The Ole Miss men’s cross country team claimed their title as back-to-back conference champions with a dominant victory in the SEC Championship over the weekend.
The No. 11 Rebels traveled to Kentucky and produced the largest margin of victory in the race since 2015, bringing home the second title in program history.
“We came in with the idea that we needed to dominate in the race,” All-American Waleed Suliman said. “We needed to make a statement that our team is no joke and we’re here to stay, for many years to come.”
The Rebel men had a commanding finish on Friday. All five of the scoring runners placed in the top 15 with four Rebels placing in the top 10 individually. Suliman was the top Rebel finisher, placing third overall with a time of 22:55.5 in the 8K race. Suliman was just 0.1 behind the second place Alabama runner.
Not far behind Suliman was senior Farah Abdulkarim, finishing fourth overall at 22:59.4. Cade Bethmann came in at sixth overall at 23:07.8. Suliman, Abdulkarim and Bethmann earned SEC-First Team honors with their top finishes.
“(We’re) obviously very happy to win,” said Ole Miss associate head cross country coach Ryan Vanhoy. “Any time you have a chance to win a conference championship, that’s not something you should ever take lightly. I knew coming in we had an opportunity to establish our program with two-straight. Hopefully a precursor for many years to come.”
Cole Bullock finished ninth at 23:20.1. Bullock was the Top SEC Freshman, the highest ranked freshman to finish in the race. Michael Coccia wrapped up the team at 13th overall with a time of 23:22.7. Bullock and Coccia earned SEC-Second Team honors.
Ole Miss finished with 35 points, placing third, fourth, sixth, ninth and 13th overall, 55 points ahead of second place Alabama, who finished with 90. The Rebels also finished with an average time of 23:09, 21 seconds faster than the runner-up Alabama.
The other Rebels to compete were Mario Garcia, finishing 21st at 23:32.8, Parker Scott finishing 24th at 23:36.4, Dalton Hengst finishing 25 th at 23:40.2, Robinson Snider finishing 32nd at 23:57.6 and Jack Filan finishing 38th at 24:07.5.
The Rebels will now prepare for the NCAA South Regional in Tallahassee, Florida, on Nov.15, in hopes of reaching the final NCAA Championships on Nov. 23.