Rebels to Compete on National Stage at NCAA Outdoor Championships
June 5, 2018



EUGENE, Ore. - Ole Miss men's and women's track & field will be represented by 12 Rebel student-athletes on the highest stage of the collegiate track season at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships, which will be run at historic Hayward Field at the University of Oregon from June 6-9.

The finest athletes in Division I will descend upon Eugene this week for the four-day meet, which is split into men's competition (June 6 & 8) and women's competition (June 7 & 9). To get to this point, student-athletes needed to qualify for their respective NCAA Regional Preliminary Round Championship (East or West), and then needed to finish within the top-12 of their events at the regional meet in order to punch their ticket to Eugene. Athletes competing in either the decathlon or heptathlon needed only to finish within the top-12 nationally by the end of the regular season.

Those 24 total athletes will not only be competing for team or individual national championships, but also to grasp one of the coveted top-eight scoring spots for First-Team All-American status. Places nine through 16 receive Second Team All-American honors, and the remaining eight competitors receive Honorable Mention All-American distinction.


This marks the final meet at the current iteration of Hayward Field, which will undergo extensive renovations for the 2021 IAAF World Championships. Hayward Field has been the home of Oregon track & field since 1921, and has hosted numerous high-end competitions, including 16 NCAA Championship meets (1962, '64, '72, '78, '84, '88, '91, '96, 2001, '10, '13, '14, '15, '16, '17, '18), seven USA Track & Field Championships (1986, '93, '99, 2001, '09, '11) and six U.S. Olympic Trials (1972, '76, '80, 2008, '12, '16).


Ole Miss will be looking to capture some of that fabled Hayward Magic one last time, adding to its incredible track history at the national meet. Across both the men's and women's indoor and outdoor seasons, 20 Rebels have won NCAA titles and 155 have earned First-Team All-American honors, while as a team Ole Miss has tallied 27 top-25 team finishes and scored 563.5 total national points. In three years under head coach Connie Price-Smith, six Rebels have won NCAA titles, 25 have earned First-Team All-American honors, four Rebel teams have finished in the top-25 and have scored 83 total NCAA points.


The Rebel men's distance runners will kick things off on Wednesday afternoon, with senior Robert Domanic and freshman Everett Smulders in the 1500-meter and sophomore Parker Scott in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Domanic enters as the top American in the 1500 this season at his school-record 3:36.33, the ninth-best in NCAA history.


Thursday will be a busy day of women's action for the Rebels. In the field, Janeah Stewart will compete in both the hammer and shot put, and redshirt junior Lindsey Murray will take to the pole vault. On the track, the women's 4x100-meter relay of Nicole Henderson, Jeanette Paul, Jolie Carbo and Shannon Ray runs at Hayward for the fourth straight season, and senior Shelby Brown runs in the 3000-meter steeplechase for the second-straight year.


Competition on Friday and Saturday will vary based on finals qualifying for the track events, but senior All-American Brian Williams and Cullen Prena will still compete on Friday afternoon in the discus regardless. Williams returns to Hayward after finishing fourth at nationals in the event in 2017.


See below for more detailed information on the national qualifiers and the NCAA Championships. Fans can watch all four days of action live on the ESPN family of networks.


Broadcast Schedule (all times Central):


Men's Day One (Wed., June 6):

ESPN3: 2:20 p.m.

ESPN2: 6:30 p.m.


Women's Day One (Thurs., June 7):

ESPN3: 11:50 a.m.

ESPN2: 6:00 p.m.


Men's Day Two (Fri., June 8):

ESPN3: 2:20 p.m.

ESPN: 7:30 p.m.


Women's Day Two (Sat., June 9):

ESPN3: 1:20 p.m.

ESPN: 5:30 p.m.


Men's Entries (5)

Everett Smulders - Men's 1500-Meter (Heat 1) - Wed., June 6 - 6:46 p.m. CT

Robert Domanic - Men's 1500-Meter (Heat 2) - Wed., June 6 - 6:46 p.m. CT

Parker Scott - Men's 3000-Meter Steeplechase (Heat 2) - Wed., June 6 - 7:02 p.m. CT

Cullen Prena - Men's Discus (Flight 1) - Fri., June 8 - 7:05 p.m. CT

Brian Williams - Men's Discus (Flight 2) - Fri., June 8 - 7:05 p.m. CT


Women's Entries (5)

Janeah Stewart - Women's Hammer (Flight 2) - Thurs., June 7 - 3:30 p.m. CT

Women's 4x100-Meter Relay (Heat 2; Nicole Henderson, Jeanette Paul, Jolie Carbo, Shannon Ray) - Thurs., June 7 - 6:02 p.m. CT

Lindsey Murray - Women's Pole Vault - Thurs., June 7 - 6:30 p.m. CT

Shelby Brown - Women's 3000-Meter Steeplechase (Heat 2) - Thurs., June 7 - 6:32 p.m. CT

Janeah Stewart - Women's Shot Put (Flight 1) - Thurs., June 7 - 8:10 p.m. CT


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Everett Smulders | Men's 1500-Meter Semifinals | Wed., June 6 | 6:46 p.m. CT

Class:
Freshman

Hometown / High School:
Atlanta, Ga. / The Lovett School

Event:
1500-Meter (Heat 1)

Regional Finish:
5th, 3:44.06

Season-Best:
3:44.06 (NCAA East Regional, May 26)

Overall Career-Best:
3:44.06 (7th all-time at Ole Miss)

Nationals History:
First trip to the national meet

Quick Fact:
Took third in the mile at SEC Indoors for Second-Team All-SEC honors and to give Ole Miss a one-three punch in the event


ON HIS REGIONAL PERFORMANCE IN THE RAIN

"I was lucky to start my race before the rain had started, so it wasn't really something I was thinking about going into it, but then it started raining halfway through. When you're in the middle of a race like that and it's so intense and there are so many other things you're paying attention to, you really don't notice it. I just stuck to my race plan and executed it how I was supposed to."


ON HIS FRESHMAN YEAR AT OLE MISS
"It's been awesome. It's actually been sort of a rollercoaster. When I came, in the beginning, nobody would have thought that I would have accomplished anything. They had no reason to. I couldn't do a three-mile tempo run with the team. I worked really hard to get back into shape, and then things started coming around in the indoor season. I put together a good race at the SEC Championships, and then Coach Vanhoy started to hold me to a higher standard. He sort of sat me down after that and said, listen, you're going to have to make it to the national championship, or this season hasn't been what we want it to be. So we had something to work towards the whole season, and now it's happened."

ON COMPETING IN THE FINAL MEET AT HAYWARD FIELD

"Funny story, I actually came here last year to watch the NCAA Championships. I got to see Craig (Engels) and MJ (Erb), and just watching what they do was really inspiring. I told the people I was with, look, I'm going to be back here next year. I really wanted to race and I put my mind to it. Now that I'm able to be here in the last real track meet is awesome, and I hope I'll be at the new one in the future. There's just so much history behind this, and I'm glad I got to race on it once."


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Robert Domanic | Men's 1500-Meter Semifinals | Wed., June 6 | 6:46 p.m. CT

Class:
Redshirt Senior

Hometown / High School:
Lewisville, Texas / Hebron HS

Event:
1500-Meter (Heat 2)

Regional Finish:
11th, 3:46.25

Season-Best:
3:36.33 (Bryan Clay Invite, April 19)

Overall Career-Best:
3:36.33 (school record, 9th in NCAA history, 2nd in SEC history, No. 1 in United States in 2018)

Nationals History:
2017 NCAA Champion indoors in the DMR; three-time First-Team All-American

Quick Fact:
Ran in heat at Bryan Clay that included the collegiate record (3:35.01 from New Mexico's Josh Kerr) and No. 7 time in NCAA history (3:36.07 from Syracuse's Justyn Knight)

ON QUALIFYING IN THE RAIN AT REGIONALS
"It was kind of crazy. You don't get those races too much where it's just a torrential downpour. But it's just one of those things where you've got to make sure you're in the right position because if you let yourself get too far behind it's going to be hard to catch back up in the rain because it's so heavy and so hard to move around people. It was definitely good preparation. Anything can happen in any meet, so now if there is another rainstorm I'll be prepared."


ON RUNNING AGAINST JOSH KERR AT BRYAN CLAY IN APRIL

"I didn't think that I was in as good of shape that I was in at that moment, so it just showed that I had some things that I could sharpen up on and get a little better. I like my chances here, I just have to make my way onto the final. It's definitely going to be one of the hardest 1500 NCAA races in its history."

ON THE LEGACY HE WILL LEAVE BEHIND AT OLE MISS
"It's going to be sad. It's been such a big part of my life the past five years, so it's going to be hard saying goodbye. But at the end of the day, what we were able to do doesn't happen normally ... It's just going to be great looking back on it one day and saying that we kind of built this dynasty that has emerged."


ON COMPETING IN THE FINAL MEET AT HAYWARD FIELD

"It's great. There's no other energy like it anywhere at any other college. Oregon is Track Town USA, and they always fill the stands for these meets, so the crowd is really able to lift you up and get you through the race if you need it. Lots of times it helps the home team, Oregon, and spur them on to victory because their own athletes feel the energy from their fans. It's just incredible. There's so much history here, and it's going to be great to finish."


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Parker Scott | Men's 3000-Meter Steeplechase Semifinals | Wed., June 6 | 7:02 p.m. CT

Class:
Sophomore

Hometown / High School:
Corpus Christi, Texas / King HS

Event:
3000-Meter Steeplechase (Heat 2)

Regional Finish:
12th, 8:47.93

Season-Best:
8:47.93 (NCAA East Regional, May 25)

Overall Career-Best:
8:47.93 (4th all-time at Ole Miss)

Nationals History:
First trip to the national meet

Quick Fact:
Was in sixth at bell lap at East Regional; chased down three competitors to take the third AQ spot in Heat One and punch his ticket to Eugene with a 65-second final lap


ON HIS DRAMATIC FINISH AT THE REGIONAL MEET

"I think the biggest point that (Coach Ryan) Vanhoy tried to make to me was to just stay on the leaders for as long as I could, because we both knew that I could close really hard. I tried to do that and kind of fell off at the second-to-last lap, but I came back and caught those guys."


ON CROSSING THE FINISH LINE AND PUNCHING HIS TICKET TO THE NATIONAL MEET

"Over the last barrier, I kind of flew buy the guy (in the third auto-qualifier spot), and then with 50 meters to go I looked back just to make sure I didn't have to use that extra gear, and then at that point I knew I had it. It was just kind of surreal. Even now, it's still kind of crazy that I'm here."


ON BEING ABLE TO TRAIN WITH THE LIKES OF Robert Domanic, Sean Tobin AND OTHER REBEL UPPERCLASSMAN DISTANCE RUNNERS

"Coming on my visit, those are the guys that were the reason I came here to Ole Miss. Guys like Sean and Robert and Craig (Engels) and (Ryan) Manahan. Those guys not being here next year is going to be a huge change, but I'm ready to kind of step up and play a leadership role."


ON COMPETING IN THE FINAL MEET AT HAYWARD FIELD

"There's something like 400 sub-fours on this track, and guys currently like Evan Jager and guys like (Steve Prefontaine) and Steve Scott have run on this. It's really cool being able to run at this place where they ran. Multiple U.S. championships have been here, super fast times have been run here. It's really special to be on the track before it changes."


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Janeah Stewart | Women's Hammer Finals | Thurs., June 7 | 3:30 p.m. CT

Class:
Senior

Hometown / High School:
Calumet City, Ill. / Thornwood HS

Event:
Hammer (Flight 2)

Regional Finish:
1st, 68.36m/224-03

Season-Best:
68.36m/224-03 (NCAA East Regional, May 26)

Overall Career-Best:
68.36m/224-03 (Ole Miss school record)

Nationals History:
Three-time First-Team All-American; 10th in the hammer in 2017

Quick Fact:
Set NCAA East Region meet record with her winning toss


ON HER QUALIFYING PERFORMANCE IN THE HAMMER AT THE EAST REGIONAL

"In the hammer, I was really confident. I was probably the most confident out of all three in the hammer. The warmups were great, so I was really looking forward to that first throw. We played it safe and I did a three-turn on the first throw, which already got me qualified, so I went out on the last two and just went for it, and I came out with a PR."

ON COMPETING IN THE FINAL MEET AT HAYWARD FIELD
"A lot of top names come out of this meet and a lot of top athletes have competed on this track, so just being able to compete at the same track as a lot of Olympians and very famous athletes is a big impact. I'm happy to be here, and I'm trying to get to that level in a few years."

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Women's 4x100-Meter Relay Semifinals | Thurs., June 7 | 6:02 p.m. CT

Heat:
Heat 2

Relay Members:
Nicole Henderson (senior), Jolie Carbo (senior), Jeanette Paul (sophomore), Shannon Ray (senior)

Regional Finish:
7th, 43.94

Season-Best:
43.94 (NCAA East Regional, May 26)

Nationals History:
Ole Miss has qualified four straight years in the women's 4x100-meter relay, including a First-Team All-American finish in seventh in 2015

Quick Fact:
Rebels have run six of the top-15 times in school history this season


ON PUNCHING THEIR TICKET TO NCAAs AT THE REGIONAL MEET


Henderson:
"My job on the first leg, I knew I had to break the stagger a little and give the second leg something to work with. I was really nervous, but I knew that we would get it done."


Carbo:
"I just kept us in the race. I kept us in a good position before handing off to Jeanette."


Paul:
"I was just focused on my leg and trying to give Shannon the same position."


Ray:
"At the time, I didn't know what place we were in, but we had already set goals before. We knew our goal before was to run faster, and then we knew if we finished third in our heat that we would automatically have a chance to go to nationals. When I crossed the line in third place it was just a sigh of relief that we made it to nationals."


ON THE LEGACY THE WOMEN'S SPRINTERS HAVE CREATED IN THE 4X1


Henderson:
"It feels good to make it to nationals, but I hope it keeps going. The experience is awesome, it's the best track meet with the fastest people. I just hope the legacy can keep going."


Ray:
"We're all seniors, so we're putting all the weight on Jeanette to carry it onward."


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Lindsey Murray | Women's Pole Vault Finals | Thurs., June 7 | 6:30 p.m. CT

Class:
Redshirt Junior

Hometown / High School:
Harrisburg, Ill. / Harrisburg HS

Event:
Pole Vault

Regional Finish:
8th, 4.18m/13-08.50

Season-Best:
4.35m/14-03.25 (SEC Outdoor Championships, May 13)

Overall Career-Best:
4.35m/14-03.25 (Ole Miss school record)

Nationals History:
Six-time NCAA qualifier across indoor and outdoor

Quick Fact:
Earned first career SEC medal with bronze in third place this outdoor season


ON HER QUALIFYING PERFORMANCE AT THE REGIONAL MEET

"I just went in trying to clear one bar at a time. I pretty much knew what was going to qualify, so after I was getting close to that mark that I knew I didn't have that many bars left to get in. It took a lower than last time I competed and qualified for (nationals), so that was really cool."


ON HER SCHOOL-RECORD AT SECs

"I was feeling like gold. Once I started warmups I was a little bit nervous because certain things weren't going exactly like I wanted them to, but once I got into the competition I focused in ... My first jump at 13-7, I kind of blew it out of the water, and that gave me the confidence to keep going on the next few bars."


ON RETURNING FROM INJURY

"Any time with an injury it's a little bit nerve-wracking about how hard it's going to be to come back, or what you have to do different, or what you have to do to change so that injury doesn't happen again. This year was definitely a trial-and-error process in figuring out what I can do, what I can't do, what I should do, what I shouldn't do. I think it made me better this year, more consistent with jumps, and I fixed a lot of things in my vault that correlated with that injury."


ON COMPETING IN THE FINAL MEET AT HAYWARD FIELD

"It's kind of sad. It's a big deal to be here anyway, and the fact that Hayward Field is just a landmark - I never thought it would be gone. You never expect that and it's kind of sad. It's a beautiful track as-is, and it's kind of exciting to see what's gonna come."


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Shelby Brown | Women's 3000-Meter Steeplechase Semifinals | Thurs., June 7 | 6:32 p.m. CT

Class:
Senior

Hometown / High School:
Phoenix, Ariz. / Xavier College Prep

Event:
3000-Meter Steeplechase (Heat 2)

Regional Finish:
7th, 9:59.54

Season-Best:
9:59.98 (Mt. SAC Relays, April 19)

Overall Career-Best:
9:58.98 (Ole Miss school record; only Rebel to ever run sub-10:00)

Nationals History:
2017 NCAA qualifier in the steeplechase (23rd overall)

Quick Fact:
First-ever Ole Miss SEC champion in the women's steeplechase


ON HER DRAMATIC FINISH AT THE REGIONAL MEET

"I definitely lost a little bit of focus in the race and I had to work really hard that last lap to get that top-three spot, which was an automatic qualifier spot. But I just knew that I didn't want to miss out on this opportunity and be able to represent Ole Miss at this level. Coming to this meet is fun and it's an honor, and just having the trust and confidence in my kick has been very instrumental this season."


ON HER EXPERIENCE AS A RETURNING NCAA QUALIFIER

"Last year was my first year here, and you don't realize how overwhelming it is being here. Warmups are different, the crowd is crazy, there's a ton of people, a ton of talent, and I just remember last year being a little scared. This year, I just have the confidence to know that, yes, I do belong here and I'm going to do well."


ON HER INCREASED SUCCESS IN THE STEEPLE THIS SEASON

"This year, I redshirted indoors, so I had pretty much four months straight of really hard training. Just coming off of that and having that big of a base has given me confidence coming into this outdoor track season. I'm strong than I've ever been before, I've never trained like this, I've never had workouts like this, so being able to do all that is fun. A lot of the strength I've developed has come with confidence."


ON COMPETING IN THE FINAL MEET AT HAYWARD FIELD

"Hayward Field as an athlete, you just dream of it. Prefontaine has run here, such legends have been here. The Olympic Trials were here two years ago. There's such a rich history at Hayward Field, so being able to be here and be part of the `Hayward Magic' is truly an honor and truly something I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity to do."

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Janeah Stewart | Women's Shot Put Finals | Thurs., June 7 | 8:10 p.m. CT

Class:
Senior

Hometown / High School:
Calumet City, Ill. / Thornwood HS

Event:
Shot Put (Flight 1)

Regional Finish:
1st, 17.50m/57-05.00

Season-Best:
17.97m/58-11.50 (SEC Outdoor Championships, May 12)

Overall Career-Best:
17.97m/58-11.50 (No. 2 all-time at Ole Miss)

Nationals History:
Three-time First-Team All-American; 5th in the shot put in 2017

Quick Fact:
Regional mark was No. 9 in East Region meet history


ON HER QUALIFYING PERFORMANCE IN THE SHOT PUT AT THE EAST REGIONAL

"Coming into the meet, I was just trying to qualify for nationals on the first throw. I was just trying to not psyche myself out because I only had three throws, so I was just taking it one throw at a time. When the first throw wasn't good I didn't freak myself out, I just kept calming myself down and motivating myself. Coach Connie told me to get angry, and that's what I did and came in first."


ON WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A GOOD DOUBLER

"It just takes a lot of preparation. You just have to believe in yourself ... You just have to be at a really, really high level in all three events or two events to get to this level, because this is a very talented meet. It's always amazing to get here for one event, but with two or three events it's awesome."


ON HER LEGACY AT OLE MISS

"Now that I'm here, it's getting sadder and sadder that I have to say goodbye to college athletics. But looking back on my two years, and even my last year at junior college, I never in a million years would have expected myself to be this good and in the position I am right now. I'm just thankful for the opportunity that I'm able to be here at a Division I school and competing at the national meet."


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Cullen Prena | Men's Discus Finals | Fri., June 8 | 7:05 p.m. CT

Class:
Graduate Student

Hometown / High School:
West Bloomfield, Mich. / Walled Lake Central HS

Event:
Discus (Flight 1)
Regional Finish: 10th, 54.37m/178-04
Season-Best: 56.28m/184-08 (Ole Miss Classic, March 31)
Overall Career-Best: 56.28m/184-08 (No. 3 all-time at Ole Miss)
Nationals History: 2017 NCAA Qualifier at Oregon in the hammer
Quick Fact: Prena completed his undergrad at the University of Oregon, and has already completed an accelerated MBA program at Ole Miss

ON HAVING TO WAIT OUT THE FINAL FLIGHT AT THE REGIONAL MEET

"Anytime you throw in the flight before the last flight, there's going to be a little bit of anticipation. Basically, what I talked about with Coach John was that if I placed in the top one or two in my flight that I would have a good chance, especially if I win the flight. I just had to go in with a little bit of confidence. It's very stressful sitting through those 16 throwers in the last flight to see if you got your ticket or not, but it was a feeling of relief. I think one of the big things as well from this season was that I wasn't so much hoping to make nationals, but more so that I needed to make nationals. I made it last year, and it was expected of myself. I think I went into the regional meet with that kind of mentality, and I came out happy."


ON HIS YEAR AS A GRAD TRANSFER AT OLE MISS

"It's been fantastic, better than I could have ever imagined. I'm extremely thankful for the whole crew at Ole Miss to have gotten me down there and throwing and got me my MBA. It's been tough, obviously, doing grad school with track ... It's been tough, but it's been a fantastic year. I've been training with some of the greatest throwers in the world, and you can't beat it."


ON COMPETING IN THE FINAL MEET AT HAYWARD FIELD, ESPECIALLY AS AN OREGON ALUM

"It's a shame that they're going to be taking down all this history and all the incredible performances that have been here, but at the same time we're trying to push United States Track & Field further into the future, and I think that the new track will do exactly that. It's an incredible opportunity. I'm super excited to be here for this final track meet here at Oregon."


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Brian Williams | Men's Discus Finals | Fri., June 8 | 7:05 p.m. CT

Class:
Senior

Hometown / High School:
Warren, Mich. / Fraser HS

Event:
Discus (Flight 2)

Regional Finish:
1st, 60.34m/197-11

Season-Best:
61.54m/201-11 (LSU Invite, April 28)

Overall Career-Best:
65.13m/213-08 (school record from 2017 SEC Championships; No. 5 in the U.S. and No. 15 worldwide in 2017)

Nationals History:
First-Team All-American in the discus in 2017 (4th place)

Quick Fact:
Also the fourth-place finisher in the discus at the 2017 USA Championships


ON HIS WIN AT THE REGIONAL MEET

"I had some jitters going into the meet. I had a foul in round one, so I took a deep breath and said I got this, I've been in this situation before. I took an easy second round throw and got a pretty good mark, figured that would hold up. And then the last round, I just kind of got after it. I ended up with a pretty nice mark, I'm proud that it held up to be the best mark out of both regions, and that gives me a little confidence coming into this meet."


ON HIS PRIOR EXPERIENCE AT THE NATIONAL MEET

"It definitely teaches you how to compete under pressure. Coming here last year and having what happened happen definitely prepared me for this year. Going into that situation and knowing what you have to do, you only have a few throws to make something happen. I was glad I was able to come out last year and experience the high pressure and actually do something rather than foul out or waste the meet. I'm looking to do more this year and build on what I did as a junior."


ON HIS LEGACY AT OLE MISS

"I didn't really think it was going to me so hard for me after just two years here. It really does kind of grab you, being a collegiate athlete, and you don't realize how quick the time can actually go. I had two years here, but over the four years it's really been a fast ride. I'm glad I was able to come in and do what I've done as a Rebel ... I'm really glad I had the opportunity, I'm proud of it. I want to thank Coach Connie and Coach John for allowing me to come in and do what I've done."


ON COMPETING IN THE FINAL MEET AT HAYWARD FIELD

"It means a lot. Every track athlete I think in the world kind of views Hayward Field as such a historic place that's so rich in tradition. It's kind of rough to see it change and go. A lot of athletes just want to run on the track that Pre ran on, or throw in the discus ring that Mac Wilkins threw in when he was an athlete here. It just means a lot to the track world, and it's a staple of Eugene. It's going to be hard to see it go, but the new stadium is obviously going to bring more, so it's kind of cool to see one last hurrah here before it's over."


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


 

 

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