ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Ole Miss athletes Sam Kendricks and Jalen Miller both scored points to help the Rebels finish tied for 24th in the men's team standings at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
It was the second straight top-25 NCAA indoor finish and third straight top-25 NCAA finish overall for head coach Brian O'Neal's men. The Rebels placed 23rd at last year's indoor meet and a program-best eighth at last year's outdoor championships.
"I'm extremely proud of our young men and the way they stood in there and competed this weekend," O'Neal said. "It was a great competition, and our young men fought all the way to the finish and left it all out there on the track."
Kendricks, a junior from Oxford, Miss., finished runner-up in the pole vault at the conclusion of a world-class duel between the top American and top Canadian vaulter, Akron's Shawn Barber.
Kendricks cleared every height on his first attempt, all the way up to 18-8.25 (5.70m) that matched his own school record and the best by an American this year. But he missed all three tries from 18-10.25, which Barber cleared to establish a new Canadian national record and win the NCAA title. The marks from both athletes rank them top 10 in NCAA indoor history.
Ole Miss received eight team points for his runner-up finish. It was the best NCAA indoor finish for Kendricks, who was third at last year's championships. He was the NCAA outdoor champion a year ago.
Miller, a freshman from Tunica, Miss., finished eighth in a very fast 60 meter dash final to score one team point. His time of 6.69 was off his season best of 6.61, but he still became the first Ole Miss men's freshman to score points in the 60 at the NCAA indoor meet since teammate Mike Granger in 2010.
Florida State's Dentarius Locke won the NCAA 60 meter title in 6.52. All eight runners clocked times under 6.70.
"A lot of different emotions tonight," O'Neal said. "From elation to realizing just how close we were to a top-15 finish. It was definitely not for a lack of effort."
Oregon captured the NCAA team title on both the men's and women's sides.
The Rebels will now turn their attention to the outdoor season, which begins next weekend at home. The Ole Miss Open is set for Saturday, March 22, at the Ole Miss Track & Field Complex.
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