Southern Miss off to strong start to outdoor season

Southern Miss off to strong start to outdoor season

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Sixteen schools made their way to the Marshall Bell Track Complex for the Southern Miss Invitational.

The host Golden Eagles left the weekend with 13 gold medals, making 30 total trips to the podium.

A number of personal-records highlighted USM’s second outdoor event of the season. Senior Savannah McMillon set a new PR to win the 800-meter run in 2 minutes, 13.71 seconds.

Trey Johnson captured gold and climbed to No. 14 nationally with a personal-best run of 46.31 seconds in the 400m. Isabella Simonelli set the tone for the weekend with Friday’s winning throw of 168 feet in the hammer throw.

Southern Miss coach Jon Stuart is excited about his program’s possibilities as it dirives deeply into the outdoor season, hoping to ride the wave of momentum after capturing the school’s first Conference USA women’s indoor championship.

“Personally, I think the kids on the team feel great about their performance indoors, and they have a lot of confidence going to the outdoor season,” Stuart said. “For me as a coach, I feel the pressure. We really gotta perform now.

But any time you win, that’s a good type of pressure. So, we’re really confident right now and I think the kids are training well and they’re competing well right now.”

Southern Miss high jumping to the top

To say the Golden Eagles have the best pair of high jumpers in the country isn’t a total embellishment.

Sophomore Corvell Todd ran through the Conference USA indoor competition, capturing the high jump title before finishing fifth at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a personal-best mark of 7 feet, 3 inches.

It was the second-best all-time finish in the event in USM history and earned him an All-America nod.

“Corvell was a great athlete in junior college,” Stuart said. “We just knew he was going to do well. We just needed to get him on campus and we knew he was going to do some great things for us. Corvell trains really hard, he makes good grades and he’s just a phenomenal person. All those things just kind of add up to having a sensational year.”

As tremendous as Todd has been, he’s still chasing Eric Richards.

The senior owns the school indoor record with a jump of 7 feet, 4 1/2 inches. Richards entered 2021 as a two-time All-American and two-time C-USA champion. Both Hinds Community College transfers, Todd and Richards went toe-to-toe on Saturday. They both cleared 7 feet, 1 1/2 inch, with Richards claiming first place.

It’s an intramural battle Stuart expects to go on all season and push both athletes to be their best.

“Eric and Corvell are a deadly combination,” Stuart said. “They train together and they really help each other, feed off of each other. Eric started the year off okay, not as good as he wanted, but Corvell started off phenomenally. Eric doesn’t like to have to chase people, so he’s going to get after it this week.”

Southern Miss continues the outdoor season on Friday at the Crimson Tide Invite.

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