OXFORD, Miss. – On a hot spring day in Oxford, it was fitting that the Ole Miss track and field team scorched the track all day long on its way to numerous records at the Ole Miss Invitational.
“We expected to have a good meet but even this meet exceeded our expectations,” Rebel head coach Joe Walker said. “Not only did we have a lot of victories, but we posted some real top-notch marks.”
Junior All-American Isiah Young set the school record and the Ole Miss Track and Field Complex record in the 200 meters Saturday to lead the No. 21 nationally ranked Rebel men.
Young clocked a 200-meter time of 20.49, which broke Tony Dees’ 28 year-school record and also eclipsed three-time world champion Tyson Gay’s former facility record. His time will rank close to the top of the NCAA leaders this year.
“It feels good to beat the records held by two names like that,” Young said. “It’s another accomplishment in my career that I can build on. I have to stay hungry, though, and keep competing. It’s still early in the season.”
Several other Ole Miss athletes put together strong performances at the Invitational, including junior All-American Ricky Robertson and senior Logan Waites. All told, the Rebels broke two school records, two facility records and had several others move into the school’s top five list in their events. The meet marked the first home meet for the Rebels this season.
The meet featured fellow SEC foes Alabama and Mississippi State along with nearby Memphis of Conference-USA. More than 10 other Division I universities from across the Southeast region and country also participated in Saturday’s Invitational.
Robertson set the Ole Miss Track and Field Complex facility record in the high jump producing a jump of 7-5 to improve his national leading mark in the event. Robertson’s previous high mark this season was 7-4.50, and Saturday he barely missed a height of 7-7 on three close attempts.
Robertson also won the triple jump with a 53-1.75, which places him third-best in school history in the event and among the nation’s leaders this year.
Waites broke teammate Katie Breathitt’s school record in the 5,000 meters running a time of 16:48.64 to finish first in the event Saturday. Breathitt finished second running a time of 16:55.49 and now ranks second-best in school history.
Junior All-American Mike Granger captured the 100 meters with a season-best time of 10.19 that should rank him among the top five nationally this year. He continues to rank third-best in school history in the 100 after running a 10.16 last year. Young entered the meet ranked first nationally in the 100 and finished second to Granger clocking a time of 10.27.
“I thought that Mike Granger had a great day in the 100,” Walker said. “I thought Isiah had a phenomenal day in the 200. Not only did Isiah run a fast time, but those are some pretty good names to knock off of records. When you knock off Tony Dees and Tyson Gay, not only have you put up a good mark, but you’ve also knocked off some legends.”
Senior Carson Blanks was victorious in the 400-meter hurdles with a season-best time of 51.18, which ranks him among the nation’s best this outdoor season.
In his first home outdoor meet, Oxford native Sam Kendricks cleared a season-best height of 17-4.50, which now ties him with former Rebel Kyle Wallace for second-best in school history in the event.
The Rebel men’s 4x100 meter relay consisting of Granger, Young, Creighton Serrette and Bradley Shields sprinted a relay time of 39.90, which ranks as the fourth-fastest in school history.
Ole Miss performed brilliantly in the women’s 100-meter hurdles. The team had three athletes finish in the top five led by freshman Taryn Hartfield’s victory. Hartfield clocked a time of 13.69, which now ranks her fourth-best in school history in the event and among the NCAA leaders this year.
Bridges continues to rank fourth-best in school history in the 400 meters after winning the event with a personal-best time of 53.20 Saturday, which ranks among the nation’s best.
Junior Kelsey Breathitt placed second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase running a time of 11:03.58, which now ranks her second-best in the event in school history behind her twin sister, Katie. In the same event, freshman McKenna Coughlin clocked a time of 11:51.56, which now places her third in the school record books.
After running a 1,500 meter time of 4:35.20, freshman Haley Cutright now ranks third-best in school history in the event.
Other Rebel winners on Saturday included Benjamin Lapane in the javelin throw (209-8) and Deonna Walton in the long jump. Walton’s long jump mark of 19-4.75 was a season-best.
An estimated total of more than 2,400 athletes competed over the two-day weekend of the High School Invitational and Ole Miss Invitational in Oxford.
The Rebels’ next home meet will be Saturday April 14 when they will host the Mississippi Open. Next weekend select members of the team will travel to Gainesville, Fla., to participate in the prestigious Pepsi Florida Relays.
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