June 9, 2018
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EUGENE, Ore. – Seniors Brian Williams and Robert Domanic ended their illustrious Rebel track & field careers with First-Team All-American finishes, concluding the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships for Ole Miss on Friday.
The duo combined for 11 total points, placing the Rebel men 26th in the final team standings. No. 3 Georgia won its first-ever team title, besting No. 1 Florida, 52-42.
It was a wet and cold day at Hayward Field, but the Rebels still managed to compete well despite the conditions. Williams, by-and-far the best discus thrower in school history, recorded the best national finish in the event ever at Ole Miss in third place at 58.62m (192-04). Williams finished fourth in the event a year ago for First-Team honors, giving him the top two discus finishes in school history out of just three total – the other being Stacy Andrews’ sixth-place finish in 2003.
“I’m sure it wasn’t what he wanted to do, but finishing third is still a great feat when you come in here to nationals and your nerves are high and the weather wasn’t ideal,” said Ole Miss head coach Connie Price-Smith. “I’m still proud of him and glad that I got to have him on my team for two years. He’s definitely made a big impact onto the program.”
Williams leaves Ole Miss with two All-American honors and 11 career points scored at the national meet, in addition to two SEC titles, 38 total SEC points scored and three school records in the discus and both the indoor and outdoor shot put.
Senior Robert Domanic faced a tough final field in the men’s 1500-meter, which included the collegiate record holder, Josh Kerr of New Mexico. But Domanic, who is no slouch either with the best time in the United States this year and the ninth-best in NCAA history at 3:36.33, was part of a highly-competitive race today that came down to the last 200 meters.
At the bell, Domanic made a gutsy move on the outside, edging his way into the lead with 200 to go at the Bowerman Curve. But the entire field was also kicking it into overdrive, and a 53.01 last 400 from Wisconsin’s Oliver Hoare down the final straightaway pushed him to the NCAA title and relegated Domanic to fourth place for his second-career First-Team finish in the event.
“He did make a gutsy move on the backstretch going down in the final lap,” Price-Smith said. “He finished fourth, but I’m still proud of him and it was a good meet. It wasn’t what he wanted to do, but just to come in here and walk away with a fourth-place finish is always a good thing.”
Domanic, who ran 3:45.47, recorded the second-highest national finish in the 1500 ever by a Rebel. Ole Miss has only ever had four First-Team finishes in the 1500, and all four have come in the last three years with two apiece from Craig Engels (seventh, 2016; third, 2017) and Domanic (sixth, 2016; fourth, 2018). With a bright professional career looming, Domanic leaves as one of the best to ever wear an Ole Miss uniform with multiple All-American honors, a national team podium finish in cross country in 2016 and a 2017 NCAA title indoors in the distance medley relay.
“He has done a great job since I’ve been here, and he’s one that is a leader that works really hard and makes sure that he does things off the field, as well as on the field, to be the best that he can be,” Price-Smith said. “He’s definitely going to be missed, and I think he’s going to have a great future in racing for a long time in track and field. He’s just been really fun to have around. He’s one that has always been really respectful, but has always worked really hard and is very dedicated in what he does.”
Graduate transfer Cullen Prena also wrapped up his brief but successful career as a Rebel on Friday, taking 21st in the discus at 51.47m (168-10). In just one year at Ole Miss, Prena pushed himself to third all-time in both the discus and hammer.
Today’s success adds onto a historic day by Janeah Stewart on Thursday, who took the track world by surprise with a 15-foot PR in the hammer to win the 18th NCAA title in Ole Miss history. Stewart singlehandedly scored 14 points for the Rebels following her fifth-place finish in the shot put hours later, which at the moment puts Ole Miss in a tie with No. 1 Georgia for third place with one full day of competition remaining.
“It was fun to watch, and I was extremely happy for her because she’s been in this situation where she’s had chances to win before and something’s happened, so I was really proud that she came away with a win,” Price-Smith said. “It meant a lot for me to see that happen, she’s meant a lot to this program.”
Today’s competition wraps up the 2018 collegiate season for Ole Miss, which included five First-Team All-Americans, the highest SEC outdoor finish in women’s program history and now 25 total NCAA points from just three Rebel athletes.
“I’m really pleased with the way the season went,” Price-Smith said. “There were ups and downs, but when you sit down and look at it all, we had a good SEC meet, we had a good regional meet, and then we came out here with a handful of athletes and scored 25 points. It’s hard to get points here, they don’t come easy. I was told once that you’ve got to get points so that people know you’re here, or basically you’re non-existent. They came out here and did that.”
While the NCAA season may be over, the track & field season is just heating up. Several Rebels will compete at both the U.S. Junior and Senior Championships in the coming weeks, with the potential for more to compete in the IAAF World Junior Championships later this summer as well.
Brian Williams – First-Team, Discus (3rd Place)
Robert Domanic – First-Team, 1500-Meter (4th Place)
Parker Scott – Honorable Mention, 3000-Meter Steeplechase (17th Place)
Cullen Prena – Honorable Mention, Discus (21st Place)
Everett Smulders – Honorable Mention, 1500-Meter (22nd Place)
Janeah Stewart – NCAA Champion, Hammer
Janeah Stewart – First-Team, Shot Put (5th Place)
Shelby Brown – Second-Team, 3000-Meter Steeplechase (15th Place)
Jolie Carbo – Second-Team, 4x100-Meter Relay (15th Place)
Nicole Henderson – Second-Team, 4x100-Meter Relay (15th Place)
Jeanette Paul – Second-Team, 4x100-Meter Relay (15th Place)
Shannon Ray – Second-Team, 4x100-Meter Relay (15th Place)
Lindsey Murray – Second-Team, Pole Vault (T-16th Place)
For more information on Ole Miss Track & Field and Cross Country, follow the Rebels on Twitter (@OleMissTrack), Facebook and Instagram.