COLUMBIA, Mo. – Senior Isiah Young successfully defended his SEC 200 meter title and finished runner-up in the 100 meters to lead Ole Miss on the final day of the 2013 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships Sunday.
With his performances, Young was the men’s high points scorer at the meet with 18.5 points and earned the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy. He is Ole Miss’ first Commissioner’s Trophy outdoor recipient since Barnabas Kirui in 2010.
Young helped the No. 16 nationally ranked Rebel men score 39 team points and finish eighth overall. The Rebel women scored nine points to place 14th overall.
“We had some good performances, but by and large it was not the outcome that we expected,” said first-year head coach Brian O’Neal.
Arkansas claimed the 2013 SEC outdoor title for the men with 152.5 team points, while Texas A&M won the women’s title in its first year in the league with a total of 117 points.
Young, a 2012 London Olympian, ran a sensational 20.20 to blow away the eight-man field and win his second straight 200-meter league title, earning 10 team points for Ole Miss. That time set a track record at Missouri’s Audrey J. Walton Stadium and is the best in the NCAA and No. 3 in the world this year. It was just off his school record of 20.16 from last year’s U.S. Olympic Trials.
The Junction City, Kan., native nearly pulled off the sprint double with a narrow defeat in the 100 meters. He crossed the line in 10.14, just two-hundredths of a second behind winner Diondre Batson of Alabama (10.12). By himself, Young scored 18 of the Rebels’ 39 team points on the weekend.
“After I lost the 100, I had to refocus and just stick to my plan in the 200 and that’s to run my own race,” said Young after his title run. “At SECs, it seems like after I get a couple races out of the way I’m ready for the 200. I was able to take advantage of the competition and the weather today, and I should run faster as the year goes on.”
Young is the first Rebel to win back-to-back 200-meter titles since Tony Dees in 1983 and 1984 and the first 100-meter runner-up since Greg Saddler in 1994.
Sophomore Sam Kendricks placed runner-up in the SEC outdoor pole vault for the second straight year and earned eight team points for Ole Miss. The current world leader at 19-0.75, Kendricks turned in a clearance of 18-1 to finish second to Arkansas’ Andrew Irwin.
Senior Morris Kersh leapt to a personal-best 51-9 to place fourth in the men’s triple jump and earn five team points. That mark moves him into a tie for ninth place in school history and into the top 20 in the NCAA this year.
Sophomore Robert Semien finished fourth in the men’s 110-meter hurdle final with a strong run of 14.21 against a headwind of -2.1. It’s his highest SEC finish in his two-year career.
Senior Marci Morman placed 10th in the triple jump (40-11.75), while Haley Cutright set a new personal best in the 5,000 meters with a 16:43.54 to place 11th. That time keeps Cutright second-best in school history.
Earlier in the weekend, junior Mary Ashton Nall earned a fourth-place result in the heptathlon to score five points for Ole Miss.
“Obviously, the SEC is the crown jewel of track & field conferences,” O’Neal said. “If you don’t step up, you’ll get run out of the building. We need more of our guys and girls to believe that they can compete in this league. We will learn from this experience.”
Next up is the NCAA East Preliminary Round May 24-25 in Greensboro, N.C. The NCAA will accept the top 48 athletes in each individual event (except the women’s heptathlon, men’s decathlon and 10,000 meter run) and the top 24 relays from the East region. Those athletes will compete for the right to participate in the NCAA Outdoor Championships (June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore.).
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