Ole Miss Track & Field Trio Earn SEC Weekly Honors

Published 2:30 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2022

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Ole Miss track & field’s John Rivera Jr. (SEC Men’s Runner of the Week), Shey Taiwo (SEC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week) and Sintayehu Vissa (SEC Co-Women’s Runner of the Week) have all earned weekly SEC honors, the conference announced on Tuesday afternoon.


This marks the third career weekly award for Taiwo, who set the world lead in the weight throw last weekend at Vanderbilt, as well as the first career honors for both Rivera Jr. and Vissa.

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Rivera Jr. tied the NCAA and SEC lead in the 800-meter following his winning performance at the Vanderbilt Invitational last week, running an overall career-best 1:47.48 while also beating out two professional runners from the Atlanta Track Club for the victory. That time ranks tied for sixth in the world and tied for No. 1 in the United States this season, while also moving Rivera Jr. up to No. 3 all-time indoors at Ole Miss. That 1:47.48 is the fastest 800-meter time run indoors by a Rebel since Ryan Manahan ran 1:47.37 at the 2016 Penn State National. Rivera is currently contributing 22.10 points for the No. 36 Rebel men in the Week One USTFCCCA National Rating Index.


Taiwo set the world lead at the Vanderbilt Invitational last weekend, winning at a massive three-and-a-half foot PR of 24.11m/79-01.25 to become the No. 7 performer in NCAA history on the 16th-best throw ever by a collegian. Taiwo beat out two-time reigning U.S. champion and former Rebel NCAA Champion, Janeah Stewart, who notched the world’s second-best throw this year at 23.77m/78-00.00.


Taiwo’s big heave came on her first attempt of the competition for the second straight week, and in addition to making her the No. 7 performer in NCAA history it puts her No. 3 in SEC history and just one centimeter off Stewart’s 2018 Ole Miss record of 24.12m/79-01.75. All four of her legal throws would have been a PR and all would have put her within the NCAA top-11 all-time entering competition. Additionally, her throw recorded last week on Jan. 21 stands as the second-best in NCAA history this early in the season, ranking only behind Brittany Riley’s 24.23m/79-06.00 on Dec. 7, 2007. Currently, Taiwo is contributing 25.16 points toward the No. 8 Rebel women’s total in the Week One USTFCCCA National Rating Index.


Vissa dismantled her own school record in the mile at Vanderbilt last weekend. Vissa won at an eight-second PR of 4:32.70 in just her second mile race since transferring from Division II Saint Leo, shattering her previous Ole Miss record of 4:40.99 also set at Vanderbilt last season in her first mile competition as a Rebel. Vissa’s time currently ranks second in the NCAA and is worth 20.62 points in the rating index, and furthermore, Vissa’s time stands as the second-best ever run by an Italian indoors, trailing only Gabriella Dorio’s 4:28.90 run on March 10, 1982.


Ole Miss men’s and women’s track & field returns to the road this week for the Indiana Relays, held at IU’s Gladstein Fieldhouse on Jan. 28-29. Additionally, All-American senior Mario Garcia Romo will head to the Big Apple as the only collegiate athlete in the prestigious Wanamaker Mile, held at the 114th Millrose Games at New York City’s historic Armory on Jan. 29 live on NBC at 3:20 p.m. CT.


For more information on Ole Miss Track & Field and Cross Country, follow the Rebels on Twitter (@OleMissTrack), Facebook and Instagram.