The Rebels’ 2017 outdoor track season is off to a roaring start. In its first four meets, the team has set personal and school records while claiming some of the best marks in the NCAA this year.
Ole Miss opened the season by hosting the Joe Walker Invitational where both teams – men and women – had impressive first showings. For the Rebel men, Brian Williams set a school record and NCAA best mark with his winning discus throw of 60.35 meters. Dempsey McGuigan took the title for men’s hammer toss and claimed the fourth best mark in the NCAA with his 66.94 meter throw, while Peyton Moss won the men’s decathlon.
For the Lady Rebels, Raven Saunders opened the season with a discus win, claiming the seventh best mark this year, and shot put win, where her throw of 18.51 meters set a facility record. The women also claimed titles in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints, the 4x100m relay, high jump and pole vault.
As March drew to a close, the team looked poised for another impressive showing at the Pepsi Florida Relays, and the 13th-ranked men and 23rd-ranked women did not disappoint. The team set two school records, 19 personal bests and added even more NCAA best marks to a growing resume.
Williams broke his previous discus record with a colossal, meet-best spin of 60.95 meters. McGuigan also broke his personal best with a hammer throw of 69.45 meters, enough to secure a fourth-place finish. Craig Engels, Derek Gutierrez and Kevin Conway each had impressive showings in the 800-meter, 1,600-meter and discus, respectively.
Janeah Stewart also had an exceptional meet, setting personal bests in all three throwing events. She broke her previous school record in hammer throw while moving up to second in school history with two tremendous throws in discus and shot put. Lightning-fast times from Maddie McHugh in the 800-meter, Jolie Carbo in the 400-meter, and both the 4×400 and the 4×100 meter relay teams threatened long-standing school records.
The tough competition in Florida readied competitors for another long weekend at the Tennessee Relays. The now 15th-ranked men and 18th-ranked women set one school record, two NCAA second-best times and celebrated nine personal bests in what coach Connie Price-Smith called “a good meet.”
For the third straight weekend, Williams broke his own record in discus by 7 inches with a throw of 61.13 meters. Stewart continued her success in Tennessee by setting a personal best in the shot put with a national second-best toss while also placing third in women’s discus. The women’s 4×100 meter relay team of Nicole Henderson, Shannon Ray, Deanna Tate and Breanna Tate received second place, and Callie Watson’s personal record in pole vault secured her fifth place.
The team left Tennessee satisfied and eager for major competition at the Mt. SAC Relays in California the following week. The now 14th-ranked men and 15th-ranked women traveled to West Coast to face some of the nation’s best track and field competitors. School records seemed to topple after strong performances by McGuigan (hammer throw), Mary Alex England (5,000-meter run) and Shelby Brown (3,000-meter steeplechase).
Stewart and Williams continued to find throwing success with top collegiate marks and an overall second-place finish in women’s shot put and fourth-place finish in discus, respectively. Watson, continuing her pole vault success, placed fifth. Jolie Carbo placed eighth in the 400-meter race, and the women’s 4×400 relay team flew to a sixth-place finish.
As the outdoor season presses on, Rebel track teams continue to shine. Both the men and women remain nationally ranked, thanks to a slew of broken personal, school and collegiate records. The team now turns its attention to the Auburn War Eagle Invitational this coming weekend.