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Taiwo Scores, Long Advances for Ole Miss Track & Field at NCAA Outdoor Day Two

Photo courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

Ole Miss women’s track & field caught an important day of competition from two highly decorated seniors, as Shey Taiwo scored for the Rebels in the hammer while McKenzie Long advanced in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes on Day Two of the 2023 NCAA Outdoor Championships on Thursday.

Taiwo, one of the most successful throwers in Ole Miss and NCAA history, added three more national points to her storied career, finishing sixth in the hammer for First-Team All-America honors. Taiwo was nearing the bubble for the cutoff, but on her third attempt solidified her spot in the final with a toss of 66.99m/219-09 – which stood as her best of the day.

Thursday’s hammer competition marked the end to a sparkling career for Taiwo, who leaves as the No. 2 collegiate and No. 3 world weight thrower of all-time at her 2022 NCAA title-winning heave of 25.55m/83-10, in addition to her No. 2 school mark in the hammer of 71.27m/233-10 that earned her NCAA runner-up honors in 2021. All told, Taiwo leaves Ole Miss with six All-America awards, an NCAA title (weight throw, indoor 2022), an NCAA runner-up (hammer, outdoor 2021), 27 career NCAA points scored, four SEC medals and 47 career SEC points scored.

“I am proud of myself,” Taiwo told reporters after competition. “The last two years have been the hardest of my life with injuries, multiple surgeries and dealing with grieving. It’s been a real mental and physical battle, but I am happy I got to the end and scored some points for my team, and I did the best I could do.”

Ole Miss wrapped up the night with two crucial qualifying performances from All-American senior McKenzie Long, who has set the stage for an exciting Saturday night after advancing in the 100 and 200-meter dashes on Thursday.

Long’s first ticket of the night came in the 100, but not without some heartburn first. She finished third in the second heat – just outside of the automatic bid – at 11.13 (+0.1), meaning she had to wait and see if she had made it in on time. When the third heat had finished, her 11.13 had stood up to scrutiny, making Long just the second Rebel woman to ever make the NCAA final in the 100-meter dash alongside Teneeshia Jones, who finished fifth in 2001.

Less than an hour later, Long was back on the track in a stacked second heat of the 200-meter dash semifinal. Long didn’t leave anything to chance this time, however, going toe-to-toe with current world leader Julien Alfred of Texas to earn an automatic bid to Saturday’s final. Long was second in the heat at 22.38 (+0.9) to Alfred’s 22.33 (+0.9), with a rematch for the NCAA title now set for Saturday night.

Long is now the first Rebel woman to ever make the 200-meter dash final, thus also making her the first to ever make both the 100 and 200 finals in the same NCAA meet.

Earlier in the evening, Long scratched out as the leadoff leg of the Ole Miss women’s 4×100-meter relay, but that didn’t slow down the quartet of Olivia Womack, Gabrielle Matthews, Jayda Eckford and Ariyonna Augustine from running the third-fastest time in school history. The Rebel foursome passed the stick in 43.49 to finish 13th for Second-Team All-America honors, which now gives this year’s Ole Miss team three of the top-four times in school history – highlighted by a school record 43.43 at the SEC Championships.

Other Rebel women competing at the national meet on Thursday were seniors Jasmine Mitchell in the shot put final (21st, 16.43m/53-11) and Kristel van den Berg in the 3000-meter steeplechase semifinal (24th, 10:31.22), with both earning Honorable Mention All-America distinction for their performances.

Ole Miss has three races left to run in Austin for the 2023 NCAA Outdoor Championships. First up, All-American senior Tiarnan Crorken takes to the track Friday night in the men’s 800-meter final at 9:14 p.m. CT on ESPN2. And then on Saturday night, McKenzie Long will represent the Rebels in the women’s 100-meter dash (8:52 p.m. CT) and 200-meter dash (9:37 p.m. CT) finals – both on ESPN2.

Day Two Finals Qualifiers

McKenzie Long – Women’s 100-Meter Dash

McKenzie Long – Women’s 200-Meter Dash

Day Two First-Team All-Americans

Shey Taiwo – Women’s Hammer, 6th Place

Day Two Second-Team All-Americans

Ariyonna Augustine – Women’s 4×100-Meter Relay, 13th Place

Jayda Eckford – Women’s 4×100-Meter Relay, 13th Place

Gabrielle Matthews – Women’s 4×100-Meter Relay, 13th Place

Olivia Womack – Women’s 4×100-Meter Relay, 13th Place

Day Two Honorable Mention All-Americans

Jasmine Mitchell – Women’s Shot Put, 21st Place

Kristel van den Berg – Women’s 3000-Meter Steeplechase, 24th Place

REBELS IN DAY TWO COMPETITION

Women’s 100-Meter Dash – Semifinal

8. McKenzie Long – 11.13q (+0.1)

Women’s 200-Meter Dash – Semifinal

4. McKenzie Long – 22.38Q (+0.9)

Women’s 3000-Meter Steeplechase – Semifinal

24. Kristel van den Berg – 10:31.22 – Honorable Mention All-American

Women’s 4×100-Meter Relay – Semifinal

13. Womack, Matthews, Eckford, Augustine – 43.49 – Second-Team All-Americans – No. 3 Ole Miss History

Women’s Shot Put – Final

21. Jasmine Mitchell – 16.43m/53-11 – Honorable Mention All-American

Women’s Hammer – Final

6. Shey Taiwo – 66.99m/219-09 – First-Team All-American

—–

Day One Finals Qualifiers

Tiarnan Crorken – Men’s 800-Meter

Day One First-Team All-Americans

Tarik Robinson-O’Hagan – Men’s Hammer, 8th Place

Day One Second-Team All-Americans

Tarik Robinson-O’Hagan – Men’s Shot Put, 11th Place

Day One Honorable Mention All-Americans

Ahmad Young Jr. – Men’s 110-Meter Hurdles, 19th Place

Baylor Franklin – Men’s 800-Meter, 22nd Place

REBELS IN DAY ONE COMPETITION

Men’s 800-Meter – Semifinal

5. Tiarnan Crorken – 1:47.93q

22. Baylor Franklin – 2:06.61 – Honorable Mention All-American

Men’s 110-Meter Hurdles – Semifinal

19. Ahmad Young Jr. – 13.88 (+1.1) – Honorable Mention All-American

Men’s Shot Put – Final

11. Tarik Robinson-O’Hagan – 19.73m/64-08.75 – Second-Team All-American

Men’s Hammer – Final

8. Tarik Robinson-O’Hagan – 71.38m/234-02 – First-Team All-American – School Record


Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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