Ole Miss Men’s and Women’s Track Teams Enter National Top 25
Dempsey McGuigan (photo by Tim Casey)
April 25, 2016

USTFCCCA National Rankings: MEN | WOMEN

OXFORD, Miss. – For the first time this year, both the Ole Miss men’s and women’s track & field teams are ranked among the nation’s top 25 at the same time.

In this week’s iteration of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national rankings announced Monday, the Rebel men jumped up to No. 20 and the women entered at No. 24. It’s the first time that both teams have been ranked together under first-year head coach Connie Price-Smith and the first time overall since the final indoor rankings of 2011.

“It’s nice to be ranked in the top 25 in both programs,” Price-Smith said. “It means both programs are excelling nicely going into conference. Hopefully it also shows the athletes that they’re doing great things and will motivate them to keep working hard toward their goals.”

Both squads are ranked for the first time this outdoor season. The men were 17th in the indoor week four poll, while the women were 23rd during week three of the indoors season.

The USTFCCCA rankings are a mathematical projection of teams’ scoring chances at the NCAA Championships based on the current season results. As usual, the Southeastern Conference leads the way with nine men’s teams and 10 women’s teams in the top 25. No other conference has more than five on either side.

The Ole Miss men surged up to No. 20 thanks to some brilliant performances in distance races at the Virginia Challenge last weekend. Sophomore Craig Engels continues to rank No. 2 nationally in the 1500 meters (3:38.82), while junior Robert Domanic joined him in the national top 10 with a personal-best 3:40.95 that ranks him No. 2 in school history. The Rebels have four men in the top 18 in the 1500 meters, with junior Trevor Gilley at No. 12 (3:41.77) and junior Sean Tobin at No. 18 (3:42.14).


 

 

Sophomore Dempsey McGuigan is eighth nationally in the hammer throw with a school-record mark of 69.59m/228-4 from the April 8 Tiger Track Classic.

Other Rebel men ranked top 26 nationally in their events include Engels in the 800 meters (17th, 1:47.17), Nathan Loe in the hammer throw (24th, 65.41m/214-7), Wesley Gallagher in the 10,000 meters (25th, 29:13.67) and MJ Erb in the steeplechase (26th, 8:51.49).

The women are No. 24 in the nation thanks in large part to the throwing prowess of sophomore Raven Saunders, who is the national leader in the shot put with an SEC-record and No. 7 all-time collegiate mark of 18.75m/61-6.25. She is also eighth nationally in the discus with a school-record heave of 56.85m/186-6.

Other Rebel women who have earned top-25 status in the nation are Emily Bean in the 10,000 meters (13th, 33:39.36), the 4x100-meter relay squad of Nicole Henderson, Shannon Ray, Breanna Tate and Khadijah Suleman (14th, 44.03), Mary Alex England in the 10,000 meters (16th, 33:47.91) and Lindsey Murray in the pole vault (18th, 4.22m/13-10).

If the season ended today, Ole Miss would send 14 men’s athletes in six events (15 entries) to the NCAA East Preliminary, held May 26-28 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Rebels would send 12 women’s athletes in 10 events (16 entries). The top 12 finishers in each event at the regional preliminary round move on to Eugene, Oregon, for the June 8-11 NCAA Championships.

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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