Outdoor Track And Field Season Begins This Weekend

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Lee Ellis Moore
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Lee Ellis Moore
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

March 18, 2011

OXFORD, Miss. - Coming off an outstanding performance at the NCAA Indoor Championships, the Ole Miss track and field team sprints into the outdoor season with this weekend's Rhodes College Open Meet in Memphis.

The outdoor season begins with the Rhodes Open Meet on Saturday and will run through the June 8-11 NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Ole Miss will host two meets - the Ole Miss Invitational on April 9 and the Mississippi Open April 23-24.

The Ole Miss men finished 11th in the nation at last weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships, while the women tied for 23rd. Five Rebel athletes were named All-Americans. First-team selections were Mike Granger and Ricky Robertson from the men's side and Sofie Persson and Juliana Smith from the women. Caleb Lee was a second-team All-America honoree.

Granger and Robertson both finished as the national runner-up in the 60 meters and high jump, respectively. Persson was third in the 800 meters and Smith finished fifth in the weight throw.

The men's team finish was its highest at the NCAA Indoors since placing 10th in 2001, and it was the women's highest finish since placing 13th in 2008.

"We are excited with the way we ended our indoor season and just as excited to be getting into outdoor track," said head coach Joe Walker, who is in his 29th season at the helm of the Rebel program. "The weather is good and we will hopefully build each week outdoor and finish just as strong as we did indoor. The outdoor season also allows us to host two home meets and gives our parents, friends and local fans a chance to see our team in action."

Some key Rebels to pay attention to in the outdoor season, in addition to the Indoor All-Americans, include returning All-American sprinter/hurdler Lee Ellis Moore, 3000-meter steeplechase SEC Champion Martin Kirui and senior sprinter Jonathan Juin on the men's side.

Women to watch include returning All-American sprinter LaJada Baldwin, returning SEC All-Freshman team members Brittany Bozeman (long jump), Jazmin Miller (hammer throw) and Neal Tisher (pole vault), 2011 SEC Indoor Freshman Field Athlete of the Year Fabia McDonald (multi-events) and senior thrower Betty Williams.

For the first time in several years, Ole Miss will compete in the outdoor season without decorated long-distance runner Barnabas Kirui, who finished his eligibility with the most recent cross country season. Kirui was the 2010 SEC Outdoor Runner of the Year after winning the SEC Commissioner's Trophy with his top-three finishes in all three distance events at the league championships. He was also a three-time SEC Cross Country Champion. The Rebels also lost 2010 All-American Colin Moleton (javelin) to graduation.

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