Ole Miss men’s and women’s track and field wasted no time at Day One of the Vanderbilt Invite on Friday evening, stringing together several impressive performances in the field to open the meet for the Rebels.
It might have been a light day in terms of the number of Rebel entries, but Ole Miss came out swinging in the throwing events with two strong showings in the weight throw.
Senior All-American Janeah Stewart kept the momentum from her open last week going in the women’s weight throw, earning top-collegian honors with a third-place finish at a season-best 22.88m (75-00.75). Tonight’s throw eclipses her season-best from last week of 22.64m (74-03.50), pushing her up to No. 2 in the NCAA in the process. If the first two weeks are any indication, Stewart is gunning fast for her career-best last year of 23.18m (76-00.75), an SEC meet record toss that ranked as the seventh-best in the United States last season and placed her as the sixth-best individual on the all-time NCAA list.
The women’s weight throw was the marquee event in Nashville tonight, as a trio of Ole Miss volunteer coaches put on a show. Gwen Berry, 2016 Olympian and current world-record holder in the weight throw, set the world lead in the weight at a winning toss of 24.85m (81-06.50) — the eighth-best throw in the history of the world. Berry owns six of the top 11 marks in the event all-time.
Fellow volunteer coach Jeneva Stevens set a new PR in the weight for the first time in five years, finishing runner-up at 24.24m (79-06.50). Stevens’ toss moves her into fifth all-time in world history, making Ole Miss head coach Connie Price-Smith and throws coach John Smith responsible for four of the top five women’s weight throwers in the history of the world (Berry, former SIU pupils Brittany Riley and DeAnna Price (who set her mark under a different coach), and now Stevens).
In fact, when adding in additional volunteer coach Jessica Ramsey (who finished fourth overall tonight at 21.85m/71-08.25), Price-Smith and Smith have helped mentor five of the top-10 in the history of the world. Ramsey’s 24.04m (78-10.50) puts her at 10th on the list (see full list below).
The Rebel men put on a show in the men’s version of the weight throw as well, going 2-3-4 in the final.
Senior All-American Dempsey McGuigan led the charge, finishing runner-up at a new season-best 20.39m (66-10.75), inching ever closer to that career-best he set in 2016 at 20.46m (67-01.50). McGuigan moves up from 20th to 17th in the NCAA after his finish tonight.
Oregon grad transfer Cullen Prena took third in his first weight throw action as a Rebel, throwing a career-best 19.43m (63-09.00) to launch all the way to fifth all-time at Ole Miss. All-American senior Brian Williams was right behind him in fourth place, tying his season-best at 18.11m (59-05.00).
The Rebels also took care of business in the men’s and women’s long jumps on Friday night. Sophomore Manny Foster, fresh off a win at UAB last week at a career-best 7.58m (24-10.50), took third in a competitive long jump final at 7.49m (24-07.00).
Senior Lanae Newsome had a career-day in the women’s long jump, taking fourth place at an indoor PR of 5.86m (19-02.75) — the best leap by the Rebel women this season. Sophomore Kaira Simmons was right behind her in fifth-place at a season-best 5.82m (19-01.25). With tonight’s performances and last week’s winning leap by Kieshonna Brooks (5.81m/19-00.75), there are now three Rebel women this season that have crossed the 19-foot plateau.
It wasn’t all field, though, as the Rebel women also received some solid openers in the 200-meter dash out of some veteran sprinters. Senior Jolie Carbo set a massive new career-best, finishing fifth overall at 24.37 — a new PR by more than half a second that puts her at 14th on the all-time list at Ole Miss.
Sophomore Andrew Raspo led the way in the men’s 200, finishing ninth overall at 22.08.
Competition resumes for Ole Miss at 10:30 a.m. with the women’s pole vault and 11 a.m. with the women’s shot put.
Other Notable Finishes:
Men’s High Jump:
7. Allen Gordon — 2.00m (6-06.75)
Women’s Weight Throw:
13. Shey Taiwo — 17.79m (58-04.50)
Women’s Weight Throw, World Record List:
1. Gwen Berry (USA) — 25.60m (84-00.00) — March 4, 2017 *
2. Brittany Riley (USA) — 25.56m (83-10.25) — March 10, 2007 *
3. Amber Campbell (USA) — 24.78m (81-03.75) — Feb. 25, 2012
4. DeAnna Price (USA) — 24.30m (79-08.75) — March 4, 2017 *!
5. Jeneva Stevens (USA) — 24.24m (79-06.50) — Jan. 19, 2018 *
6. Erin Gilreath (USA) — 24.23m (79-06.00) — Feb. 18, 2005
7. Felisha Johnson (USA) — 24.22m (79-05.50) — March 4, 2017
8. Candice Scott (Trinidad) — 24.17m (79-03.75) — March 12, 2005
9. Jenny Dahlgren (Argentina) — 24.04m (78-10.50) — March 11, 2006
10. Jessica Ramsey (USA) — 24.04m (78-10.50) — March 4, 2017 *
* Price-Smith and Smith pupils
! Collegiately a pupil under Price-Smith and Smith; set mark under a different coach
Story courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics.