Ole Miss Men, Women Race to History at NCAA XC Championships
Coach Ryan Vanhoy celebrates with his teams after their historic performances at the 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Nov. 19, 2016


Men's 10K Results | Women's 6K Results | Photo Gallery

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Temperatures were in the mid-30s with wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour, but none of that could deter the Ole Miss men's and women's cross country teams from racing to their best finishes in school history at the NCAA Championships on Saturday.

The women led off the day by running to a 23rd-place result in their first NCAA team appearance, and the men capped the afternoon in dramatic fashion by catapulting to a fourth-place finish with a late surge by several of its top-five individuals at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.

The men's fourth place is the best national finish by any Ole Miss sports team since baseball made the semifinals of the 2014 College World Series.

Ole Miss is one of 12 schools to place both its men and women in the top 25 of the cross country team standings.

"We came out here to put together a strong showing with both our men's and women's teams, and to place top 25 on both sides is a big accomplishment for our program," said fourth-year coach Ryan Vanhoy, the USTFCCCA South Region Men's Coach of the Year. "I'm so proud of the way our girls and guys fought hard in tough conditions to make it a historic day for the Ole Miss Rebels."

Senior MJ Erb ran with the lead pack through the entire race and finished sixth with a 10K time of 29:58.5 (average mile of 4:49.6). It's the second-best individual result in school history behind Barnabas Kirui's fourth-place showing in 2009. Blood ran down both legs as Erb crossed the finish line, thanks to being spiked by multiple runners while he stayed inside the crowd to keep away from the wind. He improved by 181 spots from his result of 187th at last year's championships.

The next across the line was senior Wesley Gallagher in 39th (30:26.4), who picked off about 15 runners over the home stretch to finish in the top 40.

Erb and Gallagher are the second and third cross country All-Americans in school history. All-America honors are granted to the top-40 finishers at the national meet.

Vanhoy said the Rebels couldn't have placed so high as a team if it wasn't for those All-American finishers, but it was also the gritty efforts by the next three Rebels that pushed Ole Miss up the team standings. Senior Robert Domanic crossed the line in 55th (30:34.5), followed by junior Sean Tobin in 62nd (30:36.9) and senior Craig Engels in 90th (30:49.1).

All five of the Ole Miss scorers produced personal-best NCAA individual finishes.

"We thought the first 1000 meters or so would go out really fast and then everybody would settle in, and that's what happened," Vanhoy said. "I knew MJ could be in the top 10, and it was great to see how he worked the race all the way to the finish line. Our team has been through a lot in cross country the last couple of years, and I am so proud of the way they have trained and competed to get to this level.

"Our guys came in ranked 11th, and we just wanted to beat our ranking. We did that."

Northern Arizona won the men's team title, followed by Stanford, Syracuse and the Rebels.

It was an impressive result for an Ole Miss team making its third straight NCAA appearance, the first three in school history. The men were 29th in 2014 and 30th last year before this year's monumental result.

After placing runner-up behind Arkansas at the Southeastern Conference Championships, Ole Miss finished ahead of the Razorbacks by one spot in Terre Haute.

In the women's first team appearance at the NCAA Championships, the Rebels held their own against a very strong field. Senior Bo Ummels led the way, crossing in 71st with a 6K time of 20:41.7. Her twin sister, senior Britt Ummels, was 95th in 20:49.6. The rest of the top five went junior Shelby Brown (122nd, 20:55.7), junior Emily Bean (169th, 21:10.6) and senior Mary Alex England (184th, 21:19.2).

The Rebel women cap off an historic season in which they had their best SEC finish (2nd), NCAA South Region finish (2nd) and NCAA Championships finish (23rd). With the top five or six runners at a similar quality of talent, they utilized a pack mentality that kept them remarkably consistent throughout the year.  

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

MEN'S TEAM STANDINGS
1. Northern Arizona - 125
2. Stanford -- 158
3. Syracuse -- 164
4. Ole Miss -- 196
5. Arkansas -- 206
6. Colorado -- 223
7. BYU -- 247
8. Wisconsin -- 256
9. Oregon -- 282
10. Iona -- 319
11. Tulsa -- 340
12. Oklahoma State -- 363
13. Portland -- 368
14. Washington State -- 370
15. UCLA -- 378
16. Iowa State -- 384
17. Colorado State -- 388
18. Virginia -- 476
19. Boise State -- 478
20. Michigan State -- 504
21. Georgetown -- 534
22. NC State -- 543
23. Illinois -- 564
24. Providence -- 611
25. Dartmouth -- 621
26. Navy -- 622
27. Southern Utah -- 629
28. Middle Tennessee -- 697
29. UTEP -- 707
30. Texas -- 736
31. California -- 776

OLE MISS MEN INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
6. MJ Erb -- 29.58.5 (All-America)
39. Wesley Gallagher -- 30:26.4 (All-America)
55. Robert Domanic -- 30:34.5
62. Sean Tobin -- 30:36.9
90. Craig Engels -- 30:49.1
162. Derek Gutierrez -- 31:19.6
235. Mark Robertson -- 32:32.8

WOMEN'S TEAM STANDINGS
1. Oregon -- 125
2. Michigan -- 126
3. Colorado -- 134
4. NC State -- 223
5. Stanford -- 255
6. San Francisco -- 307
7. New Mexico -- 310
8. Michigan State -- 314
9. Eastern Michigan -- 316
10. BYU -- 328
11. Notre Dame -- 338
12. Washington -- 352
13. Providence -- 399
14. Wisconsin -- 451
15. Mississippi State -- 459
16. Missouri -- 459
17. Oklahoma State -- 465
18. Penn State -- 465
19. Arkansas -- 476
20. Utah -- 493
21. Villanova -- 505
22. Portland -- 509
23. Ole Miss -- 514
24. Penn -- 520
25. Air Force -- 527
26. Harvard -- 551
27. Baylor -- 586
28. UCLA -- 596
29. Iowa State -- 608
30. Yale -- 661
31. Louisville -- 788

OLE MISS WOMEN INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
71. Bo Ummels -- 20:41.7
95. Britt Ummels -- 20:49.6
122. Shelby Brown -- 20:55.7
169. Emily Bean -- 21:10.6
184. Mary Alex England -- 21:19.2
193. Hannah Christen -- 21:23.5
198. Anna Braswell -- 21:26.7


 

 

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