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Ole Miss Men and Women Finish Top 10 in USTFCCCA Program of the Year Races
Under second-year head coach Connie Price-Smith, the Ole Miss Track & Field and Cross Country program is soaring to new heights, seemingly by the minute.
Another historic moment came Tuesday, when the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced the final standings for the 2016-17 NCAA Division I Programs of the Year. Ole Miss is third in the final men’s standings and eighth on the women’s side, both the highest in school history.
“As a team, we have worked incredibly hard and have been very dedicated this season,” Price-Smith said. “I believe our overall finishes speak volumes to the work ethic and heart of this squad. I, as well as my staff, couldn’t be prouder of them.”
The USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Program of the Year Award is given annually to the most outstanding cross country and track & field programs in each gender. The award honors the institution that has achieved the most success in each academic year (spanning the cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field seasons) based on finishes at the NCAA Championships.
In order to be eligible for the award, teams must qualify for each of the NCAA Championships. Scoring is based on the team’s finish at those meets (1st = 1 point, 2nd = 2 points, etc.) and the team with the lowest combined score is crowned champion.
With 37 points, Ole Miss finished third behind Arkansas (14) and Oregon (21) in the men’s program of the year standings.
The 2016-17 season began with a bang for the men when the Rebels raced all the way to a fourth-place podium finish at the NCAA cross country meet. The previous best Ole Miss finish was 29th in 2014. They went on to place 12th at the NCAA Indoor Championships (including a national title in the distance medley relay) and 14th at the recent NCAA Outdoor Championships.
The Ole Miss women finished eighth among all schools (65.5 points), behind Oregon (3), Colorado (22) and others. The Rebels began the fall with their first appearance at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, placing 23rd. They went on to earn a program-best 12th-place result at NCAA Indoors (highlighted by a Raven Saunders collegiate record shot put performance) and then 29th place at NCAA Outdoors.
The women were eligible for USTFCCCA Program of the Year rankings for the first time. The men’s previous best finish was 15th last year.
John McDonnell Program of the Year Award (Men)
1. Arkansas (14)
2. Oregon (21)
3. Ole Miss (37)
4. Tulsa (39)
4. Virginia (39)
6. Georgetown (51.5)
7. Syracuse (58)
8. Colorado State (65.5)
9. Texas (67.5)
10. UTEP (77)
Terry Crawford Program of the Year Award (Women)
1. Oregon (3)
2. Colorado (22)
3. Arkansas (30)
3. Stanford (30)
5. Michigan (41.5)
5. Missouri (41.5)
7. Penn State (58.5)
8. Ole Miss (65.5)
9. BYU (74)
10. Mississippi State (77.5)
For more information on Ole Miss Track & Field and Cross Country, follow the Rebels on Twitter (@OleMissTrack), Facebook and Instagram.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports
Ole Miss Athletes Earn Eight All-America Honors At NCAA Outdoors
After some historic feats never before accomplished by Ole Miss track & field athletes at last week’s NCAA Outdoor Championships, the Rebels earned a total of eight All-America accolades announced Monday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
First-team honors went to those athletes from individual events and relay teams that finished first through eighth in Eugene, Oregon, while those who finished ninth through 16th nabbed second-team billing.
Ole Miss athletes earned All-America honors as follows:
First Team All-Americans
Craig Engels – 3rd place men’s 1500 meters (3:43.54)
MJ Erb – 4th place men’s 3000-meter steeplechase (8:32.38)
Raven Saunders – 4th place women’s shot put (17.47m/57-3.75)
Janeah Stewart – 5th place women’s shot put (17.42m/57-2)
Brian Williams – 4th place men’s discus (59.95m/196-8)
Second Team All-Americans
Dempsey McGuigan – 10th place men’s hammer throw (69.14m/226-10)
Janeah Stewart – 9th place women’s discus (54.81m/179-10)
Janeah Stewart – 10th place women’s hammer throw (63.30m/207-8)
The Ole Miss men finished in a tie for 14th in the final team standings, while the women were tied for 29th. It was the fourth-best men’s outdoor finish in Ole Miss history.
Engels, a senior from Pfafftown, North Carolina, earned first-team outdoor All-America status for the second straight year and became the Rebels’ highest finisher ever in the 1500 meters.
Erb, a senior from Farmington, New York, made first-team All-America in the steeplechase for the second straight year and produced the second-best result in school history behind Barnabas Kirui’s 2007 NCAA championship.
Saunders, a four-time NCAA champion in the shot put (two indoor, two outdoor), earned first team All-America distinction for the third straight year outdoors. The junior from Charleston, South Carolina, produced the second-best NCAA outdoor shot put result in school history behind her own victory from a year ago.
In her first NCAA outdoor meet, Stewart became the first Rebel woman to earn All-America distinction in three events, including first team in the shot put. The junior from Calumet City, Illinois, is the school’s first All-American female in both the discus and hammer throw.
Williams, another NCAA newcomer who hails from Warren, Michigan, earned first-team status with the best NCAA discus result (fourth place) in Ole Miss history.
McGuigan, a senior from London, U.K., made All-American in the hammer throw for the second straight year. His 69.14m/226-10 would have made the nine-man final in any other previous year at the championships. In fact, that mark would have placed second overall as recently as 2013.
Ole Miss now has 190 All-America selections (indoor and outdoor combined) among 85 different athletes in program history.
Honorable mention All-America status was given to those who finished 17th through 24th, including Ole Miss’ Shelby Brown (23rd women’s steeplechase) and the 4×100-meter quartet of Nicole Henderson, Shannon Ray, Deanna Tate and Breanna Tate (19th place).
Here are the updated career All-America totals for each of the 2017 outdoor recipients:
Craig Engels – 6x All-American (2x outdoor 1500m, 1x outdoor 800m, 2x DMR, 1x indoor 800m)
MJ Erb – 3x All-American (2x steeplechase, 1x indoor 5000m)
Dempsey McGuigan – 2x All-American (2x hammer throw)
Raven Saunders – 7x All-American – 5 at Ole Miss, 2 at Southern Illinois (3x outdoor shot put, 3x indoor shot put, 1x weight throw)
Janeah Stewart – 5x All-American (1x outdoor shot put, 1x discus, 1x hammer throw, 1x indoor shot put, 1x weight throw)
Brian Williams – 2x All-American (1x discus, 1x indoor shot put)
For more information on Ole Miss Track & Field, follow the Rebels on Twitter (@OleMissTrack), Facebook and Instagram.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports