OXFORD, Miss. - Following a 2010 season that saw Ole Miss Cross Country achieve some of the best results in school history, the Rebel men and women look to carry that momentum into a promising 2011 campaign.
Ole Miss' collection of long-distance runners reported to campus on Aug. 16 and has looked good according to track and field associate head coach Doug Blackwell, who oversees the cross country teams.
The teams continue to prepare for their season debut at the Memphis Twilight Classic on Sept. 3 in Memphis, Tenn.
"Everybody's looking pretty good," Blackwell said. "We only have a couple of people with some nagging things. We get back the core group of women from last year when we had one of our best years but were really young. We add some new people who should come in and put some pressure on the returnees, so we're in really good shape on the women's side. We take a big loss on the men's side with Barnabas Kirui, but we expect the other men to step up and give us a solid team this year."
Senior Logan Waites and junior Katie Breathitt will lead the women's team in 2011. Waites was the top finisher at every meet for the Rebels a year ago and earned the highest SEC finish by a female in school history when she took 16th place. Breathitt made an immediate impact in her first ever attempt at competitive running (she was previously a member of the Ole Miss soccer team for two years). She took 29th place at the SEC Championships.
Between the two, they hold the majority of the Ole Miss long-distance records in indoor and outdoor track, as well as cross country.
"Logan and Katie both have the chance to finish among the top 10 or 15 at SECs, which would be higher than anyone here before," Blackwell said.
"We're looking forward to our best year ever in women's cross country," Blackwell said.
The Rebel men lose three-time SEC Cross Country champion Barnabas Kirui, who became only the fourth runner in league history to earn that distinction last year. He helped Ole Miss place fifth in the conference a year ago, the team's highest since 1996.
The Rebels return a pair of talented Kenyans, however, in senior Martin Kirui (Barnabas' brother) and sophomore Kipchirchir Kiptoo. Martin Kirui was an All-SEC second team and All-South Regional honoree last year. The former SEC steeplechase champion placed 14th at the SEC Championships and 18th at the NCAA South Regional and was Ole Miss' second finisher at every meet. Kiptoo earned SEC All-Freshman accolades after his 25th-place showing at the SECs.
"If Martin steps up to plate, he could finish in the top one, two or three in the conference," Blackwell said. "Kipchirchir had a good freshman year, and we're expecting him to do even better this season."
Other returnees who have had good offseasons and will be counted on in 2011 include sophomore Loren Newsom and junior Riley Young. Several more will compete for a spot in the top five.
In a poll released by the league office this week, the SEC Coaches picked Ole Miss to finish eighth in men's and women's this year.
Senior quarterback Bo Wallace, like his head coach, stepped into a program that had won just two games in 2011 and had lost 14 straight games. Three years later, Wallace helped lead the ninth-ranked Rebels to their first nine-win regular... read more
Official welcome to Chad Kelly, the No. 1 JUCO QB in the country from national champion East Mississippi CC. #HottyToddy-- Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) December 17, 2014 Just Sent My LOI In To The University Of Mississippi!!! Feel's Good To... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewDec. 8-14, 2014Women's Basketball- The Ole Miss women's basketball team rebounded with a 88-48 win over South Alabama on Sunday. The win was the first after back-to-back losses for the Rebels for the first time... read more
Ole Miss Details Stadium Expansion Plans Ole Miss unveiled the master plan for Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, which includes two phases of renovation and expansion. Scheduled for completion by the start of the 2016 season, the expansion will bring the seating capacity... read more
With final exam week on the Ole Miss campus, there was not much game action, but there's still plenty to talk about, as Ole Miss finalized salary increases for head football coach Hugh Freeze and his staff, and the football... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewDec. 1-7, 2014Football- No. 9 Ole Miss accepted an invitation to play in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, where they will face No. 6 TCU on Dec. 31 in Atlanta's Georgia Dime.- Ole Miss is making... read more
While the Rebels have enjoyed a solid fall on the fields and courts and look forward to the upcoming Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and more basketball games, all student-athletes are busy this week proving they are champions in the classroom... read more
In the early part of the week, Athletics Director Ross Bjork and head football coach Hugh Freeze reached an agreement on a new contract. In the late part of the week, the Rebels learned their postseason bowl destination. Here are... read more
Ole Miss continued its strong bounce-back from a season-opening loss to Charleston Southern, improving to 5-1 on the season and knocking off two previously unbeaten opponents in No. 23 Creighton and Cincinnati to capture the inaugural Emerald Coast Classic. "We... read more
Athletics Director Ross Bjork and head football coach Hugh Freeze reached an agreement on a new contract, they both announced on Twitter early Tuesday morning. Terms will be released as they are finalized and are expected in the coming days.... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review Nov. 24-30, 2014Football- No. 18 Ole Miss won the annual "Egg Bowl" rivalry 31-17 over No. 4 Mississippi State in front of another sold-out crowd at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday afternoon.- The Rebels finish the... read more
Ole Miss collected a lot of hardware over the weekend, as the football team reclaimed the Egg Bowl trophy and the men's and women's basketball returned home with regular-season tournament championship. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week... read more