June 7, 2018
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EUGENE, Ore. – Ole Miss senior Janeah Stewart was on nobody’s radar to win the national title in the women’s hammer throw. A powerful 15-foot career-best rewrote that narrative, putting her atop the podium with an NCAA title in hand at a spectacular second day at the national meet at historic Hayward Field on Thursday.
Stewart, already a four-time First-Team All-American in just two seasons at Ole Miss entering today, unleashed a tremendous winning throw of 72.92m (239-03) on her second attempt of the day, making her the fourth-best collegian all-time in the event with the 10th-best throw ever recorded. Today’s championship performance also puts her at No. 4 in the United States and No. 8 worldwide this season, while also making her the No. 10 all-time American-born hammer thrower.
The throw demolished her previous school record of 68.36m (224-03), which was a new personal best that punched her ticket to Eugene and won her the East Region title two weeks ago.
“I just told myself ‘do what you do in practice, and just have a nice, easy throw,’ and it came out to be my best throw that was good enough to win the meet,” Stewart said.
Today’s competition wasn’t without drama, though. Despite breaking her own school record on her first (68.72m/225-05), second (72.92m/239-03) and third (71.12m/233-04) attempts, Stewart was still in a tense back-and-forth with Northern Arizona’s Brooke Andersen, who entered with the top PR in the field at 74.20m (243-05). Andersen responded to Stewart’s second attempt with her third-round throw of 72.87m (239-01), which set up a stressful final but fell just two inches shy of Stewart by competition’s end.
The writing was on the wall for those paying very close attention to the women’s hammer at the East Regional. Stewart fouled a 70-meter throw on her second attempt there, showing that she has been in shape to find the big one. However, today’s monstrous accomplishment caught her off-guard a bit.
“If you would have told me three, even two years ago that I would throw 72, almost 73 meters, I would have told you that you’re lying to my face,” Stewart said. “It’s amazing that I’ve accomplished this much so far.”
With her performance today, Stewart becomes just the third Rebel woman to ever win an NCAA title, the fifth Ole Miss women’s national title after Olympians Brittney Reese (2008 indoor long jump, 2008 outdoor long jump) and Raven Saunders (2016 outdoor shot put, 2017 indoor shot put) won two titles apiece during their Rebel careers. Across men’s and women’s competition, her title today constitutes the 18th NCAA track title while making her the 21st overall champion.
Her day wasn’t done there, however, as she had to get ready for the women’s shot put final just hours later. Stewart clawed her way into the final, finding the strength to move from 10th to third on her final prelim throw at 17.34m (56-10.75). That throw wound up as her best on the day, earning her fifth place in the shot put for the second consecutive season for her sixth career First-Team All-American award.
Stewart scored 14 points by herself today, putting the No. 25 Rebel women in a tie with No. 1 Georgia following the first day of women’s competition. Singlehandedly, Stewart gave Ole Miss it’s most women’s points at the outdoor national meet ever (tied with the 2008 team’s 14 points).
Today’s heroics mark the close of an astounding Ole Miss career for Stewart, who leaves with an NCAA title, six First-Team All-American honors, 25 total NCAA points, three SEC titles, 10 SEC medals, 80 SEC points and spots on the all-time NCAA top-10 lists in both the hammer outdoors (No. 4) and weight throw indoors (No. 5).
Ole Miss also had a handful of other competitors earn Second-Team All-American status on Thursday. The women’s 4x100-meter relay of Nicole Henderson, Jeanette Paul, Jolie Carbo and Shannon Ray finished 15th overall at 44.48 – the fourth-straight appearance by the Rebel women in the 4x100 at the national meet. Today’s race unfortunately marks the end of the road for seniors Carbo, Henderson and Ray, who have their names littered across the Ole Miss record book.
Senior Shelby Brown concluded her outdoor career as a Rebel with a 15th-place finish in the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase finals for Second-Team All-American honors, running 10:02.16 to finish eighth in her heat. Today’s steeplechase races constituted the fastest prelims in NCAA history, as all time qualifier positions were under the 10-minute mark. Brown’s career-best entering was 9:58.98, but the final time qualifier spot was even faster at 9:57.72. Brown still has an indoor season of eligibility remaining.
Redshirt junior pole vaulter Lindsey Murray returned to Hayward after missing the 2017 season due to injury, and she leaves with Second-Team All-American status after finishing tied for 16th today at 4.15m (13-07.25). Murray has no more indoor eligibility remaining, but she does have one final outdoor year left.
Ole Miss will wrap up its stay at the national meet with three Rebel men in finals competition on Friday: Cullen Prena and Brian Williams in the discus finals (7:05 p.m. CT), and Robert Domanic in the men’s 1500-meter final (7:42 p.m. CT). Fans can watch live on the ESPN family of networks.
Janeah Stewart’s Hammer Field Series:
1. 68.72m (225-05) – PR, Ole Miss record
2. 72.92m (239-03) – PR, Ole Miss record, No. 4 NCAA all-time, No. 10 U.S. all-time
3. 71.12m (233-04)
6. 68.09m (223-04)
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