EUGENE, Ore. - Ole Miss sophomore Sam Kendricks captured a national title in the men's pole vault at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Wednesday night.
With his winning clearance of 18-8.25, the Oxford, Miss., native became the first person in school history to win an NCAA title in the pole vault. His title is the 13th individual national championship in program history, while he becomes the eighth Rebel to win at least one NCAA title. The others are Ralph Spry, George Kersh, Greg Saddler, Savante’ Stringfellow, Antwon Hicks, Barnabas Kirui and Brittney Reese.
“We had an outstanding day,” Rebel head coach Brian O’Neal said. “But it’s just day one and there’s so much more we’re still fighting for. Sam came in here and had an outstanding performance to get 10 big points for our team. He’s been one of our stars all year long, and I’m just really proud of him.”
Kendricks kept clearing bars with ease at historic Hayward Field, many of them on the first try, until it was down to him and last year’s outdoor champion Jack Whitt of Oral Roberts. After they both cleared 18-4.5, Kendricks passed on the next height of 18-6.5, while Whitt went over on his first attempt. Kendricks then cleared his first try at 18-8.25, while Whitt missed once and then passed to 18-10.25. Both missed their attempts at that final height, giving Kendricks a victorious night to remember.
“It was a great competition,” O’Neal said. “Sam battled through some adversity and there was a little bit of gamesmanship, but at the end of it all, when the bar was on the line, Sam was money. I’m really proud of him and proud of the job that Coach Kendricks has done with him. When you believe in yourself and your coach and your training, special things happen, and Sam’s performance tonight was a byproduct of that.”
Before this meet, Kendricks previously placed third at this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships and was 10th at last year’s NCAA Outdoors as a freshman.
Next up for the sensational sophomore will be the U.S. Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, June 20-23, where the top qualifiers will advance to the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Russia, Aug. 10-18. Kendricks is currently ranked second among Americans and seventh in the world this year with a mark of 19-0.75.
Isiah Young, who entered the meet as one of the favorites in both the 100 and 200 meters, won his semifinal 100-meter heat with a time of 10.00 to advance to Friday’s final. That eight-man final will take place at 7:10 p.m. CT, televised by ESPNU.
“Isiah did what was expected in qualifying for the 100,” O’Neal added. “Last year he was the fastest non-qualifier ever in at the NCAA Championships, so to come back this year and give himself a chance to score some points for the team is huge.”
The Rebel senior who came into the NCAAs with a collegiate-leading time of 9.99, a school record, was third-fastest in the semifinals behind TCU’s Charles Silmon (9.92) and Florida State’s Dentarius Locke (9.97).
Young is the second Ole Miss athlete to ever make the NCAA 100-meter final. Mike Granger placed seventh in the 100-meter final in 2011.
Day two of the championships will feature Young in the 200-meter semifinals (6:15 p.m. CT, ESPN3) and Mary Ashton Nall in the first day of the women’s heptathlon (starts at 3 p.m. CT, Pac-12 Live Stream).
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 8-14, 2014Volleyball- Ole Miss captured the Magnolia Invitational this past weekend to improve to 10-0, its best start in school history.- The Rebels downed UAB and Mercer 3-0 and then defeated Jacksonville State 3-1... read more
After a 56-15 win over Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday, Ole Miss moved up four spots to No. 10 in the latest Associated Press poll, released on Sunday. Despite breaking into the top 10, the Rebels remain fifth among Southeastern Conference Western Division... read more
This is the third installment of Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations from the previous week in Ole Miss Sports. This week... read more
Leading 1-0 after controlling the play for much of the game, Ole Miss opened up a 3-0 lead on Middle Tennessee with a pair of goals in the final minute of the first half on the way to a 4-0... read more
Senior cornerback Senquez Golson has come a long way since he was a freshman. That season, he was most notably on the receiving end of a highlight reel juke from Alabama running back Trent Richardson. Three years later, as part... read more
Three areas to watch as Ole Miss faces Louisiana-Lafayette in its home opener Saturday. Wearing the Bull's-Eye After a 2-0 start with wins over Boise State and Vanderbilt, Ole Miss moved up to No. 14 in the Associated Press poll,... read more
With a chance to make history, Ole Miss dropped a first set for the first time this season. The Rebels answered the bell winning the next three sets to defeat Jacksonville State 3-1 and improve to 10-0 on the season,... read more
Rebel Nation goes into its home opener Saturday excited for the return of football at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, but also saddened by the loss of one of its most renowned voices.Stan Sandroni, 64, passed away of a heart attack late Wednesday.... read more
Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's time on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of the Rebels' home opener Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and will be televised on the SEC Network.Freeze's time... read more
Former Ole Miss football player Jody Hill has partnered with Square Books in Oxford to launch his book, "38: The Chucky Mullins Effect," celebrating the life and impact of his Ole Miss teammate Chucky Mullins. Hill will be signing copies... read more
From week one to week two, head coach Hugh Freeze and offensive line coach Matt Luke are generally pleased with the progress along the offensive line. The number of false start penalties went from eight to two, while the... read more
With back-to-back tournament titles to open the season, the Rebels are 7-0 to start the season for the first time since 2007 and are also the only Southeastern Conference team still undefeated."We feel like at this point in our season... read more