OM men have best finish in program history at SEC Indoor Champ.
Published 6:03 am Sunday, February 28, 2016
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Ole Miss has competed in indoor track & field since 1969, and never before had the Rebel men scored as many team points as they did this weekend at the 2016 Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships.
Led by a dominant corps of distance runners, Ole Miss finished third at the league’s annual indoor meet with a program-record 80.5 team points. The third-place finish matched the best result in school history, achieved by the 1983 and 1984 teams.
Ole Miss won every men’s distance event at the Randal Tyson Track Center, capturing SEC titles in the mile, 3000 meters, 5000 meters and distance medley relay. The Rebels racked up an incredible 73 of the team’s 80.5 total points in those events alone.
Ole Miss became only the second school to win all four of the men’s distance events at the SEC indoor meet. Arkansas accomplished the feat in 1995, 1998, 1999, 2005 and 2010.
The Rebels’ five overall event titles – including Raven Saunders’ women’s shot put crown – are the most in program history at an SEC indoor meet. The previous high was three in 1983 and 2015.
The distance medley relay quartet of Trevor Gilley, Craig Engels, Ryan Manahan and Robert Domanic capped the Rebels’ amazing weekend with a meet-record time of 9:37.14. It was the Rebels’ third straight SEC DMR victory, with an almost entirely different group of runners in each of the three wins. It was especially satisfying for the anchor, Domanic, who missed last year’s meet due to injury.
The mile featured a 1-2-3 Ole Miss finish – the Rebels’ second of the weekend (3000 meters on Friday). The final 50-60 meters was thrilling, with the top three Rebels coming from behind to race past Missouri’s Will Crocker by the finish line. Domanic won his first individual SEC crown, crossing the line in 4:01.32. Sean Tobin, who won silver in the 3000 on Friday, captured silver in the mile with his time of 4:01.59. Manahan made it a clean sweep by crossing third in 4:01.69. In addition, Derek Gutierrez finished fifth in a personal-best 4:03.25.
The Rebels earned an incredible 28 team points in the mile alone to boost their overall team total. An Ole Miss runner has won the SEC indoor mile two years in a row after Daniel Bulmer’s victory last season.
Senior Ryan Walling made the best of his SEC Indoor Championships debut, capturing his second title of the weekend with a win in the 5000 meters Saturday. He took off over the final lap to secure the win and another 10 team points, crossing the line in 13:56.77.
Walling is the second man in school history to win the SEC indoor 5000 meters, joining Pablo Sierra in 1993. Walling is the first Rebel to ever win two individual titles at an SEC indoor meet.
The Ole Miss women, who got an SEC crown in the shot put from Raven Saunders on Friday, finished 14th in the team standings with 16 points.