Catching up on a few things while awaiting the Rebels' second game of the basketball season.
Ole Miss hosts Louisiana-Lafayette Tuesday night at 7 after beating Mississippi Valley 72-49 Friday night. The Ole Miss women's team, which beat Southeastern Louisiana 92-46 Friday, is at UAB Tuesday for a 7 p.m. game.
The game in Birmingham will be the 10th meeting between Ole Miss and UAB, with the Rebels leading the series 6-3. Ole Miss has won three-straight in the series, including last season's 71-52 victory in Oxford.
The Blazers finished the 2005-06 season with a 14-14 mark in head coach Audra Smith's second season with the program. UAB returns four starters and 10 letterwinners in 2006-07 led by senor guard Carmen Guzman who averaged 16.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per outing a season ago. Senior guard Crystal McFadden returns 13.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, while sophomore guard Britney Jones also returns 12.1 points and 2.4 rebounds to the line-up.
The Blazers opened the season with a 93-77 loss at Florida State on Sunday. Guzman led UAB with 22 point in the game.
We'll take a closer look tomorrow at the men's opponent in Oxford Tuesday night, the Ragin' Cajuns of UL-L.
One of the highlights of the open football weekend was Ole Miss cross country freshman Barnabas Kirui turning in a dominating performance on Saturday to win the NCAA Cross Country South Regional. With the victory, Kirui became the third cross country runner in Ole Miss history to advance to the NCAA Championships.
"This is really a dream come true," said Kirui, who joins Pablo Sierra (1992) and Bernard Kuria (1997) as Rebel runners to advance to the NCAA Championships.
Kirui's time of 30:43.1 easily outdistanced the runner-up finisher and last year's NCAA South Regional champ Tonny Okello of South Alabama, who turned in a time of 30:53.9. Kirui's victory was the first in Ole Miss history at the NCAA South Regional. The 10K event was hosted by the University of Tennessee at the Lambert Acres Golf Club in Maryville, Tenn.
"Barnabas ran away from a star-studded field," said Ole Miss head coach Joe Walker. "This was probably his strongest run of the year. He ran in the front pack at the start of the race and then pulled away. Nobody else responded and he ran alone."
"It was a tough race," said Kirui, the current SEC Cross Country champion. "This is a difficult course and there were a lot of very tough runners. There were a lot of hills and loops that I wasn't use to. I ran with the front pack for the first two miles, then at about the three-mile mark I pulled away. I ran the remainder of the race by myself."
Kirui advances to the NCAA Championships, which will take place on Nov. 20 in Terre Haute, Ind. Indiana State University will serve as host for the event which will be ran at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center.
The Ole Miss volleyball team continued one of its most successful seasons ever with a 3-2 win at Auburn Sunday. The Rebels are now 17-12 on the season and 8-10 in SEC play.
The eight SEC wins on the year is the most for Ole Miss since 1980, and the 17 wins overall is the most since Ole Miss posted 19 in the 1996 season.
"Anytime you can go on the road and the SEC and pick up a win against a scrappy team like Auburn, it's a good thing," said Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin. "This win was huge because it showed growth for us as we dug down to win."
Ole Miss closes out its regular season this weekend, hosting Arkansas Friday at 7 p.m. and LSU Sunday at 1:30 p.m. There is no longer an SEC volleyball tourney, so the Rebels want to close out with victories to increase their chances of making the NCAA Tournament field.
Right-handed pitchers Michael Park and Logan Williams have signed national letters of intent to join the Ole Miss baseball program head coach Mike Bianco announced over the weekend.
The duo are the first two signees released for the 2006-07 early signing period and will be eligible to compete for the Rebels in the 2007-08 academic year.
Park, a 6-2 pitcher for Memphis University School, has been rated as one of the top pitchers in the state of Tennessee as he helped lead MUS to the semifinals of the state tournament this past season. Park earned All-Conference honors and was also named to the TSWA All-State team as well as the "Private" All-Metro team by the Commercial Appeal.
Last season, Park posted a 10-1 record as he struck out 92 batters and posted a 1.56 ERA in 62 innings of work. At the plate, he hit .343 with 31 runs scored and 31 RBI. His performance on the year earned him Lousiville Slugger All-America honorable mention honors. Park's brother, Rob, is a punter on the Ole Miss football team, while his uncle, Mike, was an All-SEC pitcher for the Rebels in 1975.
"We are excited to have Michael Park and Logan Williams join our program," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "Michael is one of the top pitchers in the state of Tennessee and has a long family history with Ole Miss. It means a lot to us as a family program to have athletes who want to follow other family members to play at Ole Miss. We are excited about what Michael can bring to the mound for us."
Williams, a 6-1 pitcher from Damascus, Arkansas, also plays in the infield for South Side Bee Branch High School. A two-time All-State, All-Region and All-Conference selection, Williams was also selected to play in the Texas/Arkansas All-Star game for the 2006 season.
On the mound, Williams posted a perfect 11-0 record with 125 strikeouts in 59.0 innings of work for South Side Bee Branch. Williams also performed well at the plate, hitting .602 for the season as he set the Arkansas High School record for RBI in a season with 73, breaking the record of 64 he set the previous year. He was named to the All-State team for his performance on the diamond and was also named to the All-State Tournament Team as he helped lead his team to the semi-finals of the state tournament.
"Logan Williams is a tremendous athlete who has had lots of success on the mound and at the plate for his high school team," Bianco said. "He has been instrumental in helping his team compete for championships and has set state records in Arkansas. We look forward to what he can bring to our program."
The signing period, which began on Wednesday, Nov. 8, will continue through Wednesday, Nov. 15.
Editor's note: The Ole Miss athletics media relations staff contributed heavily to this column.
Catching up from the weekend
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