NEW YORK - Ole Miss athletes scorched the New Balance track on the first day of the Armory Collegiate Invitational Friday, setting one school record and clocking several times that rank among the best in the NCAA this year.
"We challenged our kids this week," Rebel head coach Brian O'Neal said. "We knew this would be a different environment for us. It's definitely a more intense environment with the crowd and the energy that's inside the building. I am really proud of the way that we came in here and stepped it up on day one. That's the type of energy we're going to need when we get to championship events."
The men's distance medley relay of Robert Domanic, Montez Griffin, Sean Tobin and Daniel Bulmer shattered a 29-year-old school record with their time of 9:40.17 that placed second in the race. It ranks the Rebels 11th in the NCAA and first among SEC schools this year.
A strong opening 1,200 meter leg by the freshman Domanic gave Ole Miss a lead that it held for most of the race until a late comeback by Wisconsin.
"I thought it was a really good run for those guys," O'Neal said. "Domanic again ran a great race for us. He gets better week in and week out . Montez did a solid job of making sure we stayed in the lead. Sean ran a gutsy race for us in his first meet with us. And Bulmer ran a really good race. It was back and forth at the end between Wisconsin, Alabama and us. He could have folded, but I'm really proud of him for sticking his nose in there and competing."
Junior Robert Semien clocked a personal best of 7.81 to finish third in the 60-meter hurdle final. That time moves him up to No. 3 in school history and top 20 in the nation this indoor season.
Ole Miss had a strong showing in the 60 meters, led by two freshmen, Jalen Miller and Kailo Moore, who both advanced through the prelims and semifinals all the way to the final race.
Miller blazed his way to third place in the final with a personal-best 6.62 that moves him up to No. 9 in NCAA this year and keeps him at fifth-best in school history just behind such names as Isiah Young and James Shelton (both at 6.61).
Moore had an impressive debut on the track after transitioning from football season and ran 6.79 in the semifinals to the advance to the finals (where he ran 6.82 to place eighth). His time of 6.79 is 10th-best among all football players running indoor track this year and places him 10th on the all-time Rebel chart.
Miller and Moore are expected to run in the 200 meters on Saturday.
Senior Mike Granger, who happens to own the school record of 6.55, returned from a hamstring injury to win his prelim hit in 6.81 and advance to the semifinals.
Sophomore Onyi Afoaku set a personal best with a shot put of 57-0.25 that placed him eighth in the high-level competition on Friday. He remains No. 2 in school history in that event.
Junior Malcolm Davis placed third in the long jump college division with a PR of 24-3.75 that ranks him tied for fifth among SEC athletes this year. He will compete in the high jump on Saturday.
On the women's side, junior Taryn Hartfield made it to the final of the 60-meter hurdles, where she placed seventh in 8.62. She ran a season-best 8.47 in the semifinals.
Junior Kierra White jumped 19-11.75 in the long jump, just off her season best of 20-0.25, and placed sixth in the championship division.
Freshman Kennadi Bouyer placed sixth in the college division of the long jump with a season-best 18-7.75 and also made it to the semifinals of the 60 meters championship division (7.63).
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