Record Ole Miss Contingent Descends upon NCAA East Prelims
SEC steeplechase champion MJ Erb
May 24, 2017

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Ole Miss Meet Notes

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A record number of Ole Miss entries will compete in Lexington, Kentucky, this week for the chance to advance to next month’s NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. 

Over the next three days at the NCAA East Preliminary, 32 Rebel athletes will combine for a school-record 34 entries and line up against half of the nation’s best collegiate track & field talent at the University of Kentucky’s outdoor complex.

The goal for each athlete and relay in Lexington will be to finish in the top 12 out of 48 competitors (or 24 relay squads). The top 12 finishers in each event will qualify for the national semifinal and final rounds of the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships to be held June 7-10 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. 

Last year, Ole Miss produced a school-record 13 All-Americans in Eugene, including NCAA women’s shot put champion Raven Saunders

Under the direction of second-year head coach Connie Price-Smith, Ole Miss is ranked No. 12 among all men’s teams in the country and 22nd on the women’s side in the latest USTFCCCA National Rankings.

Competing in the uber-competitive Southeastern Conference, the Rebels claimed four individual league titles two weeks ago in Columbia, South Carolina. The men placed sixth in the team standings, while the women were eighth. Junior thrower Janeah Stewart earned the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy as the meet’s highest scoring female.

Head Coach Connie Price-Smith Says:

“It’s the second year we’ve had over 30 people go to the preliminary round of NCAAs, and hopefully that’s going to become a tradition. I think it’s a good number, but I think there could be more in the future. We have athletes spread out over a variety of events, and I think they’ll perform well and give themselves the best chance to advance to nationals. I’m looking forward to watching them compete and excited about the athletes we have going.

“There will be a handful that should make it to nationals, but for some of the others to be able to go out and do their best at this meet will be a huge success for them. For some of the younger ones, it’s good that they can qualify and see what it’s like at this meet, and it makes it easier the next time they make it.”

Notables:

  • The Rebels’ 34 entries at this week’s NCAA East Preliminary are the most in program history since the NCAA adopted the current regional format in 2010, breaking last year’s mark of 33.
  • Among the 32 Ole Miss athletes in Lexington are 10 men and a record 22 women, competing in 22 different events.
  • The top 12 finishers in each event will qualify for the national semifinal and final rounds of the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships to be held June 7-10 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
  • Last year, Ole Miss produced a school-record 13 outdoor All-Americans in Eugene, including NCAA shot put champion Raven Saunders.
  • Ole Miss won four SEC titles a couple weeks ago in Columbia, South Carolina: Craig Engels (men’s 1500m), MJ Erb (men’s 5000m and 3000m steeplechase) and Brian Williams (men’s discus).
  • 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 five times in 2017, most recently an NCAA-leading 65.13m/213-8 to win an SEC championship ... That ranks him No. 12 in the world this year.
  • Senior Craig Engels is No. 2 in the NCAA and No. 24 in the world in the 1500m (3:37.75 at Bryan Clay Invitational), while he ranks 11th nationally in the 800m (1:46.93 at SEC Championships).
  • Senior MJ Erb is No. 5 nationally in the steeplechase (8:41.03 at Mt. SAC Relays).
  • Senior Dempsey McGuigan is eighth 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. 9 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 12 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. 6 in the NCAA and No. 22 in the world this year.
  • Stewart won the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy after taking silver in the discus and bronze in the shot and hammer.
  • Current Rebels who have previously made appearances at the NCAA Outdoor Championships include Craig Engels (800m, 1500m), MJ Erb (steeplechase) and Dempsey McGuigan (hammer) on the men’s side, and Nicole Henderson (4x100m relay), Shannon Ray (200m, 4x100m relay), Raven Saunders (shot put) and Breanna Tate (4x100m relay) for the women.

For more information on Ole Miss Track & Field, follow the Rebels on Twitter (@OleMissTrack), Facebook and Instagram.


 

 

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