April 5, 2018
ATHENS, Ga. – Fresh off a beautiful weekend at home for the Ole Miss Classic, the Rebel men’s and women’s track & field teams head to Georgia for the Spec Towns Invite on Friday and Saturday.
• This weekend’s meet is named after former Georgia coach Forrest “Spec” Towns, who was the 1936 Olympic Champion in the 110-meter hurdles, as well as the world record holder in the event during his career.
• Alongside Ole Miss and Georgia, the team invitational includes: Arkansas State, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.
• Of those teams, the following are ranked in the national top-25 on the men’s side: No. 7 Georgia, No. 14 Nebraska, No. 16 South Carolina. Ranked women’s teams alongside the No. 22 Rebels are: No. 6 Kentucky, No. 9 Georgia and No. 22 Nebraska.
• The Ole Miss women moved up to No. 20 nationally in the latest USTFCCCA National Computer Rankings, up from No. 22 in the Preseason Rankings. The Rebel men sit in the top-50 at No. 40.
• The Rebel women have ranked in the top-25 for 12 straight outdoor rankings releases dating back to Connie Price-Smith’s first season at Ole Miss in 2016. In her three seasons, the Rebel women have been ranked in 15 of the 22 outdoor rankings releases.
• No. 22 was the highest preseason national ranking outdoors for the Rebel women since the USTFCCCA began the national rankings in 2008. Ole Miss opened the indoor season ranked No. 8 nationally. The Rebel women also rank No. 15 in the USTFCCCA Program of the Year standings following the indoor season.
• Ole Miss is coming off a strong home weekend where the Rebels claimed nine event titles at the Ole Miss Classic -- including six on the women’s side and two alone from senior All-American Janeah Stewart, who tripled for the second-straight weekend.
• The Rebels opened the season with two narrow scored team battles at the inaugural Trailblazer Challenge in Los Angeles on March 23-24, which featured the five Power-5 schools that have women in charge of combined men’s and women’s track & field programs: Miami (Amy Deem), Ohio State (Karen Dennis), Tennessee (Beth Alford-Sullivan), USC (Caryl Smith Gilbert), and Ole Miss’ own Connie Price-Smith.
• The No. 22 Rebel women fell in a tight battle with No. 4 USC, 148-141, while the men finished second to Ohio State, 152-113, while beating out the reigning indoor national runners-up, No. 7 USC (102).
• The Rebel women hold 11 national top-50 marks and times through two meets of outdoor competition, with 18 also within the NCAA East Region top-48. Of those top-50 rankings, five are within the top-10 and eight within the top-25. The Rebel men, meanwhile, hold six in the NCAA top-50 and 12 within the East Region top-48.
• Ole Miss is coming off an indoor season that ended with one First-Team All-American (Janeah Stewart, weight throw, third place) and seven Second-Team honorees. Price-Smith’s squad also came away with two SEC individual titles (women’s weight throw, men’s mile).
• Ole Miss returns two All-Americans from the outdoor season in 2017 in Janeah Stewart (shot put, First-Team; discus and hammer, Second-Team) and Brian Williams (discus, First-Team).
• Ole Miss finished the 2017 season ranked within the top-10 in both the men’s and women’s USTFCCCA Program of the Year standings, with both Rebel squads finishing a program-high in the rankings. Ole Miss was one of three programs nationally to have both its men’s and women’s programs finish in the top-10 with the men in third and the women in eighth.
• The six Rebel event titles at last Saturday’s Ole Miss Classic came from: Janeah Stewart in the shot put and hammer, Shelby Brown in the 1500-meter, Kieshonna Brooks in the 100-meter hurdles, Kaira Simmons in the long jump and Lanae Newsome in the triple jump.
• Stewart currently accounts for 62.53 of the 93.43 total points that the No. 20 Rebel women are receiving in the latest USTFCCCA National Computer Rankings. She ranks in the top-50 nationally and top-20 regionally in all three of her throwing events: the hammer throw (67.70m/222-01; 4th NCAA, 2nd East), the shot put (16.98m/55-08.50; 6th NCAA, 2nd East) and the discus (51.20m/168-00; 49th NCAA, 18th East).
• Stewart was one of just two women nationally to triple at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, with the other being Arizona State’s Maggie Ewen, who returns for 2018 as well.
• This season, Stewart has broken her own school record in the hammer by 10 feet at 67.70m (222-01), and her previous PRs in both the shot put (17.86m/58-07.25) and discus (56.39m/185-00) are still contributing to the No. 20 national ranking for the Rebel women from the preseason data. Both her PRs in those events also rank second in school history, both behind 2016 Olympian Raven Saunders.
• Outdoors in 2017, Stewart finished First-Team All-American in the shot put (fifth place), and Second-Team in both the discus (ninth) and hammer (10th).
• Stewart finished the indoor season as the No. 5 weight thrower in the history of the NCAA at 24.12m (79-01.75). Three of the top-10 weight throwers on the NCAA all-time top-10 are pupils of head coach Connie Price-Smith and throws coach John Smith.
• Fellow senior Jolie Carbo also has her hands on three different national top-50 times, with the ninth-fastest 400-meter time at 52.87 (fifth-fastest in Ole Miss history), and as members of the 10th-best 4x100-meter relay (alongside Nicole Henderson, Alia Holmes and Shannon Ray) at 44.10 and the 47th-best 4x400-meter relay (alongside Jasmin Allen, Aisha Newsome and Mercedes Mattix) at 3:40.38.
• Regionally, Carbo also ranks ninth in the 400-meter, with the 4x100 ranking sixth overall and the 4x400 falling 26th on the East list.
• Indoors in 2018, Carbo became one of just four Rebel women to ever break 54 seconds in the 400. On the outdoor Ole Miss list, Carbo is one of just five Rebel women to ever break 53 seconds.
• Both Henderson and Ray were members of the 2017 4x100-meter relay team that qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
• Ray came within one-hundredth of a second of the all-time Ole Miss school record in the 100-meter dash in the season open at the Trailblazer Challenge, running the 11th-fastest time in the nation at 11.25 seconds (wind: 3.5). The Ole Miss record of 11.24 belongs to Teneeshia Jones, who ran it on Jun. 18, 2000, in Chapel Hill, N.C. with a 0.5 wind.
• Junior Maddie McHugh was named the SEC Women’s Runner of the Week after an exciting 800 win at the Trailblazer Challenge to open the season, edging out Miami’s Kayla Johnson at the finish line at 2:06.12 -- her best 800 open of her career. McHugh currently leads the SEC while ranking seventh overall in the East Region and eighth in the nation at that time.
• Fellow distance runner and senior Shelby Brown is coming off a very strong open in the 1500-meter at the Ole Miss Classic, where she won at a time of 4:20.47 -- just barely off her school-record time of 4:19.09 from 2017. Brown currently ranks third in the SEC, 13th in the East Region and 19th overall in the NCAA at that time.
• Brown was an NCAA qualifier in the steeplechase in 2017 after running a school-record 10:06.67 at the NCAA East Regional. That time entered the 2018 season as the 21st-best in the NCAA among returnees.
• Redshirt junior pole vaulter Lindsey Murray opened her first outdoor season in two years with a win at the Trailblazer Challenge at 4.06m (13-03.75), currently the 22nd-best clearance in the NCAA and 10th-best in the East Region.
• Murray missed the 2017 outdoor season due to injury, but is coming off yet another appearance at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, where she was the lone senior in competition to have qualified for the national meet all four years. She entered the 2018 outdoor season with the 10th-best PR nationally at her school-record height of 4.34m (14-02.75) from 2016.
• Sophomore jumper Kaira Simmons is coming off a career-day in the long jump at the Ole Miss classic, where she won at an outdoor PR of 6.06m (19-10.75) -- currently the 44th-best jump nationally and 19th-best in the East Region. Simmons owns an overall career-best of 6.27m (20-07.00) from her freshman indoor season in 2017.
• Senior Lanae Newsome helped Simmons sweep the horizontal jumps for Ole Miss at home last weekend, leaping a season-best 12.38m (40-07.50) for the win. Newsome currently ranks 24th in the East Region.
• Other Rebels ranked within the East Region top-48 include: Jasmine Cherry in the high jump (1.70m/5-07.00, 33rd East), Kieshonna Brooks in the long jump (5.91m/19-04.75, 34th East), Nicole Henderson in the 200-meter (23.89, 36th East) and 100-meter (11.67, 37th East), Alia Holmes in the 100-meter (11.68, 29th East) and Kendall Chavarria in the hammer (56.91m/186-08, 38th East).
• Ole Miss will have three women’s athletes compete in the heptathlon this weekend, the first full multi event for the Rebels this weekend. Those three Rebels are Kieshonna Brooks (PR: 4,683) Haley Hood (PR: 4,119) and Ghania Warren (first-career attempt).
• The Rebel men claimed three event titles at last week’s Ole Miss Classic: Cade Bethmann in the 800-meter, Fraquan Gaines in the triple jump and All-American Brian Williams won his second-straight discus title.
• Williams leads the Rebel men with two national top-15 marks through the first two outdoor meets of 2018. Williams currently ranks No. 2 nationally in the discus at his season-opening throw of 61.20m (200-09) at the Trailblazer Challenge -- the top throw in the East Region. Williams also holds the 15th-best shot put mark nationally (eighth regionally) at his new school-record heave of 18.67m (61-03.00) from the Trailblazer Challenge as well.
• That throw in the shot put broke the 2009 school record of 18.51m (60-08.75) set by Derek McGuire.
• Williams holds a monster PR in the discus of 65.13m (213-08) from 2017, which won him an SEC title and broke the Ole Miss school record by 25 feet. It ended the year ranked No. 5 in the United States and No. 15 worldwide, earning him a spot at the USA Outdoor Championships last summer, where he finished fourth in the nation at 60.55m (198-08).
• Williams was a First-Team All-American in the discus in 2017 after a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships at 59.95m (196-08).
• Freshman Allen Gordon has taken runner-up honors on total misses in the high jump each of the previous two weeks after tying for the lead. His best currently was his season-opener of 2.14m (7-00.25) at the Trailblazer Challenge, the fifth-best height in Ole Miss history. Gordon’s clearance currently ranks 17th nationally and 10th in the East Region.
• Oregon grad transfer Cullen Prena is coming off a very productive weekend for the Rebels at the Ole Miss Classic, moving up the all-time lists in both the hammer and discus.
• Prena was the runner-up in the discus at a four-foot PR of 56.28m (184-08), the third-best throw in school history which puts him No. 20 nationally and No. 12 in the East Region. Combined with Brian Williams’ No. 2 national ranking, Ole Miss is one of just two schools nationally to have two national top-20 marks in the discus at this point in the season, alongside Memphis.
• Prena took third overall in the hammer at an Ole Miss PR of 60.72m (199-02), the fifth-best throw in school history that puts him No. 34 in the East Region. Prena holds an overall hammer best of 63.54m (208-05) from his time at Oregon.
• Freshman Cade Bethmann improved in the 800-meter for the second week in a row at the Ole Miss Classic, winning at a PR time of 1:50.47 to put him at No. 47 in the NCAA and No. 25 in the East Region. Bethmann helped lead a 14-point run in the 800 at the Trailblazer Challenge, finishing second at what was then a PR time of 1:51.00.
• Senior Trevor Gilley opened his 2018 season with a win in the 1500 at the Trailblazer Challenge at 3:47.44, currently the 50th-best time nationally and 28th-best in the East Region. Gilley’s overall career-best of 3:41.77 is still contributing to the Rebels’ No. 40 team ranking as part of the preseason data.
• Gilley was also the runner-up in the 3K at the Trailblazer Challenge at 8:27.02, an event in which the Rebels scored 25 points. Gilley scored 18 total points for the Rebel men out in LA.
• Sophomore Parker Scott won that 3K race at a new school-record in the non-standard race at 8:25.62, besting Bo Boatner’s 1993 time of 8:26.92.
• Other Rebel men ranking within the top-48 of the NCAA East Region include: Peyton Weissmann in the pole vault (4.95m/16-02.75, 38th East), Griffin Riley in the 800-meter (1:50.90, 39th East), Manny Foster in the long jump (7.36m/24-01.75, 39th East), Cole Colozzo in the pole vault (4.91m/16-01.25, 41st East) and Fraquan Gaines in the triple jump (14.73m/48-04.00, 43rd East).
• Ole Miss has three additional senior men’s distance runners that have not run yet, but entered 2018 preseason ranked in multiple events: Ryan Manahan (800-meter, 12th, 1:46.96; 1500-meter, 40th, 3:42.79), Robert Domanic (1500-meter, 12th, 3:40.95; 5K, 45th, 13:54.64) and Sean Tobin (1500-meter, 25th, 3:42.07; 800-meter, 33rd, 1:47.99).
• Domanic and Tobin are coming off a trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships, alongside Alvin Westbrook and Waleed Suliman on the Rebel distance medley relay squad.
Rebel Women in Competition:
100-Meter: T’Aja Cameron, Nicole Henderson, Shannon Ray
200-Meter: Aisha Newsome
400-Meter: Jasmin Allen, Porsha Shirley
100-Meter Hurdles: Jeanette Paul
400-Meter Hurdles: Jeanette Paul
4x100-Meter Relay: Nicole Henderson, T’Aja Cameron, Jolie Carbo, Shannon Ray
4x400-Meter Relay: Jolie Carbo, Jasmin Allen, Orianna Shaw, Mercedes Mattix, Aisha Newsome
High Jump: Jasmine Cherry
Pole Vault: Sandra Brown, Nicole Kallenberger, Katy McAuley, Lindsey Murray
Long Jump: Kaira Simmons
Triple Jump: Lanae Newsome
Shot Put: Leah Klein, Janeah Stewart, Shey Taiwo
Discus: Leah Klein, Janeah Stewart, Shey Taiwo
Hammer: Kendall Chavarria, Leah Klein, Annika Larsson, Shey Taiwo
Javelin: Kendall Chavarria, Alex Enright
Heptathlon: Kieshonna Brooks, Haley Hood, Ghania Warren
Rebel Men in Competition:
100-Meter: Courtland Barnes, Manny Foster, Andrew Raspo
400-Meter: John Rivera Jr., Alvin Westbrook
5K: Nolan Hesse
400-Meter Hurdles: Christian Yancey
4x400-Meter Relay: Alvin Westbrook, John Rivera Jr., Andrew Raspo, Christian Yancey
High Jump: Allen Gordon
Pole Vault: Cole Colozzo, Austin Garrett, Peyton Weissmann
Long Jump: Manny Foster, Allen Gordon
Triple Jump: Fraquan Gaines
Shot Put: Brian Williams
Discus: Cullen Prena, Brian Williams
Hammer: Chris Long, Cullen Prena
No. 20 Rebel Women | NCAA Top-50
4. Janeah Stewart – Hammer – 67.70m (222-01)
6. Janeah Stewart – Shot Put – 16.98m (55-08.50)
8. Maddie McHugh – 800-Meter – 2:06.12
9. Jolie Carbo – 400-Meter Dash – 52.87
10. 4x100-Meter Relay (Henderson, Holmes, Carbo, Ray) – 44.10
11. Shannon Ray – 100-Meter Dash – 11.25 (w3.5)
19. Shelby Brown – 1500-Meter – 4:20.47
22. Lindsey Murray – Pole Vault – 4.06m (13-03.75)
44. Kaira Simmons – Long Jump – 6.06m (19-10.75)
47. 4x400-Meter Relay (Carbo, Allen, A. Newsome, Mattix) – 3:40.38
49. Janeah Stewart – Discus – 51.20m (168-00)
No. 20 Rebel Women | NCAA East Region Top-48
2. Janeah Stewart – Shot Put – 16.98m (55-08.50)
2. Janeah Stewart – Hammer – 67.70m (222-01)
6. Shannon Ray – 100-Meter Dash – 11.25 (w3.5)
6. 4x100-Meter Relay (Henderson, Holmes, Carbo, Ray) – 44.10
7. Maddie McHugh – 800-Meter – 2:06.12
9. Jolie Carbo – 400-Meter Dash – 52.87
10. Lindsey Murray – Pole Vault – 4.06m (13-03.75)
13. Shelby Brown – 1500-Meter – 4:20.47
18. Janeah Stewart – Discus – 51.20m (168-00)
19. Kaira Simmons – Long Jump – 6.06m (19-10.75)
24. Lanae Newsome – Triple Jump – 12.38m (40-07.50)
26. 4x400-Meter Relay (Carbo, Allen, A. Newsome, Mattix) – 3:40.38
33. Jasmine Cherry – High Jump – 1.70m (5-07.00)
34. Kieshonna Brooks – Long Jump – 5.91m (19-04.75)
36. Nicole Henderson – 100-Meter Dash – 11.67 (w1.6)
37. Nicole Henderson – 200-Meter Dash – 23.89 (w2.5)
37. Alia Holmes – 100-Meter Dash – 11.68 (w1.6)
38. Kendall Chavarria – Hammer – 56.91m (186-08)
No. 40 Rebel Men | NCAA Top-50
2. Brian Williams – Discus – 61.20m (200-09)
15. Brian Williams – Shot Put – 18.67m (61-03.00)
17. Allen Gordon – High Jump – 2.14m (7-00.25)
20. Cullen Prena – Discus – 56.28m (184-08)
47. Cade Bethmann – 800-Meter – 1:50.47
50. Trevor Gilley – 1500-Meter – 3:47.44
No. 40 Rebel Men | NCAA East Region Top-48
1. Brian Williams – Discus – 61.20m (200-09)
8. Brian Williams – Shot Put – 18.67m (61-03.00)
10. Allen Gordon – High Jump – 2.14m (7-00.25)
12. Cullen Prena – Discus – 56.28m (184-08)
25. Cade Bethmann – 800-Meter – 1:50.47
28. Trevor Gilley – 1500-Meter – 3:47.44
34. Cullen Prena – Hammer – 60.72m (199-02)
38. Peyton Weissmann – Pole Vault – 4.95m (16-02.75)
39. Griffin Riley – 800-Meter – 1:50.90
39. Manny Foster – Long Jump – 7.36m (24-01.75)
41. Cole Colozzo – Pole Vault – 4.91m (16-01.25)
43. Fraquan Gaines – Triple Jump – 14.73m (48-04.00)
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