Track Season Heats Up as Rebels Head to Virginia Challenge
Emily Bean (photo by Petre Thomas)
April 21, 2016

Meet Information | Schedule | Live Results | Heat Sheets

Ole Miss Meet Notes Get Acrobat Reader

OXFORD, Miss. –
With 1,207 athletes, including 70 All-Americans who have combined to win 16 individual NCAA titles, this weekend’s Virginia Challenge will be quite literally the biggest and best outdoor track meet of the year so far at which the Ole Miss Rebels are competing.

The Friday-Saturday meet will take place at Lannigan Field in Charlottesville, Virginia. Events will begin at 9 a.m. CT Friday, including a Main Event from 6-9 p.m. Saturday’s competition starts at 8 a.m. with the Main Event scheduled for 6-9:30 p.m.

Men’s teams slated to compete include nationally ranked opponents in No. 2 Florida, No. 6 Virginia, No. 8 Georgia, No. 19 North Carolina and No. 22 Virginia Tech, as well as SEC foe Kentucky.

Among the women’s units are ranked teams No. 6 Georgia, No. 8 Kentucky, No. 9 Florida, No. 11 Mississippi State, No. 14 Harvard, No. 18 Virginia Tech, No. 22 Notre Dame and SEC foe Vanderbilt.

A total of 13 All-Americans will toe the line for the Rebels in Charlottesville, representing the first time this outdoor season that all of the top Ole Miss athletes will be competing.

Headlining head coach Connie Price-Smith’s crew is two-time NCAA shot put champion Raven Saunders, who currently ranks No. 1 in the NCAA and No. 3 in the world with her outdoor personal-best and school-record throw of 18.75m/61-6.25.

Sophomore Craig Engels will lead a massive group of Rebels in the men’s 1500 meters. He currently ranks No. 2 in the NCAA with a school-record time of 3:38.82, while also ranking 11th in the nation in the 800 meters (1:47.17). Those times place him among the top 25 runners in the world in both categories this season.

The rest of the Rebels’ 1500-meter contingent this weekend includes Robert Domanic (2016 SEC mile champion, 2016 All-American in DMR, 2015 All-American in 1500m), Sean Tobin (2016 All-American in DMR), Ryan Manahan (SEC champion in DMR), Trevor Gilley (SEC champion in DMR, current No. 5 in NCAA in 1500m), Derek Gutierrez (2016 All-American in DMR), Wesley Gallagher (2016 All-SEC in 3000m) and Ryan Walling (2016 SEC champion in 3000m and 5000m, 2016 All-American in 5000m). Volunteer assistant coach Isaac Presson will run alongside Engels, Domanic and Tobin in the highly anticipated first section on Saturday at 6:45 p.m. CT.

Head Coach Connie Price-Smith Says:

“I am excited for this weekend, and I’m looking for a lot of good marks to come out of it. This will be the last big meet before SECs and should be a good indicator of what’s to come.”

Notables:

  • The Virginia Challenge features student-athletes from 22 conference champion teams ... More than 70 All-Americans, including ones that have captured 16 individual NCAA titles, are set to compete along with elite post-collegiate athletes ... In all, there will be 1,207 athletes representing more than 60 schools.
  • This is the inaugural season of the Connie Price-Smith era at Ole Miss.
  • Sophomore Raven Saunders has already posted personal bests in the shot put, discus and hammer throw this year - setting school records in the shot (18.75m/61-6.25) and discus (56.85m/186-6) and ranking No. 2 in school history in the hammer (56.91m/186-8).
  • Her shot put PR at the Alabama Relays moved her up to No. 7 on the all-time women’s collegiate outdoor list.
  • Saunders now has the best indoor and outdoor shot put marks ever by an SEC woman.
  • Saunders is currently No. 3 on this year’s world outdoor shot put rankings after finishing the indoor season at No. 5 in the world.
  • Saunders has the top six shot put marks in the NCAA this outdoor season ... Combining the 2016 indoor and outdoor seasons, she owns the NCAA’s best 17 puts of the year.
  • Sophomore Craig Engels and junior Trevor Gilley had breakthrough performances in the 1500m at the Florida Relays ... Engels broke his own school record by running 3:38.82, while Gilley ran 3:41.77, good for No. 2 in school history ... They rank 2-5 in the NCAA so far this year, while Engels is 12th in the world rankings.
  • Engels also ranks 11th in the NCAA in the 800m with a time of 1:47.17 last week at the Texas Invitational.
  • For the fifth time in his two-year career, sophomore Dempsey McGuigan’s broke the Ole Miss hammer throw record, this time with a huge PR of 69.59m/228-4 at the Tiger Track Classic that ranks him seventh in the NCAA.
  • Sophomore Emily Bean shattered the women’s 10,000m school record with her 33:39.36 at the Stanford Invite.
  • The women’s 4x100m relay returns three of four legs from last year’s NCAA outdoor finals squad ... The quartet of Nicole Henderson, Shannon Ray, Breanna Tate and Khadijah Suleman ran a season-best 44.03 at the Florida Relays and rank No. 14 in the NCAA this year.
  • Sophomore Lindsey Murray broke the school pole vault record with a clearance of 4.22m/13-10 (15th in NCAA) at the Texas Invitational.
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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