The Ole Miss cross country program has dominated its meets all season, and both the men’s and women’s teams are set to compete in the NCAA Cross Country Championship in Terre Haute, Indiana, on Saturday.
The Rebels are one of only seven programs to have both teams qualify for the national meet in each of the last four seasons. Their consistently strong performance this year also resulted in several SEC season honors.
Associate head coach Ryan Vanhoy was named SEC Men’s Coach of the Year while Skylar Boogerd and Cole Bullock were tabbed as the Women’s and Men’s Freshman of the Year, respectively. Vanhoy was also named U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) South Region Men’s Coach of the Year.
Bollock finished ninth in the SEC Championships to help the men win their second consecutive conference title by a margin of 55 points.
Boogered is the first Rebel to win SEC Women’s Freshman of the Year. The Tennessee native finished 19th in the SEC Championships with the team finishing runner-up.
Among other awards are first team All-SEC runners Waleed Suliman, Farah Abdulkarim and Cade Bethmann. Bullock and and Micheal Coccia were named to the second team All-SEC and Jack Filan to SEC All-Freshman. Victoria Simmons ran her way into the Women’s second team All-SEC.
The men and women also finished first and second respectively in the NCAA South Regional on Nov. 15 to qualify for nationals. The squads will look for the same magic in the Cross Country Championships at the Lavern Gibson Championship Course this weekend. The men’s team will enter the meet ranked No. 9, and the women’s team will be No. 23.
“There are 255 individuals in the race,” Vanhoy said. “It’s one of the best cross country races in the world — probably outside of maybe the world championships. It’s very difficult to win that race.”
Though the Rebels will face their toughest test of the semester, Vanhoy said he is confident his squad will deliver this weekend.
“This year, we have a few guys that probably have the opportunity to be an All-American.” he said. “That’s probably a better way to gauge an individual goal for some members on our team, but to win the whole thing would be very difficult.”
The men’s and women’s teams finished 17th and 22nd respectively in last year’s national meet.
The NCAA championships starts this Saturday at 10:15 a.m, and the women’s and men’s teams will be making a run at finishing in a top spot in the nation.