Ole Miss men’s and women’s cross country have unveiled their abbreviated schedule for 2020, with the Rebels set to compete in four meets across the next two months.
In August, the SEC announced that the 2020 cross country season would consist of a minimum of two and a maximum of three competitions prior to the SEC Championships in Baton Rouge on Oct. 30. The season will take place between Sept. 11 and Oct. 23, and may include competition against non-conference opponents provided those schools adhere to SEC COVID-19 testing protocols. No more than 10 teams may compete in a single race, and schools are not allowed to compete in consecutive weeks.
The Rebels will open the season next Saturday, Sept. 19, at the LSU Invitational in Baton Rouge to get a preview of the SEC Championship course. Two weeks later, Ole Miss will hit the road north to the Greater Louisville Classic on Oct. 3, before a quick trip to the UAB Blazer Classic in Birmingham on Oct. 16. LSU will host the SEC Championships on Oct. 30 to close the season.
Ole Miss Cross Country enters as one of the most consistent combined programs in the nation, standing as one of just four schools to have both its men’s and women’s teams finish in the top-25 at the NCAA Championships in each of the last four seasons alongside BYU, Colorado and Stanford.
The Rebel men are looking to make it a three-peat after two historic runs that ended with SEC Championship trophies in 2018 and 2019. Ole Miss broke through the mold with an exhilarating win in 2018, the first conference title in program history, before repeating in demonstrative fashion in 2019, recording the largest margin of victory in the SEC since 2015 with a 55-point win over Alabama. The Rebel men then went on to repeat as NCAA South Region champions, their fourth South Region title since 2014 and their sixth consecutive NCAA berth after having never qualified prior to 2014.
Ole Miss is led by two-time All-American Waleed Suliman on the men’s side, who last season finished 20th at the NCAA Championships to become the first Rebel to ever repeat as a cross country All-American. The Rebel men also return four All-SEC and NCAA All-South Region runners from 2019, as well as the reigning SEC Freshman of the Year, Cole Bullock.
The Rebel women are coming off another historic season of their own, which ended with a 21st-place finish at the NCAA Championships, the best in program history. They qualified for the national meet after a runner-up finish at the NCAA South Regional, the fourth consecutive season the Rebel women have qualified after having never done so prior to 2016. Ole Miss had a superb run at the SEC Championships as well, taking runner-up to eventual national champions No. 1 Arkansas for the best conference finish in program history.
Ole Miss returns all but one from last year’s women’s squad, which includes four NCAA All-South Region runners, one All-SEC runner (Victoria Simmons), their top NCAA finisher (Anna Elkin, 92nd place) and the reigning SEC Freshman of the Year, Skylar Boogerd.
The Rebels are once again coached by associate head coach Ryan Vanhoy, who enters his eighth season at Ole Miss. Last season, Vanhoy was named the USTFCCCA South Region Men’s Coach of the Year and SEC Men’s Coach of the Year.
2020 Ole Miss Cross Country Schedule
Sept. 19 – LSU Invitational – Baton Rouge, La. – 9 AM CT
Oct. 3 – Greater Louisville Classic – Louisville, Ky. – 9:30 AM CT
Oct. 16 – UAB Blazer Classic – Birmingham, Ala. – 9 AM CT
Oct. 30 – SEC Championships – Baton Rouge, La. – 9:05 AM CT
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports