AUSTIN, Texas - Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus was the site of one of the most spectacular pole vault performances in NCAA history Friday night, as Ole Miss sophomore Sam Kendricks cleared 19-0.75 to claim the Texas Relays event title.
Kendricks, a native of Oxford, Miss., shattered his own school record and achieved the best pole vault in the NCAA since 1998 while moving to No. 5 on the all-time collegiate list.
"Before the meet, we talked about this being a special start to our outdoor season," Ole Miss head coach Brian O'Neal said. "The Texas Relays is a prestigious event with some of the nation's elite in every event. For the most part, we've competed well. We've set three school records so far with Haley Cutright in the steeplechase and Kayleigh Skinner in the 10,000 meters yesterday and Sam today."
"Sam had an incredible night to say the least," O'Neal added. "I've been involved in track and field for over 20 years, and this is the first time I've seen someone get a standing ovation after the competition. I'm proud for Sam and proud for how he represents Ole Miss. He has definitely worked hard to put himself in the position to be one of the elite jumpers in the U.S."
Aside from SEC and NCAA Championships, Kendricks has now won six straight college pole vault competitions dating back to a fourth-place finish at the Drake Relays last April. He has 12 career college victories under his belt.
Senior Isiah Young made his 2013 debut on Friday in the 100 meter prelims. The 2012 Olympian clocked the fifth-fastest time of the day at 10.30 to qualify for Saturday afternoon's final.
Other highlights for the Rebels on Friday included Taryn Hartfield's personal-best 13.53 in the 100 meter hurdle prelims and Asia Cooper's personal-best 11.62 in the 100 meter prelims.
Competition in the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays continues Saturday. Slated to compete for the No. 11-ranked Ole Miss men are Young in the 100 meter final and Onyi Afoaku in the discus.
A few Rebels will also be competing at the UCA Open in Conway, Ark.
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