Rebel Women Rank No. 8 in USTFCCCA Preseason Rankings

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Raven Saunders Photo courtesy of Josh McCoy/ Ole Miss Sports
Ole Miss women’s track and field has been named the No. 8 team in the USTFCCCA National Preseason rankings released on Wednesday, the highest preseason ranking that either the Rebel women or men have earned since the rankings began in 2008.

The No. 8 ranking ties for the second-highest overall in program history indoors. The Ole Miss women also ranked No. 8 in the final regular-season poll of 2017 in Week Seven (the Rebels went on to finish 12th at the NCAA Indoor Championships), with the all-time program high being No. 7 in Week One of 2008.

Ole Miss is one of 10 SEC schools ranked in the Preseason Top-25, as well as one of seven to fall in the top-10.

The Rebels are bolstered by four heavily-weighted performances from senior throwers Raven Saunders and Janeah Stewart. Saunders, the defending NCAA indoor shot put champion and a member of the Bowerman Preseason Watch List, earned 25.35 points in the poll for Ole Miss at her NCAA record (and national title-winning) toss of 19.56m (64-02.25). Saunders also hauled in 11.06 points for her All-American weight throw performance at the national meet last season at 21.67m (71-01.25).

Stewart, a fellow All-American, compliments Saunders by also holding the top weight throw mark entering the season at 23.18m (76-00.75) – the seventh-best toss in the United States last indoor season – for 24.04 points. Stewart is also a force to be reckoned with in the shot put, ranking ninth at 17.31m (56-09.50) for 7.85 points.

Other Rebels helping contribute to the high national team ranking are pole vaulter Lindsey Murray (4.22m/13-10.00, 4.26 points), long jumper Kaira Simmons (6.27m/20-07.00, 1.21 points) and middle-distance runner Maddie McHugh (800-meter, 2:05.38, 0.76 points).

Unlike other sports, collegiate track and field does not use a poll, but rather a computer ranking system that uses an algorithm that emphasizes individual performances. The system utilizes performances from last season (and potentially older seasons for injured or redshirted athletes in 2017).

Ole Miss opens the indoor season at UAB this Friday for the Blazer Invite. Competition is set to begin at 10 a.m. CT.

No. 8 Ole Miss Women | USTFCCCA Rankings
1. Raven Saunders – Shot Put – 19.56m (64-02.25) – 25.35 points
1. Janeah Stewart – Weight Throw – 23.18m (76-00.75) – 24.04 points
6. Raven Saunders – Weight Throw – 21.67m (71-01.25) – 11.06 points
9. Janeah Stewart – Shot Put – 17.31m (56-09.50) – 7.85 points
12. Lindsey Murray – Pole Vault – 4.22m (13-10.00) – 4.26 points
17. Kaira Simmons – Long Jump – 6.27m (20-07.00) – 1.21 points
21. Maddie McHugh – 800-Meter – 2:05.38 – 0.76 points

USTFCCCA Women’s Preseason Rankings
1. Oregon – 169.15
2. Arkansas – 147.15
3. Georgia – 135.53
4. Southern California – 109.49
5. Texas – 97.50
6. Florida – 87.49
7. LSU – 75.23
8. Ole Miss – 74.54
9. Kentucky – 68.46
10. Texas A&M – 57.51
11. Wisconsin – 54.73
12. Michigan – 48.26
13. Minnesota – 47.30
14. Iowa State – 47.09
15. Mississippi State – 46.15
16. Stanford – 45.17
17. South Carolina – 43.61
18. Kansas State – 43.45
19. Baylor – 42.96
20. Alabama – 36.89
21. Cincinnati – 35.39
22. San Diego State – 35.23
23. Penn State – 35.14
24. Villanova – 31.67
25. New Mexico – 31.3

For more information on Ole Miss Track & Field and Cross Country, follow the Rebels on Twitter (@OleMissTrack), Facebook and Instagram.


Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

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