Rebels out to qualify at NCAA prelims

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ole Miss athletes are primed and ready for the NCAA Track & Field East Preliminary Championships, held today through Saturday at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

The Rebels’ 33 entries and 32 athletes at the prelims are the most in program history since the NCAA adopted the current regional format in 2010. Among the 32 athletes are 17 men and 15 women, competing in 18 different events.

The goal for each athlete and relay in Jacksonville will be to finish in the top 12 out of 48 competitors (or 24 relay squads). The top 12 finishers in each event will qualify for the national semifinal and final rounds of the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships to be held June 8-11 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

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Last year, Ole Miss produced school records with 14 qualifiers and 17 athletes making it to Eugene, which led to a school-record nine outdoor All-Americans.

Under the direction of first-year head coach Connie Price-Smith, Ole Miss is coming off a performance at the SEC Outdoor Championships that include three event titles (Craig Engels – men’s 1500m, Branden Greene – men’s high jump, Raven Saunders – women’s shot put) and a tie for the second-best men’s SEC outdoor finish in program history.

“We have a great group of athletes, and we’re excited to watch them compete,” Ole Miss coach Connie Price-Smith said. “It should be a really quality competition, and they will do their best to have great results.”


• The Rebel men matched their second-best finish in school history at the SEC Outdoor Championships (fifth place) after they placed third at the SEC Indoor Championships (best finish since 1984).

• Three Ole Miss Rebels were crowned SEC outdoor champions in Tuscaloosa: Craig Engels (men’s 1500m), Branden Greene (men’s high jump) and Raven Saunders (women’s shot put).

• This is the inaugural season of the Connie Price-Smith era at Ole Miss.