Nationally Ranked Rebels Primed for SEC Championships
May 10, 2017

Meet Central | Live Results | SECN+ Friday | SECN+ Saturday

Ole Miss Meet Notes

OXFORD, Miss. – The No. 12 Ole Miss men and 16th-ranked women are among an elite collection of nationally ranked track & field teams headed to Columbia, South Carolina, for this week’s Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships.

The meet, hosted by South Carolina at the Sheila & Morris Cregger Track, begins at 9:15 a.m. CT on Thursday, 10 a.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday. Live results can be found at GamecocksOnline.com.

The SEC Championships will be streamed live on SEC Network+ Friday at 5:25 p.m. CT and Saturday at 2:10 p.m. The meet will also air as part of a two-hour show on ESPNU May 17 at 7 p.m. CT. The broadcast talent includes Dwight Stones, Larry Rawson, Jill Montgomery and John Anderson. 

A total of 23 SEC men’s and women’s teams are ranked among the nation’s top 25, according to the latest national rankings announced Monday by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

A nation-leading 12 SEC men’s programs are ranked, including five of the top six. Texas A&M and Florida are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, while Georgia is No. 4, Alabama is No. 5 and LSU is No. 6. Arkansas is No. 9, Ole Miss is No. 12, Auburn is No. 18, South Carolina is No. 19, and Kentucky, Mississippi State and Tennessee are Nos. 21-23, respectively. No other conference has more than five men’s teams in the top 25.

A nation-best 11 SEC women’s programs are ranked in the top 25 with six in the top 10. Texas A&M is No. 1, while LSU, Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia and Florida are Nos. 4-8. Alabama is ranked 10th, Auburn is 13th, Ole Miss is 16th, Tennessee is 22nd and South Carolina is 25th. No other conference has more than five women’s teams in the top 25.

Ole Miss has carried the momentum from its outstanding cross country and indoor seasons into this outdoor campaign, setting numerous school records and ranking among the best in the country in several events. The men and women both had program-best NCAA Cross Country Championship finishes (fourth and 23rd, respectively) and were both SEC runners up in the fall. At SEC indoors, the men tied for third and the women earned a program-best fifth-place result. Both finished top 16 in the country at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Coach Connie Price-Smith Says:

“It should be a very interesting meet. Our women’s side is a lot stronger than last year. As long as everybody performs to their capabilities, I think we’ll have a good outcome. On the men’s side, we’re taking a small team but a strong team. I think everybody that’s going is more than capable of contributing to the team score, so I think we should fare well on the men’s side too.

“This conference is so tough. It’s hard to think about the competition, and it’s hard not to think about the competition. What we tell them as coaches is to focus on what you can control. You can’t control what anybody else is doing. If you do what you’re supposed to do, you should be OK, even though this is by far the toughest conference that there is. It’s challenging, but it’s also exciting and fun. Trying to prove that they can compete at this level and be the best among the SEC helps motivate them.

“Cross country had a phenomenal year, both the men and women. What started in the fall carried over to indoors. Our distance group came in indoors and everybody wanted to contribute and help with that. I think the momentum is still just as strong going into outdoors. Everybody seems to be working hard and focused on the task at hand.”

Notables:

  • The Ole Miss men are 12th and the women are 16th in this week’s USTFCCCA national rankings ... The women equaled their best outdoor ranking in program history in week 3 at No. 15 (finished 15th in 2008), while the men currently boast their best outdoor ranking since 2014.
  • Rebels seeking to defend their 2016 SEC outdoor titles are Craig Engels (men’s 1500m) and Raven Saunders (women’s shot put).
  • The Ole Miss men were fifth at last year’s SEC outdoor meet (tied for second-best in school history), while the women finished 11th ... At this year’s SEC indoor meet, the men tied for third and the women finished fifth.
  • Ole Miss athletes top the SEC in four events this year - men’s 1500m (Craig Engels), men’s steeplechase (MJ Erb), men’s discus (Brian Williams) and women’s shot put (Raven Saunders).
  • So far this outdoor season, Rebel athletes have broken seven school records a total of 11 times.
  • As of May 10, Ole Miss would qualify for 14 men’s entries and 24 women’s entries in the NCAA East Preliminary.
  • Head coach Connie Price-Smith, who served as Team USA women’s head coach in Rio and was elected to the USATF Hall of Fame in 2016, is in her second season at the Ole Miss helm.
  • JUCO transfer Brian Williams has broken the Ole Miss discus record four times in 2017, most recently an NCAA-leading 64.12m/210-4 at the SEC Relays ... That ranks him No. 12 in the world this year.
  • Senior Craig Engels is No. 2 in the NCAA and No. 14 in the world in the 1500m (3:37.75 at Bryan Clay Invitational), while he ranks 10th nationally and No. 2 in the SEC in the 800m (1:46.96 at Florida Relays).
  • Senior MJ Erb is No. 3 nationally in the steeplechase (8:41.03 at Mt. SAC Relays).
  • Senior Dempsey McGuigan is seventh nationally with a school-record hammer throw (70.55m/231-5 at Mt. SAC).
  • Junior Raven Saunders holds the shot put national lead and No. 6 in the world (18.51m/60-8.75 at Joe Walker Invitational) ... She was a 2016 Bowerman Finalist and Rio Olympian, as well as the SEC and NCAA outdoor shot put champion last year, setting meet records at both championships.
  • JUCO transfer Janeah Stewart has set PRs in shot put, discus and hammer this spring, ranking top 10 in the NCAA in all three ... She has broken the Ole Miss hammer throw record twice ... Her shot put PR of 17.86m/58-7.25 at the Tennessee Relays is No. 5 in the NCAA and No. 19 in the world this year.
  • Other school records this year are by junior Shelby Brown (10:14.20 3000m steeplechase; 4:19.09 1500m), senior Mary Alex England (16:12.19 5000m) and Shannon Ray, Breanna Tate, Jolie Carbo and Maddie McHugh in the sprint medley relay (3:48.14).
  • Ole Miss ranks No. 2 nationally in the USTFCCCA event rankings in both the men’s 1500m and women’s 10K.
For more information on Ole Miss Track & Field, follow the Rebels on Twitter (@OleMissTrack), Facebook and Instagram.
 

 

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