June 10, 2016
The field part of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships has been good so far to Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi. Both teams are bringing back at least one national championship.
Curtis Thompson of MSU won the men’s NCAA javelin title and Raven Saunders of UM won the women’s NCAA shot put title. Thompson and Saunders both won in impressive fashion in their respective events.
Saunders broke a 33-year-old NCAA record with her winning throw of 63 feet and five inches, or 19.33 meters. That throw broke the previous mark of 62 feet and 3.75 inches, or 18.99 meters, and Saunders made her historic throw in the rain.
Winning title in the shot put aren’t new for the Charleston, S.C. native. As a freshman at the University of Southern Illinois, she won both the indoor and outdoor titles.
She now holds the all-time NCAA shot put record for both indoor and outdoor events. Saunders' record-breaking throw ranks her fourth among all women in the world and seventh in U.S. women’s shot put history.
Suanders joins former Rebel great and Olympic gold medal winner Brittney Reese as the only woman in UM history to win an NCAA title. She will return to Eugene, Ore. later this summer to take part in the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Thompson finished third last season in the javelin as a freshman in these very same championships. This season, his throw of 254 feet and 9 inches was enough to take home the title.
The sophomore from Florence, N.J. had to fend off athletes from Texas A&M University, Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Southern Misissippi to win. His throw in the final bettered his 140-feet, 11-inch throw to reach the finals.
USM junior Emron Gibbs finished fourth in the javelin with a throw of 244 feet and 10 inches. The St. Andrews, Grenada native was edged out by the winners after he was able to leap into the second place going into the finals.
Currently, the Rebels women are tied for sixth place after six of 21 events in track and field championships with 10 points. The MSU men are tied for fifth place, and the UM men are tied for 39th place after seven of 21 events in the championships with 10 points and one point, respectively.
Sophomore Dempsey McGuigan from London, England finished eighth in the hammer throw, scoring the Rebels men a point.
Neither the Rebels or the Bulldogs teams are done. Both schools still have a chance to win more titles and climb up the leaderboard.
UM still hopes either sophomore Craig Engels or junior Robert Domanic break through in the men’s 1,500-meter final on Friday. Sophomore M.J. Erb is in the finals of the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, senior Branden Greene is in the finals of the men’s high jump, and senior Ryan Walling is in the finals of the men’s 5,000-meters, also on Friday.
MSU senior Brandon McBride is in the finals of the men’s 800-meters and senior Seth Peace is in the finals of the men’s high jump on Friday. The Bulldog men’s 4x400 relay team also made the finals, which will be held on Friday.
Marta Freitas of MSU will be in the women’s 1, 500 meters on Saturday, and senior Erica Bougard will begin the women’s heptathlon on Saturday. Bougard and sophomore Logan Boss are in the women’s high jump final.
All the action can be seen on ESPN3 from 2:30 to 10 p.m. and on ESPN from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, and 1:30 to 8 p.m. on ESPN3 and 5:30 to 8 p.m. on ESPN on Saturday.