Published on January 8th, 2021 | by TLV News1
Ole Miss Track & Field Announces 2021 Indoor Schedule: Rebels Open Season January 15 at Vanderbilt
Ole Miss men’s and women’s track & field has announced its competition slate for the 2021 indoor season on Tuesday.
The Rebels will hit the track once again after a promising 2020 season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic just one day before the NCAA Indoor Championships were set to begin in Albuquerque, New Mexico last March. Ole Miss will boast an SEC-exclusive schedule this indoor season, making stops at Vanderbilt (Commodore Indoor, Jan. 15-16; Music City Classic, Feb. 13), South Carolina (South Carolina Invite, Feb. 5-6) and to Arkansas a total of four times when including both regular season meets (Woo Pig Classic, Jan. 22; Razorback Invite, Jan. 29-30), and both the SEC Indoor Championships (Feb. 25-27) and NCAA Indoor Championships (March 11-13).
Ole Miss enters year six under head coach Connie Price-Smith, who has led the Rebels to new heights in her time in Oxford with five NCAA top-25 team finishes, four NCAA individual titles, 34 SEC individual titles and 82 total First or Second-Team All-American awards.
Leading the way in 2021 are the eight returning All-American Rebels who were scheduled to compete at the national meet last March: senior thrower Deborah Bulai, junior sprinter Jayda Eckford, senior jumper Allen Gordon, sophomore thrower Jasmine Mitchell, senior distance runner John Rivera Jr., junior sprinter Brandee Presley, senior distance runner Waleed Suliman, and senior thrower Shey Taiwo.
The Rebel women enjoyed a historic 2020 season, finishing No. 22 in the final USTFCCCA National Rating Index prior to the national meet after being ranked for the entirety of the indoor calendar. Propelling that rise were superb years from both the Rebel throws and sprints squads. The trio of Taiwo (22.72m/74-06.50), Mitchell (22.23m/72-11.25) and Bulai (22.02m/72-03.00) became the first in NCAA history to all eclipse the 22-meter mark in the weight throw in a single season, setting up what could have been an epic point haul at the NCAA Championships. Taiwo returns as the reigning SEC Champion in the weight throw, while Mitchell reigns as the SEC runner-up.
Sprinters Jayda Eckford and Brandee Presley continued to light the Ole Miss record book on fire, dismantling two more long-standing times from All-American Teneeshia Jones, with Eckford toppling the 200-meter dash (23.18) and Presley the 60-meter dash (7.18).
On the men’s side, the Rebels remained the dominant force in the SEC in the distance medley relay, winning their sixth DMR title in the last seven years following a gutsy performance from the quartet of Nick Moulai (1200m), James Burnett (400m), Baylor Franklin (800m), and Waleed Suliman (mile). Suliman, the Ole Miss record holder in the mile at 3:56.78, enters his senior season in the upper echelon of milers nationally after qualifying for the NCAA Championships each of the last two seasons.
John Rivera Jr. enjoyed a successful 2020 as well, running the fastest 800-meter time at Ole Miss since 2017 with a 1:48.13 at the Vanderbilt Invite. He followed that up with hard-fought 800-meter final at the SEC Championships, where he finished fourth and fell just four hundredths of a second shy of the podium.
Allen Gordon will enter his final indoor season as one of the better jumpers in Ole Miss history, as last season he joined Olympian Savante’ Stringfellow as the only Rebels to clear 7-2 in the high jump and 25-5 in the long jump indoors. Last year, Gordon’s indoor career-best long jump distance of 7.83m (25-08.25) ended up 12th on the NCAA performance list heading into the national meet. Gordon proved his versatility all season long, recording additional personal bests in the high jump (2.20m/7-02.50) and triple jump (15.00m/49-02.50).
More information regarding 2021 outdoor competition will be released at a later date.
2021 Ole Miss Track & Field Indoor Schedule
Jan. 15-16 – Commodore Indoor – Nashville, Tenn.
Jan. 22 – Woo Pig Classic – Fayetteville, Ark.
Jan. 29-30 – Razorback Invite – Fayetteville, Ark.
Feb. 5-6 – South Carolina Invite – Columbia, S.C.
Feb. 13 – Music City Classic – Nashville, Tenn.
Feb. 25-27 – SEC Championships – Fayetteville, Ark.
March 11-13 – NCAA Championships – Fayetteville, Ark.