Records, personal bests highlight Rebels’ performance at Clash

Published 12:00 pm Monday, January 25, 2016

In the biggest test of the young indoor track & field season, Ole Miss made a strong statement while competing against a loaded field of teams at the Conference Clash, held at the Birmingham CrossPlex.

The No. 25 Rebel women and the Rebel men combined to achieve 30 individual lifetime-best marks, two facility records and a school record during the two-day meet.

Ole Miss teamed up with fellow Southeastern Conference schools Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt to defeat the “Power Four” competition Arizona, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Purdue, Texas and USC by a final tally of 175.5-159.5. The Rebel men contributed 18 points (second-most among SEC schools) and the women added 15 (also second-most among SEC schools). The top two finishers from each “team” scored points in individual events (1st=5pts, 2nd=3pts, 3rd=2pts, 4th=1pt), and the top finisher from each “team” earned points in the relays (1st=6pts, 2nd=3pts).

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On Saturday, Ole Miss built upon Friday’s strong start that included nine personal bests and a school record by the women’s distance medley relay squad. The Rebels added 21 more personal bests on Saturday and broke a pair of facility records in winning efforts.

“I think each week we’re getting better and better,” first-year head coach Connie Price-Smith said. “We’re moving in the right direction, but we still have work to do before the conference meet. I think we came in and held our own this weekend against really good competition. We had a good showing.”

Sophomore Raven Saunders had yet another remarkable outing in the shot put Saturday, uncorking a heave of 18.56m/60-10.75 to break the facility record at the CrossPlex, which will also host the NCAA Championships in March. Saunders’ toss was just off her school-record and world-leading mark of 18.67m/61-3 that she set a week ago in Kentucky.

Six of the seven women’s milers ran personal bests on Saturday. Britt Ummels led the way with a seventh-place finish in 4:54.21, followed by Shelby Brown in eighth in 4:54.85. Ummels’ time was off of her school record of 4:49.25, while Brown moved into fifth in the school record books.