Saunders, Vanhoy Earn USTFCCCA Regional Awards
Raven Saunders (photo by Petre Thomas)
March 4, 2016

OXFORD, Miss. – Thanks to record-breaking accomplishments during the 2016 indoor season, Ole Miss sophomore thrower Raven Saunders and assistant coach Ryan Vanhoy received regional awards from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Friday.

Saunders has been named the South Region Women’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Year, while Vanhoy has been tabbed the South Region Men’s Indoor Assistant Coach of the Year.

A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Saunders has produced the greatest indoor shot put season in NCAA history after she was a two-time NCAA shot put champ as a freshman last year at Southern Illinois University.

Saunders set the NCAA shot put record at the Iowa State Classic (19.23m/63-1.25), the best throw ever by an NCAA woman indoor or outdoor. She has the best 12 shot puts in the nation this year, including 11 over 18 meters and two over 19 meters. Last week, she became the first Ole Miss athlete to win an SEC indoor shot put title.

Saunders is a two-time USTFCCCA Women’s National Athlete of the Week and four-time SEC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week in 2016.

Vanhoy’s men’s distance runners scored 75 of the Rebels’ school-record 80.5 points that earned them a third-place finish at the SEC indoor meet, tied for the best finish in school history (1983, 1984). Ole Miss swept the SEC men’s distance races – mile, 3000m, 5000m, distance medley relay – joining Arkansas as the only programs to ever do that. The Rebels went 1-2-3 in the 3000m and 1-2-3-5 in the mile.

Vanhoy’s tutelage helped Ryan Walling, a UNC transfer, win SEC titles in both the 3K and 5K. His school-record time of 13:39.44 in the 5K ranks him fifth in the nation this year. The Rebels have broken school records in the 3K, 5K and DMR this year. The DMR squad is ready for its first NCAA berth since 1985.


 

 

Vanhoy was the 2015 South Region Men’s Outdoor Assistant Coach of the Year as well.

Saunders joins a long list of Ole Miss athletes who have garnered USTFCCCA regional athlete of the year awards: Brittney Reese (2007 women’s indoor field, 2008 women’s indoor field, 2008 women’s outdoor field), John Yarbrough (2007 men’s outdoor track), Ricky Robertson (2012 men’s outdoor field, 2014 men’s outdoor field) and Isiah Young (2013 men’s outdoor track).

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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