Ole Miss Claims Four SEC Titles at Outdoor Championships
May 13, 2017
Complete Results | Day One Recap | Day Two Recap
The No. 12 nationally ranked Rebel men placed sixth in the final standings (67 points), while the 16th-ranked women finished eighth (47.5 points). It's the most points the men have scored at the meet since 2014 and the most for the women since 2012.
No. 1 Texas A&M won the men's team title, while No. 5 Arkansas took the women's title. All of the men's and women's teams that finished top eight at the meet are ranked top 25 in the country.
Over the course of three days, head coach Connie Price-Smith's Rebels combined to collect four league titles, four facility records, three school records, an NCAA leader and an SEC Commissioner's Trophy recipient.
After MJ Erb and Brian Williams were crowned SEC champions in the steeplechase and discus Friday, Ole Miss added two more titles Saturday. Craig Engels successfully defended his title in the 1500 meters, while Erb came back in less than 24 hours and dominated the 5000 meters for the win.
The four SEC titles are the most by an Ole Miss men's team since 2007.
A senior from Pfafftown, North Carolina, Engels concluded his SEC career in spectacular fashion, winning the 1500 meters and placing third in the 800 meters just an hour and fifteen minutes later Saturday afternoon.
In a light rain, Engels out-kicked the field for a time of 3:52.90 in the 1500 to become the first back-to-back Ole Miss champion in a running event since Isiah Young won the 200 in 2012 and 2013. Junior Ryan Manahan finished fourth in 3:54.14 to earn five more team points, while junior Derek Gutierrez nabbed a point with an eighth-place effort in 3:55.49. Freshman Parker Scott was 11th (3:57.82) in his first SEC final.
In his prelim run of the 1500 meters Friday, Engels set a facility record with his time of 3:46.14.
After Saturday's 1500 final, Engels came right back out to win bronze in an elite field of 800-meter runners. His run of 1:46.93 was a season best and the third-best time of his All-American career.
Erb put together his second straight dominant performance, leaving the field of 5000-meters in his dust after he jetted away from everyone with 1000 meters to go. The Farmington, New York, native crossed in a facility record and personal-best 13:47.64, which ranks him No. 3 in school history. Arkansas' Alex George was runner-up in 13:53.83.
Erb's senior season now includes a third-place finish in the SEC cross country meet, sixth place in the NCAA cross country meet, an SEC indoor 5000-meter title, SEC indoor 3000 runner-up, seventh place in the 5000 at NCAA indoors, and SEC outdoor titles in the steeplechase and 5000.
Williams scored points in his second event of the weekend with a sixth-place finish in the shot put on his mark of 17.94m/58-10.25. He won his first SEC title in the discus Friday with an NCAA-leading, school-record effort to dominate the rest of the field.
Senior Barclay Angle added a team points with his eighth-place finish in the pole vault (4.92m/16-1.75) for the second straight year.
In her first SEC outdoor meet, Janeah Stewart proved she belongs among the best in the conference and the country with her performances all weekend en route to the SEC Commissioner's Trophy for most points scored by an individual (male and female). After bronze medals in the hammer throw Thursday and shot put Friday, Stewart was runner-up in the discus Saturday with a throw of 54.57m/179-0 to bring her point total to 20. The men's commissioner trophy winner was Tennessee sprinter Christian Coleman, whose 20.5 points edged out Erb and Georgia thrower Denzel Comenentia.
Stewart joins a long line of Rebels to win the SEC Commissioner's Trophy or its indoor equivalent, the Cliff Harper Trophy. That list includes Raven Saunders (2016 women's outdoor), Ryan Walling (2016 men's indoor), Ricky Robertson (2014 men's outdoor and 2012 men's indoor), Isiah Young (2013 men's outdoor), Barnabas Kirui (2010 and 2007 men's outdoor), Brittney Reese (2008 women's indoor and outdoor) and Tony Dees (1984 men's indoor).
Three more individuals scored for the 16th-ranked Ole Miss women Saturday.
In her final SEC meet, senior Mary Alex England used a late surge to finish third in the 5000 meters with a personal-best 16:10.93, breaking her own school record from a few weeks back. England also placed fifth in Thursday's 10,000 meters, a flourishing final conference meet for the former walk-on.
Junior Shelby Brown added a point with an eighth-place result in the 5000 meters, clocking a personal-best 16:20.97 for No. 2 in school history behind England. Brown earned a bronze medal and set a school record in the steeplechase Friday night, less than 24 hours earlier.
In the 800 meters, sophomore Maddie McHugh followed up her third-place SEC indoor result with a fifth-place finish outdoors in 2:06.17.
Ole Miss will send a large group of qualifying athletes to the NCAA East Preliminary (May 25-27 in Lexington, Ky.) in hopes of advancing to the NCAA Outdoor Championships (June 7-10 in Eugene, Ore.).
For more information on Ole Miss Track & Field, follow the Rebels on Twitter (@OleMissTrack), Facebook and Instagram.
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