ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -Sam Kendricks smashed his own school record with one of the best indoor pole vaults in NCAA history to lead the 25th-ranked Ole Miss men on the first day of the Don Kirby Elite Invitational Friday night.
Kendricks, the reigning NCAA outdoor champion, jumped 18-8.25 to defeat a strong field of vaulters at the Albuquerque Convention Center. He beat the runner-up finisher by almost eight inches en route to a school record and the meet record by a collegian. The field included such highly ranked vaulters as UCLA's Michael Woepse and Akron's Shawn Barber. Barber came into the meet with a slim lead over Kendricks in the NCAA rankings and recently broke the Canadian pole vault record.
Kendricks' previous school indoor record was 18-4.75, set earlier this year at the UAB Blazer Invitational.
His jump ranks him No. 1 in the NCAA, No. 1 among Americans and No. 13 in the world this year, while the junior from Oxford, Miss., moves into a tie for ninth place on the all-time NCAA indoor list.
"We ask Sam to go out there week in and week out and get our team kickstarted in terms of momentum. And he never disappoints," said Ole Miss head coach Brian O'Neal. "Tonight was another great performance by Sam. He's very confident in what he's doing, and he believes in himself, his coaching and his training."
Junior Malcolm Davis won the men's long jump (non-invitational division) with a personal-best leap of 24-8.5 that ranks him top 25 in the NCAA this year and No. 11 in the school record book.
In the men's weight throw, sophomores Onyi Afoaku and Nathan Loe placed fifth and sixth, respectively. Afoaku matched his personal-best throw of 62-10.75 that ranks him third in school history, while Loe increased his personal best to 61-11.75, which makes him fourth in school history.
On the women's side, the top Ole Miss performer was junior Kierra White in the long jump invitational. She placed sixth with a leap of 19-5.25.
The Rebels will look to keep the momentum going on Saturday. Action begins at 11:30 a.m. CT and will last until about 4 p.m. CT. Also, distance runners Trevor Gilley and Sean Tobin will run Saturday at the Husky Classic in Seattle.
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