BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Led by Sam Kendricks' school, meet and facility record pole vault, Ole Miss finished up its first indoor meet of 2014 Saturday at the UAB Blazer Invitational.
For the weekend, Ole Miss posted three individual event victories and produced a few marks that rank highly in the NCAA early this indoor season.
"I was proud of our attitude and effort from our team this weekend," Ole Miss head coach Brian O'Neal said. "We had a good week of practice and finished it off with two days of solid efforts here in Birmingham. We will continue to train and get better and look forward to coming back here next weekend and put a better foot forward at the Auburn Invitational."
A junior from Oxford, Miss., Kendricks cleared the bar on every vault he attempted, including the final height of 18-4.75 that broke his own school indoor record and is the top clearance by any American this indoor season. It also broke his own UAB meet and Birmingham CrossPlex records that he established last year.
"I knew that I was capable," Kendricks said of his record-setting jump. "The training the past few weeks has been difficult without the rest of my teammates in Oxford. But I got on a pole that I was very confident on. Like I said last year, if you never miss, you always win. And again I started off the year with a miss-less meet. I jumped as high as I wanted to and cut it off there. I was feeling excessively confident because of all my teammates out here today, so I decided to go for the school record and the No. 1 jump in the nation. It was very satisfying."
"On the first weekend of 2014 to go to the top of the national leaderboard without missing a bar is impressive," O'Neal said. "And he wants to be even better. He has high goals and aspirations going forward. I'm really proud of the job that Sam and Coach (Scott) Kendricks have put in to our pole vault program."
The Rebels also got an event victory from sophomore Onyi Afoaku, who set a personal best in the shot put with a mark of 55-2 that ranks him third-best in school history. He also placed fourth in the weight throw at 59-10.25.
The Ole Miss sprinters had a good early-season showing this weekend, as both senior Mike Granger and freshman Jalen Miller posted times that rank among the best in the NCAA. Granger placed second in his section and fourth overall in the 60 meters with a season-best time of 6.69. Unfortunately, he came up limping after a good start in the 200 meters. Miller placed third in his section of the 60 at 6.75 and fourth overall in the 200 meters at 21.62.
Junior Robert Semien placed second in his section and fourth overall in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.04.
On Friday, senior Phillip Young made his Rebel debut a good one by winning the triple jump with a mark of 49-2.25.
On the women's side, senior Fabia McDonald led the way with good showings in three different events. The All-American finished third in the high jump (5-6.5), seventh in the long jump (19-8) and seventh in her section of the 60-meter hurdle finals (8.77).
Newcomer Jhorden Hunter had a strong Rebel debut with her fifth-place finish in the 60 meters Section A final at 7.54. Her prelim time of 7.50 on Friday ranks her eighth in the Rebel record books.
Junior Taryn Hartfield placed sixth in her section of the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.64.
Freshmen Leanne Zimmer and Mary Alex England posted times of 2:15.43 in the 800 and 10:08.83 in the 3,000, respectively, that rank them top 15 in school history in those events.
Ole Miss returns to the Birmingham CrossPlex for the third straight meet this coming weekend for the Auburn Invitational.
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