May 26, 2018
Final Results | Day Two Recap | Day One Recap | Preview & Links
TAMPA, Fla. – Ole Miss track & field finished strong at the NCAA East Regional, punching four more tickets to the national meet following a wet final day of action on Saturday.
Senior All-American Janeah Stewart wasn’t messing around in the hammer early Saturday morning before the rain set in, leaving no doubt in the ring and winning her second regional title of the weekend – this time by three meters.
Stewart – who qualified for nationals after winning the shot put on Thursday evening – took the lead early on with a toss of 65.18m (213-10), but she launched a long foul just right of the sector line on her second try. On her third she didn’t miss, uncorking a new East Regional meet and school record toss of 68.36m (224-03) – breaking her own record of 67.70m (222-01) from earlier this season by more than two feet. Stewart was the only one in competition to have multiple throws measure beyond 213 feet.
Sophomore Kendall Chavarria also competed in the hammer on Saturday, finishing 38th at 55.67m (182-07) in her first-career regional meet.
The Rebel women’s 4x100-meter relay kept their streak of success alive and well following a thrilling run toward an automatic qualifier spot to Eugene in Heat One of the quarterfinals on Saturday. With clean handoffs all around from Jeanette Paul, Nicole Henderson, Jolie Carbo and Shannon Ray, it was Ray who found an extra gear down the final 100 meters as the anchor, edging out South Carolina at the line by less than a tenth of a second for the third and final AQ spot in the heat at a season-best 43.94.
That time ranks as the fourth-best in Ole Miss history, the sixth top-15 time the Rebel women have run this year. Today’s performance makes it four straight seasons now that the women’s 4x100-meter relay has qualified for the national meet.
Ole Miss also ran a 4x400-meter relay at the East Regional for the fourth-straight year, with the quartet of Carbo, Jasmin Allen, Aisha Newsome and Mercedes Mattix finishing 22nd at 3:39.68 – the second-fastest time this year by the Rebel women.
Just after the 4x100, the heavens opened up in Tampa and a torrential downpour ensued for the quarterfinals of the men’s 1500-meter. A trio of Rebel men – Everett Smulders, Trevor Gilley and Waleed Suliman – were up first in the first heat, just as the rain was picking up momentum. It was a highly tactical race, with Suliman in the lead through the first 300 meters, and Gilley and Smulders not far behind, but as the pace quickened down the stretch it was Smulders who found himself still within range to kick and try to snag one of the five auto-qualifier spots. Smulders ran a 55.09 on his final lap and took that fifth and final spot by a half-second at a new PR of 3:44.06 – the seventh-best time in Ole Miss history that helped punch his first ticket to the national meet as a Rebel.
Gilley ended up falling heartbreakingly short as the first one out, finishing eighth overall at 3:45.00 – which fell just nine hundredths shy of the final time qualifier spot. Suliman was 12th overall at 3:46.38, concluding a stellar freshman season.
In Heat Two, senior NCAA Champion Robert Domanic had the pleasure of running in a full-blown monsoon, but that didn’t stop him from winning the heat at 3:50.70 and earning a chance to compete for a national title. Domanic owns the top time in the United States this year and the ninth-fastest time in NCAA history at 3:36.33, which came in the same heat as the collegiate record holder and defending NCAA champion, Josh Kerr of New Mexico, who ran 3:35.01 at the Bryan Clay Invite back in April.
Other Rebels in competition included Clio Ozanne-Jaques (19th, 16:34.95) and Emily Bean (35th, 16:59.86) in the 5K, Brian Williams in the shot put (22nd, 18.24m/59-10.25) and Allen Gordon in the high jump (T-36th, 2.01m/6-07.00).
All told, Ole Miss exits the regional meet with 12 student-athletes and 10 total entries into the NCAA Outdoor Championships – the third-straight year under head coach Connie Price-Smith in which the Rebels have tallied 10 entries qualified for the national meet.
Competition runs from June 6-9 out at the University of Oregon, the final NCAA Championship meet at historic Hayward Field before renovations begin for the 2021 IAAF World Championships. Coverage will be carried live on the ESPN family of networks.
Ole Miss National Qualifiers (12 athletes, 10 entries):
Shelby Brown – Women’s 3000-Meter Steeplechase
Jolie Carbo – Women’s 4x100-Meter Relay
Robert Domanic – Men’s 1500-Meter
Nicole Henderson – Women’s 4x100-Meter Relay
Lindsey Murray – Women’s Pole Vault
Jeanette Paul – Women’s 4x100-Meter Relay
Cullen Prena – Men’s Discus
Shannon Ray – Women’s 4x100-Meter Relay
Parker Scott – Men’s 3000-Meter Steeplechase
Everett Smulders – Men’s 1500-Meter
Janeah Stewart – Women’s Hammer
Janeah Stewart – Women’s Shot Put
Brian Williams – Men’s Discus
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