EUGENE, Ore. -- Ole Miss will have a large presence in Track Town USA this week.
The Rebels boast a school-record 14 qualifiers and 17 athletes who will compete at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships this Wednesday-Saturday at historic Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus.
New this year, the championships will be split into the men's competition (Wednesday, Friday) and women's competition (Thursday, Saturday). Broadcast schedule is as follows: Wednesday 6-9:30 p.m. CT (ESPNU), Thursday 6-7:30 p.m. (ESPNU), Thursday 7:30-9:30 p.m. (ESPN), Friday 6:30-9 p.m. (ESPN), Saturday 4-6:30 p.m. (ESPN2). There will be live field/combined event coverage on ESPN3 all four days.
In his third season as head coach, Ole Miss alum Brian O'Neal and his staff have bolstered the depth of talent in the program. The 10 male athletes to make the championships is a school record, while the total of seven female athletes ranks third in school history. Of the 17 total athletes, only two are seniors, while there are six juniors, five sophomores and four freshmen.
"I think we've set ourselves up for the opportunity to have a really good weekend for us," O'Neal said. "We've qualified well. We've got nine events on the men's side, which I believe is 11th-best of all NCAA squads. We're excited to get there with this young group and see exactly what we can do."
Miller will run the 100 meters and 4x100-meter relay in Eugene. He was SEC runner-up (by .007 of a second) with a personal-best time of 10.12 that ranks him third in school history and 21st among all Americans this season. The Tunica, Mississippi, native has been phenomenal as a sophomore, winning the SEC indoor 60-meter title and placing third at the NCAA Indoor Championships. He is making his second straight appearance at NCAA Outdoors, having run on the Rebels' 4x100-meter relay unit in Eugene last year, as well.
Engels' first season with the Rebels after transferring from NC State has been special. He is running the 800 meters in Eugene, an event in which he ranks top five in the NCAA and eighth among all Americans. His time of 1:46.13 at the LSU Invitational last month is the second-best ever at Ole Miss behind former NCAA champion George Kersh's 1:44.07 in 1991. He and Holland Sherrer are the first Rebels to qualify for NCAA Outdoors in the 800 since Kersh. Engels will not contest the 1500 meters, in which he also ranks top 10 in the NCAA with a school-record 3:40.28. He was SEC runner-up in the indoor mile and a member of the Rebels' SEC champion distance medley relay team.
Domanic and Gilley are the first Rebels to ever qualify for nationals in the 1500. They are making their NCAA outdoor debuts along with Engels, Aguirre, Greene, Burdette and Brown. Semien competed in the 110 hurdles last year and earned second team All-America status from the USTFCCCA.
Feldmeier, a true freshman from Olympia, Washington, was crowned SEC champion in the 800 meters in Starkville last month after a dramatic final lap in which she caught and passed at least five runners. At the NCAA East Preliminary, she broke her own school record with a time of 2:03.13, which ranks her top 15 in the NCAA this year. The SEC Women's Freshman Runner of the Year for both indoor and outdoor season, Feldmeier placed eighth in the 800 at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.
In her fifth year on the team, McDonald has enjoyed a career year in the heptathlon. She broke the school record twice this season, most recently with a score of 5,736 points at the Virginia Challenge. That ranks her 14th in the NCAA and 19th among Americans this year. She placed sixth against the uber-competitive field of SEC heptathletes in Starkville. The Middletown, Ohio, native will be making her second appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, having also advanced in 2012.
Ray is the first Ole Miss woman to qualify in the 200 since Willisa Heintz in 2002. Kelly is the first Rebel freshman ever to qualify for the championships as a multi-event athlete. The Rebels qualified in the women's 4x100 relay for the first time since 2011 and the seventh time in program history.
All of the Ole Miss women other than McDonald are making their first career appearances at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Additionally, three Rebels are alternates for the relays. The men's alternate is Dameon Morgan, while the women's alternates are Jhorden Hunter and Deanna Tate. Before being injured at the SEC Championships, Hunter had run the anchor leg for the women and helped them shatter the school record with a time of 43.80 at the LSU Invitational that ranks them ninth in the nation this year.
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