Track & Field Carries Momentum to Notre Dame
Feb. 4, 2016



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OXFORD, Miss. – First-year head coach Connie Price-Smith will take her rapidly improving Ole Miss track & field teams northward this weekend for the two-day Meyo Invitational, hosted by the University of Notre Dame.

The Friday and Saturday meet will feature a large field of college teams, including nationally ranked women’s squads in No. 16 Michigan, No. 22 Michigan State and No. 24 Notre Dame. Other schools slated to compete against the Rebels in the Big Ten-heavy affair include Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Louisville, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

Friday’s action gets underway at 3 p.m. CT, while Saturday’s events begin at 8:45 a.m. CT and will run throughout the day.

“We are looking forward to competing this weekend at Norte Dame,” said Price-Smith, who is just six months away from taking the Team USA women down to Brazil as their head coach at the Rio Olympics. “It is always nice to compete in different locations and against different teams. Not all of our athletes are competing this weekend, but I am looking for the team to have another good showing.”

Ole Miss has seen dramatic improvements throughout its teams over the last two weekends, including 30 indoor personal bests at the Jan. 22-23 Conference Clash in Birmingham, Alabama, and another 35 indoor personal bests at the Jan. 29-30 Vanderbilt Invitational in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Rebel women, who rank just outside the national top 25 this week, have been led in 2016 by sophomore Raven Saunders’ eye-popping throws. The reigning USTFCCCA Women’s National Athlete of the Week and three-time SEC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week is No. 1 in the world with an Ole Miss and SEC record shot put of 18.98m/62-3.25 from Nashville. She ranks No. 3 on the all-time collegiate performers list with the fifth-farthest throw ever by a collegian (and the farthest ever in the month of January). She also threw a career-best 20.22m/66-4.25 in the weight throw at Vanderbilt to move to No. 16 in the country and No. 2 in school history in that event.

Ole Miss has established school records in a total of six events so far this season. In addition to Saunders in the shot put, new records include the men’s distance medley relay (Robert Domanic, Ryan Manahan, Craig Engels, Sean Tobin - 9:30.48), Ryan Walling in the men’s 3,000 meters (8:00.50), the women’s distance medley relay (Britt Ummels, Jolie Carbo, Leanne Zimmer, Shelby Brown - 11:28.27), Bo Ummels in the women’s mile (4:47.10) and Lindsey Murray in the women’s pole vault (4.29m/14-0.75).

Rebels who rank top 10 in the NCAA this year in their events include Saunders in the women’s shot put (1st), the men’s distance medley relay (4th), Manahan in the 800 meters (5th – 1:47.37), Engels in the 800 meters (10th – 1:47.75) and Murray in the women’s pole vault (9th).

Ole Miss will compete without several of its top distance runners this weekend. A few other top performers in other event areas will take the meet off as well.

Notables:

  • Sophomore Raven Saunders is the reigning USTFCCCA Women’s National Athlete of the Week and SEC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week after her record-setting performance in the shot put at the Vanderbilt Invitational.
  • Saunders is the first athlete in program history to earn a national weekly award and the first to garner three straight SEC Athlete of the Week honors.
  • With a personal-best shot put of 18.98m/62-3.25, she owns the world lead and moved to No. 3 on the all-time collegiate performers list with the fifth-farthest throw ever by a collegian (and the farthest ever in the month of January). She broke her own Ole Miss and SEC records, while also establishing new meet and facility records.
  • Saunders now has three of the four best shot puts in the world this season. In four meets as a Rebel, she has set the school’s shot put record three times and broken a facility record at all three meet locations.
  • Saunders has topped 18 meters eight times this season. No one else in the NCAA has done it once in 2016.
  • Saunders also threw a career-best 20.22m/66-4.25 in the weight throw in Nashville to move to No. 16 in the country and No. 2 in school history in that event.
  • Ole Miss broke four other school records last week: Robert Domanic, Ryan Manahan, Craig Engels and Sean Tobin in the men’s distance medley relay (9:30.48), Ryan Walling in the men’s 3000m (8:00.50), Bo Ummels in the women’s mile (4:47.10) and Lindsey Murray in the women’s pole vault (4.29m/14-0.75).
  • The men’s DMR placed fourth at the Penn State National, which is also the fourth-best time in the NCAA this year. They broke the 31-year-old school record by eight seconds.
  • Ole Miss boasts three of the top 30 men’s milers and three of the top 35 men’s 800m runners in the NCAA this year.
  • Murray is the first Ole Miss woman to ever clear 14 feet in the pole vault, indoors or outdoors.
  • The women’s distance medley relay squad of Britt Ummels, Jolie Carbo, Leanne Zimmer and Shelby Brown broke the school record two weeks ago in Birmingham. Their time of 11:28.27 ranks 16th in the NCAA.

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


 

 

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