Both the men’s and women’s Ole Miss cross country teams sit in the top 25 in the week three rankings of a leading National Coaches Poll. These jumps in rankings were the result of impressive performances by both Rebel teams at Boston College’s Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown last Friday.
Earlier this season, the Rebel men took home first place at the SEC Preview and finished 10th at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic, and the women finished second at the SEC Preview and fifth at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic.
After not receiving any votes the past two weeks, Women’s Cross Country jumped all the way to No. 18. This is the team’s 14th appearance in the polls and its first since the final regular poll of the 2017 season, in which the Rebels sat at No. 20. Men’s Cross Country jumped to No. 20, making this the team’s 21st consecutive appearance in the polls and its fourth consecutive year breaking into the top 20. This is the 13th time in program history both teams have been ranked in the same poll.
“It’s great that we have both teams being recognized in the polls,” associate head cross country coach Ryan Vanhoy said. “We don’t usually focus too much on rankings as a program, but it’s cool to see that others are recognizing our body of work down here in Oxford.”
The Rebel women took first place at the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown, topping several ranked teams, including Georgia Tech, Utah, Minnesota, Dartmouth, Syracuse and Providence. In her first career race, redshirt freshman Lisa Vogelgesang led the Rebels, earning the 10th-fastest 5K time, 17:33.5, in a field of more than 200 runners. Sophomore Maddie King was right behind her in 11th place, with a time of 17:34.0. The women also had others finishing in the top 25, with Yiva Traxler taking 23rd overall and Victoria Simmons finishing 25th.
The Rebel men took third place in Boston, beating out several ranked opponents, including No. 12 Campbell and No. 17 Virginia. They were seven points from second place, behind Washington. In his first race, Rebel newcomer Farah Abdulkarim led the Rebels with the fourth-fastest time in the race — 24:08.50. Other Rebels finishing in the top 25 were Waleed Suliman, who took 10th overall, and Mark Robertson, who took 14th overall.
“Both teams are relying heavily on younger athletes this season,” Vanhoy said. “Even though we graduated a large group of upperclassmen on both sides last year, we’ve continued on with a new group of athletes who are committed to taking our program to even greater heights in the future.”
The Rebels will have two weeks off before heading up to Madison, Wisconsin, for the Pre-Nationals Invitational on Oct. 13. The Rebel men and women will be put to the test at this meet, as they will be competing against most of the nation’s top-ranked teams. This will be their last meet before the SEC Championships in Auburn, Alabama, on Oct. 26.
“Our main goals as a cross country program are to always be in the mix at the SEC Championships and to advance to the NCAA Championships each season,” Vanhoy said. “Those are the main metrics of success for our group.”