Ole Miss Men Finish 14th at NCAA Outdoor Championships
Brian Williams
June 9, 2017


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EUGENE, Ore. - Ole Miss used a trio of top-four individual efforts Friday to finish tied for 14th in the men's team standings at the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Historic Hayward Field.

This caps a banner 2016-17 for the Ole Miss men's track & field and cross country program, adding to the Rebels' fourth-place national finish in cross country and 16th-place result at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

On a cool, windy and sometimes rainy evening in Track Town USA, the Rebels placed three men in the top four of their events for only the third time in program history. It previously occurred in 1993 and 2013. This year's 14th-place outdoor effort was the best since 2013 and fourth-best in Ole Miss history.

"I am pleased for the men to have a top-15 finish," head coach Connie Price-Smith said. "All NCAA points are hard to come by, and I think they all competed hard. Even if they didn't achieve the results they were after, I am very proud of them!"

Seniors Craig Engels and MJ Erb contested a pair of hard-fought races. Neither finished as high as he hoped, but they both made some history on their way to first team All-America status.

Engels, whose trademark mullet and mustache went viral on social media during the week, ran second or third for most of the 1500-meter final. He was second behind winner Josh Kerr of New Mexico coming down the home stretch before being clipped by Michigan State's Justine Kiprotich at the tape, clocking 3:43.54 for third place. That result is the best ever by an Ole Miss Rebel in the NCAA 1500 meters. Engels, from Pfafftown, North Carolina, was the top American finisher in the race.

Erb ran a superb 3000-meter steeplechase with a personal best of 8:32.38, finishing fourth in a very fast race. He remains second in school history behind 2007 NCAA champion Barnabas Kirui, who is the only Rebel to place better than Erb in the NCAA steeplechase.

Engels and Erb both improved on their performances at last year's NCAA meet, in which Engels was seventh in the 1500 meters and Erb finished eighth in the steeplechase. They will be awarded first team All-America status for the second straight year.

NCAA newcomer Brian Williams, who came in as the collegiate leader in the discus, placed fourth in his first NCAA meet. The junior college transfer spun a fifth-round attempt of 59.95m/196-8 for his best throw of the day. He also had at least one foul attempt that was around 200 feet.

Williams' fourth-place result is the best ever by a Rebel in the NCAA discus, surpassing former NFL offensive lineman Shawn Andrews' sixth place from 2003.

Florida won the men's team title in a two-point victory over Texas A&M. The SEC had eight of the top 10 men's team finishers and nine of the top 25.

Janeah Stewart will compete in the discus for the Rebel women Saturday. Ole Miss finds itself 10th in the women's team standings with nine points heading into the final day.

For more information on Ole Miss Track & Field, follow the Rebels on Twitter (@OleMissTrack), Facebook and Instagram.

FRIDAY AGATE

Men's 1500 Meter Final
3. Craig Engels - 3:43.54 (6 points)

Men's 3000-Meter Steeplechase Final
4. MJ Erb - 8:32.38 (PR) (5 points)

Men's Discus
4. Brian Williams - 59.95m/196-8 (5 points)


 

 

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