USM, MSU and UM in Track and Field Nationals

courtesy University of Southern Mississippi

USM is sending athletes to NCAA Division I championships.

Most major track and field events take place in Eugene, Ore., including the U.S. Championships and qualifying competitions for the Olympics. So, it is no surprise that the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be in the same location.

The top college track and field athletes will be at the national championships Wednesday, June 7, through Saturday, June 10. Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi all will send athletes to take home titles.

Southern Miss will have two athletes there, both in the men’s events. Cra’vorkian Carson will race in the 100-meter race, and Emron Gibbs will compete in the javelin. Carson is making his first trip to the nationals, but Gibbs is returning after finishing fourth in last year’s championship.

The University of Mississippi will send 11 athletes to the national championships, with seven women and four men making the trip. The Rebels are ranked 17th in men’s track and 20th in women’s track heading to the meet.

One of the biggest names to watch for UM will be Raven Saunders, who is a two-time champion in the outdoor event in the shot put. Janeah Stewart, who qualified in shot put, hammer throw and discus will join Saunders.

Shelby Brown will take part in the first NCAA championship 3,000-meter steeplechase. The winner will make history as the first-ever NCAA champion in the event.

The UM women’s 4×100-meter relay team of Nicole Henderson, Shannon Ray, and twins Deanna and Breanna Tate will also make the trip.

On the men’s team for UM, MJ Erb will try to join Brown as the first winner of an NCAA title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. He missed last year’s outdoor season due to an injury.

One of the top men to watch will be Craig Engels in the 1,500-meter race. Engels is making his third appearance in the last three years and his second trip as a qualifier in the 1,500-meter.

Two Rebels’ men reached the championship meet in field events. Brian Williams earned a spot in the discus, and Dempsey McGuigan will compete in the hammer toss.

Mississippi State will send 13 athletes to Eugene—nine men and four women. Even with all the qualifiers, MSU isn’t ranked in either men’s or women’s track and field.

The top Bulldogs star might be Curtis Thompson, who is the defending champion in the javelin. Teammate Nicolas Quijera, who won the Spanish national title last year, will join him on the field. Meanwhile, Willie Reed will try to make his mark in the long jump.

The only male MSU athletes to reach the national title are in the 4×400-meter relay. The group consists of Charles Taylor, Stephan James, Lawrence Crawford, Philip Smith, Rasheed Tatham and Juston Waters.

One of the top MSU women to watch is Rhianwedd Price in the 1,500-meters. She was the 2015 national champion in the event but took a redshirt in 2016.

Tiffany Flynn reached the championship in the triple jump. She holds the school record in both indoor and outdoor in the event. Logan Boss and Leah Lott will join Flynn on the field. Boss will take part in the high jump and owns the school record in indoor and outdoor, and Lott will compete in the long jump.