FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -Ricky Robertson won his fourth straight Southeastern Conference indoor high jump title and scored in the long jump and triple jump to highlight the Ole Miss Rebels' performance at the 2013 SEC Indoor Championships over the weekend.
Robertson scored 14 of the Ole Miss men's 22 points, which earned the Rebels 11th place in the team standings. The Ole Miss women placed 12th with 11 total points.
"Obviously this was a tough, tough day for us, but I'm extremely proud of how our kids fought," said Rebel head coach Brian O'Neal. "We didn't back up one inch in any race or competition; it just simply wasn't our day. It wasn't from a lack of effort. In some cases, I would say we wanted it too bad and didn't relax enough to let it happen. That's part of the growing pains you have with a young team, but we will continue to battle and continue to get better."
Robertson, the defending SEC Indoor Field Athlete of the Year, scored in all three jumps for the second straight year. He placed seventh in the long jump (25-2.75) on Saturday immediately before earning the high jump crown (7-5). On Sunday, he got seventh in the triple jump with a leap of 51-11.25.
His 14 points were the fifth-most among SEC male athletes at the meet.
"Ricky capped off a brilliant SEC indoor career. His 54 points over four years are the most for any athlete to ever wear the Ole Miss jersey," O'Neal said. "That's something he should be commended for. He's a valiant warrior. We're glad he's part of our team. He's been the heart and soul of our program for four seasons, and we wish we could have given him and the senior class a better send-off than what we did."
"It's always good to be an SEC champion," Robertson said on Saturday. "I came out with a little energy coming from the long jump, and I just executed what I've learned since I've been at Ole Miss. I was feeling good throughout the event. As I kept progressing and kept clearing heights, I got my confidence. Overall, I felt really good. It means a lot to my team to help us come out on top."
Other points for the Rebel men on Sunday came from Morris Kersh in the triple jump, Sam Kendricks in the pole vault and the 4x400 meter relay team.
Kersh, a senior, took sixth place in the triple jump with a personal-best 51-11.75, which should keep him among the top 20 in the nation this year.
Kendricks, a sophomore, placed seventh in the pole vault with a clearance of 17-1.5.
"That was big for us," O'Neal said. "Annie led that off with a 3:32 first 1,200 meters, which is a big-time mark for her and would be on a personal-record pace for her in the mile. And then at the end, Haley set a personal best with her mile split of 4:49."
Arkansas, which hosted the meet, claimed the SEC men's and women's team titles.
"This indoor season has been a step in the direction we want to go," O'Neal said. "We established six school records this season. And then we have some others flirting with a school record. Those are big when you're talking about the best marks that have ever happened in the history of your program.
"We will continue to fight and continue to get better. It starts tomorrow morning when we get back to Oxford with training and preparation for the group going to the NCAA meet. For those that are not, they will start training and getting ready for the outdoor season. We definitely look to have a different outcome when we get to Columbia, Missouri (for the SEC Outdoor Championships)."
Announcements for the field of athletes to take part in the NCAA Indoor Championships (March 8-9 in Fayetteville) will be made following a few "Last Chance" meets this coming week.
The Rebels' outdoor season begins March 23 at the SEC/Big Ten Challenge in Starkville, Miss.
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