Saturday's finals.
In the men's prelims, defending champion senior Craig Engels clocked the top time of 3:46.14. Juniors Ryan Manahan (3:50.90) and Derek Gutierrez (3:50.94) finished 1-2 in their heat to automatically advance. Freshman Parker Scott earned a spot in the 12-man final by running 3:48.54 and qualifying on time.
Junior Katherine MacNeal made her first SEC final by placing third in her 1500-meter heat with a personal-best time of 4:21.55 that ranks her No. 4 in school history.
In total, Ole Miss has seven qualifiers for tomorrow's running event finals. In addition to the 1500-meter qualifiers, Engels will run in the men's 800-meter final, and sophomore Maddie McHugh made the women's 800-meter final. Other Ole Miss events on the final day of the championships include women's javelin, women's discus, men's pole vault, women's high jump, women's triple jump, men's shot put, women's 4x100-meter relay, men's and women's 5000 meters, and women's 4x400-meter relay.
Saturday's competition will be streamed live on SEC Network+ beginning at 2:10 p.m. CT. The meet will also air as part of a two-hour show on ESPNU May 17 at 7 p.m. CT. The broadcast talent includes Dwight Stones, Larry Rawson, Jill Montgomery and John Anderson.
SEC Champion Quotes
MJ Erb, 3000-Meter Steeplechase
"Basically it went how we predicted it would. The whole idea was to stay out of trouble, be near the front and let it go as people wanted to push it. And then with 900 meters to go, put a hard lap in, close the door, and coast in.
"Senior year has been great so far. We had an idea of how it could go, and it's been pretty much according to plan. A few hiccups here and there. Didn't win cross, got second in the 3K indoors, but pretty much it's been according to plan. We knew the goals were pretty lofty at the beginning of the year, but we've been able to accomplish most of them."
Brian Williams, Discus
"It feels pretty good. It's my first one, first year in the SEC. I was glad to bring one home for coach and the folks back at Ole Miss. It was kind of a struggle today to get it, but I'm glad I figured it out when it mattered.
"The first few throws I was frustrated, because I felt really good but I wasn't hitting the positions quite right to produce a big throw. So I went back to coach (John Smith) and he would give me little tweaks between rounds. And then finally Coach Connie (Price-Smith) said some words to me, and I said, `If I'm going to find it, I'm going to find it now.' So I just turned my head off and went for it as hard as I could. I lined it up right and finally got a big one. It was a PR, so a pretty good day all around."
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