OXFORD, Miss. - Rebel athletes claimed 11 individual titles, led by big marks from Sam Kendricks and Isiah Young, in the Ole Miss Invitational held Saturday at the Ole Miss Track & Field Complex.
Young, a 2012 Olympian, posted an impressive double victory for the No. 11 Ole Miss men in the 100 and 200 meters against a strong field of competition. With four of the nation's top 20 100-meter runners on the track, Young beat them all with a season-best 10.14, one of the best wind-legal times in the world this year. He then ran a season-best 20.50 to win the 200, also one of the best times in the nation and world this year.
Kendricks broke the facility record with his winning pole vault of 18-1, marking his eighth straight regular-season victory in the event. He entered the meet as the current world leader with a school-record clearance of 19-0.75.
"I thought it was a very unique night," said head coach Brian O'Neal. "The atmosphere was electric. It's the first time since I've been affiliated with Ole Miss that I've seen a packed house. I'm thankful to the city of Oxford and our students and faculty that all came out and supported us today, as well as our alums."
"One of the things we talked about in our team meeting is we wanted to come out and compete with pride and passion here at home, and I thought we did that today for the most part," O'Neal added. "It started from the beginning of the meet with our relays and ended with a fantastic school-record 5,000 meter run."
Freshman Onyi Afoaku posted a double victory in the shot put and discus. His winning mark of 56-10.75 in the shot was a season best and moved him up to No. 2 in the school record books. He claimed the discus title with a mark of 167-7.
Senior Morris Kersh jumped a season-best 50-0.75 to finish second in the triple jump. That mark should move him up nicely in the national rankings.
The women were led by a school record-breaking performance from junior Kayleigh Skinner. The Wilmington, Del., native ran 16:39.63 in the 5,000 meters to break Logan Waites' school record of 16:48.64 set last year. Sophomore Haley Cutright was runner-up with a stellar time of 16:44.70 in her first ever attempt in the race.
Senior Anne Threlkeld clocked a personal-best time of 10:39.91 to win the 3,000-meter steeplechase and move up to third-best in school history.
"I can't say enough about how proud I am with the work that Coach (Erin) Dawson has done this year with our distance women," O'Neal said. "It's very evident with Kayleigh and Haley running as well as they did tonight in the 5,000 and Annie in the steeple and Amy McCrory in the 1,500. It's evident that they believe in what we're doing and the by-product of that is what we're seeing on the track now."
Sophomore Taryn Hartfield was runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.70.
Back in town for her outdoor season debut, Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese put on a show for the packed house by winning the long jump invite with a jump of 22-4.25.
Ole Miss stays at home next weekend for the Mississippi Open on Saturday. After that the team will travel to the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa (April 25-27) and then the SEC Championships in Columbia, Mo. (May 9-12).
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