BATON ROUGE, La. – Sophomore Fabia McDonald claimed runner-up in the women’s heptathlon and three Rebels qualified for finals in their events to lead Ole Miss on a rain-soaked day two of the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Bernie Moore Stadium.
McDonald scored the Rebels’ first team points of the meet with eight points for her second-place result, setting a personal record with a score of 5,563. Among the seven events that make up the heptathlon, she set personal bests in the high jump (5-8) on Thursday and then on Friday with a huge javelin throw of 145-4 (ranks her second in school history) and in the 800 meters (2:15.84). Her score of 5,563 continues to rank her second in school history and moves her up to 12th in the NCAA this year.
“It was tough for me because coming into this year I’ve been injured,” McDonald said. “My first day was pretty darn rough. I had to re-focus. It showed in the javelin and then in the 800 with really big PRs. I was in sixth place coming in today and I got all the way to second. I stuck in there and overcame the pain. I came out better than I thought, so I’m very proud of myself.”
McDonald, a native of Middletown, Ohio, is just the second Lady Rebel to ever finish as high as second in the SEC heptathlon. LaToya McBride, the school record-holder, was second at the 2005 SEC Championships.
Mary Ashton Nall also competed in the heptathlon, but she did not finish. She did, however, post a personal best in the javelin with a mark of 132-8 that ranks her ninth in school history.
As the day progressed, the rain slowed and the times on the track began to speed up.
Isiah Young clocked the fastest time of all runners in the 200 meter prelims with a time of 20.78 to advance to Sunday’s finals. He comes into the weekend ranked fourth in the NCAA in the event, while he will also compete in the 100 and the 4x100 meter relay.
Carson Blanks won his heat of the 400-meter hurdles to qualify for Sunday’s finals with the third-fastest time of the day at 51.03. He enters the weekend ranked 17th in the NCAA in the event. He was the runner-up to teammate Lee Ellis Moore at last year’s SEC Outdoor Championships.
Sofia Hellberg-Jonsen also qualified for Sunday’s finals in the women’s 400-meter hurdles by finishing second in her heat with a time of 1:00.25.
Saturday’s competition features a lineup of top Rebels who will vie for preliminary qualifying marks in several more running events as well as SEC titles in a few events. Among Saturday’s competitors in championship finals will be Deonna Walton in the women’s long jump, Caleb Lee and Ricky Robertson in the men’s long jump and Neal Tisher in the women’s pole vault. Highly ranked Rebels in preliminary events will include Kristin Bridges in the women’s 400 meters and Young in the men’s 100 meters.
Saturday’s events begin at 2 p.m. CT (women’s javelin) and are scheduled to run until 7:05 p.m. (men’s 3,000 meter steeplechase). There will be a live video stream on ESPN3.com from 4:30-7:15 on Saturday and then on Sunday from 3-7 p.m.
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