Ole Miss Cross Country wins South Regional, now head to NCAA Championships

Posted on Nov 13 2018 - 5:50am by Chance Robertson

The Ole Miss Rebels Men’s Cross-Country team won the NCAA South Regional championship after placing three runners in the top 10 over the weekend. The Rebels now head to the NCAA Championships on Nov. 17 in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Ole Miss Rebels Women’s Cross-Country team will be in Madison as well as an at-large team following its third-place performance at Regionals. Their top five runners all finished in the top 26 with four of the five receiving All-Region honors.

Members of the Mens Cross Country team celebrate after winning their first SEC championship in school history in October. Photo courtesy: Petre Thomas/Ole Miss Athletics

The men had a rather dominant performance finishing with less than half of the points scored by second-place Florida State, who finished with 92 points. Junior Farah Abdulkarim, sophomore Waleed Suliman and senior Mark Robertson led the charge for the Rebels with top 10 finishes and times of 31:30 or better.

Freshman duo Mario Garcia Romo and Cade Bethmann rounded out the top five for Ole Miss and finished 13th and 15th, respectively. All of the top five Rebels received All-Region honors and finished sub 31:50 or better.

This was the first 10k race of the year for the men’s team, and the team will hope for a similarly dominating performance next week at the championships.

“I think that was the main goal for us at the regional,” head coach Ryan Vanhoy said after winning the South Regional. “Let’s get in the race, get adjusted to running 10K for the first time all year and use this as a dress rehearsal for next week.”

The women’s team was led by sophomore Clio Ozanne-Jaques who finished fifth overall, the best finish at a regional in program history in the women’s 6k and had a time of 20:34.

Freshman Lisa Vogelgesang came in 14th and the rest of the Rebel scorers finished within 12 seconds of her 21:00. Maddie King and Ylvi Traxler both finished in the top 25 with Maddie McHugh falling just one spot shy of a top 25 finish at 26th .

This will be the third consecutive season for the Rebels that both the men’s and women’s teams will be heading to the NCAA Championships, making Ole Miss one of nine programs to achieve this feat for three years in a row. Ole Miss will look to make it three straight years with both teams finishing in the top 25.

The program has become one of the best in the nation under coach Vanhoy, who was recently named the SEC Men’s Coach of the Year. Vanhoy has established a winning culture at Ole Miss. The men won the SEC Championships and South Regionals this year, and the women finished top three at those competitions.

“It’s a great feeling to be returning to the NCAA Championship with both teams for the third year in a row,” Vanhoy said. “The athletes have invested a lot into this season, so it’s exciting to be able to finish it together in Madison next weekend.”