Ole Miss Men's and Women's Track snd Field Teams to Open Outdoor Season on Saturday with the Mississippi Open

March 18, 1998

OXFORD, Miss. -- The Ole Miss men's and women's track and field teams will open their outdoor seasons on Saturday, Mar. 21, as they will host the Mississippi Open at the Ole Miss Track and Field Complex. Meridian Community College, Rhodes College and Southern Illinois, along with individual athletes from other teams, will be competing in Saturday's meet.

The meet begins at 11:00 a.m. with the field events. The running events will start at 11:30 a.m.

"We are looking forward to beginning our outdoor season on Saturday," said Ole Miss head coach Joe Walker. "We had a good indoor season, and we hope to build on that in the outdoor campaign. As always, we will use this first meet to see where we stand and continue to improve each week as we head toward the SEC and NCAA championships. At this point, we have a couple of our athletes who have injuries, but for the most part, we are ready to start the season."

Sophomore Larry Henderson is one of the injured athletes for the Rebels as they begin the outdoor season. Henderson, a distance runner from San Diego, Calif., has a sprained ankle and will be out of action on Saturday. In the indoor season, Henderson placed sixth (4:15.61) in the mile run at the SEC Championships and recorded a personal-best 8:27.16 in the 3000 meters at the LSU Seven Team Invitational on Jan. 24. Senior Alonzo Banks, who suffered a hamstring injury prior to the indoor season, will redshirt this year and will complete his collegiate eligibility in 1998-99. The Liberty, Miss., native won the SEC 400 meters title two years ago and placed second in the event at last year's SEC Championships.

The Ole Miss men's squad, however, has plenty of firepower to open the season on Saturday. Junior Jimmy Love returns to lead the Rebels, who had their highest team finish (7th place) at the SEC Championships last year since 1993. Love, who finished third in the 400 meters at the SEC Championships last season, had a solid indoor season in 1998 as he provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 400 meters with a personal-best time of 47.30 seconds. The field events should also prove strong for the Rebels this season with the return of senior Sylvester Houston (Brandon, Miss.) and junior Marcus Jones (Okolona, Miss.).

At last year's SEC Championships, Houston placed second in the pole vault, whileJones finished seventh in both the triple and high jumps. Jones also performed well for Ole Miss in the indoor campaign in 1998, placing fifth in the triple jump with a personal-best mark of 50-9 3/4 at the SEC Indoor Championships. Freshman Savante' Stringfellow (Jackson, Miss.) will join Jones in the jumps, giving Ole Miss more depth in those events. Stringfellow set personal bests in the high and long jumps during the Rebels' indoor season.

On the women's side, sophomore Tisha Parker and freshman Emily Fontenot will be the Lady Rebels' top performers heading into the outdoor season. Parker, a Houston, Texas native, set school outdoor records in the long and triple jumps as a freshman in 1997 and is looking to build on her outstanding first-year performance. Parker, who placed fifth in the triple jump at the 1997 SEC Outdoor Championships, set a school record in the indoor long jump with a mark of 20-2 1/4 at the conference's championship meet on Feb. 28. A Louisiana All-State performer in high school, Fontenot has made an immediate impact on the Lady Rebel squad. During the indoor season, Fontenot set a school record in the high jump with a mark of 5-9 1/4 and placed seventh at the SEC Championships. Senior Gwen Evans (Gunnison, Miss.) returns to lead the sprints. Last year, Evans was a member of the 400-meter and 1600-meter relay teams that finished sixth and seventh, respectively, at the SEC Championships. Freshman Brandy Mack was the Lady Rebels' top middle distance performer in the indoor season, setting the team's top times in the 400 and 800 meters. Senior Susie Haverlah and junior Leah White will be counted upon to provide leadership for the women's squad in the distance events. Haverlah had a solid indoor season as she posted a personal-best time of 5:30.91 in the mile run, while White was the Lady Rebels' top performer during the cross country campaign last fall.

Following the season-opening meet on Saturday, the Ole Miss men's and women's teams will compete in the Alabama Relays on Mar. 28-29 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

 

 

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