Rebels in second after Day 1 of SEC Outdoors

Published 12:00 pm Friday, May 13, 2016

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – On an eventful first day of the 2016 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Ole Miss came out strong and finished Thursday in second place in both the men’s and women’s team standings.

A lengthy weather delay that included a full array of sideways rain, lightning and thunder was followed by a 20-minute power outage that stopped both the men’s 10,000-meter race and hammer throw in the middle of those events. All of which caused the competition to run well past midnight and into the wee hours of Friday morning.

But the Ole Miss athletes were not deterred, as the women came up with 11 points and the men 13 points through two events for each gender.

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Sophomore Emily Bean ran a superb race en route to a silver medal in the women’s 10,000 meters, clocking a time of 34:08.16. The Louisville, Kentucky, native scored eight points for the Rebels and became the first SEC scorer in the 10K in the history of the Ole Miss women’s program.

Sophomore Raven Saunders earned the first team points of the weekend for the Ole Miss women, grabbing three points with a sixth-place finish in the hammer throw. She uncorked a personal best of 57.97m/190-2 that ranks her No. 2 in school history. The Charleston, South Carolina native, who will also compete in the shot put and discus this weekend, is the first Rebel to score points in the SEC women’s hammer throw since Juliana Smith was runner-up in 2011.

For the men, sophomore Dempsey McGuigan was in second place for most of the hammer throw final before settling for third with a heave of 68.55m/224-11. It was the second straight medalist performance for the London, U.K., native, who was runner-up at last year’s SEC outdoor meet. Junior Kevin Conway finished 10th, one spot out of the final, after a personal-best throw of 62.63m/205-5.

Ole Miss had two scorers in the wild and wacky men’s 10,000 meters, which had to be stopped after about four laps when the power went out at the Sam Bailey Track & Field Stadium, and then re-started 30 minutes later. It took gutsy efforts by all of the SEC men to come back ready after the delay, and senior Ryan Walling ran to a fourth-place finish in a personal-best 29:52.82, followed by junior Wesley Gallagher in seventh place in 30:09.80. The duo garnered seven team points.

Senior Dameon Morgan came through in a big way in the 800-meter prelims, qualifying with the third-fastest time of the day, 1:47.55. It was a significant personal best for the St. Louis native and moved him to No. 5 in the school record books. He came into the SEC Championships with a previous best of 1:48.88 from last year.

Other personal bests on Thursday included senior Khadijah Suleman in the women’s 200 meters (23.26), senior Taylor Corder in the women’s 800 meters (2:08.24) and sophomore Katherine MacNeal in the women’s 10,000 meters (36:03.63).

After the first day of the men’s decathlon, junior Peyton Moss sits in 14th place with 3,458 points. Over the first five events, he posted a personal best in the 400 meters (51.15) and season bests in the 100 (11.47), long jump (6.31m/20-8.5) and high jump (1.87m/6-1.5). The second day of the decathlon will include the 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500 meters.