NCAA CHAMPION AGAIN ... Sam Kendricks

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Sam Kendricks after his victorious vault (photo by Joshua McCoy)
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Sam Kendricks after his victorious vault (photo by Joshua McCoy)
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

June 11, 2014

Photo Gallery 

TWITTER: @OleMissTrack | @CoachBrianONeal

FACEBOOK: Ole Miss Track

USTFCCCA Meet Central | Entries/Start Lists | Live Results | ESPN3

EUGENE, Ore. - Ole Miss junior Sam Kendricks won his second straight NCAA outdoor pole vault on Wednesday, but it wasn't easy.

Kendricks had a couple of clutch clearances late in the competition to overcome Akron's Shawn Barber on the first day of the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships in front of 9,165 enthusiastic fans at historic Hayward Field in Track Town USA.

A native of Oxford, Mississippi, Kendricks becomes the first back-to-back NCAA outdoor champion for the Rebels since Savante' Stringfellow won long jump titles in 2000 and 2001. He's the first back-to-back NCAA outdoor pole vault champ since Oregon's Tommy Skipper in 2006 and 2007.

Barber and Tennessee's Jake Blankeship were the leaders through 18-2.5, which was the last height that Blankenship cleared. Kendricks came through in a big way on his third and final attempt at 18-4.5 when he brushed the bar, but it held steady. Then Barber cleared 18-6.5 and Kendricks missed, setting up a fantastic finale that saw Kendricks jump up to 18-8.25, which Barber couldn't match.

"The reward for me came from all the guys I jumped against today," Kendricks said afterward. "Those guys have worked hard their whole lives, just like I have. And they wanted me to make that bar as much as they wanted to make it themselves. So it was very rewarding to know they worked their hardest and I came out on top among friends. And that's what made it a lot of fun."

It was another great duel between the top American collegian (Kendricks) and the top Canadian collegian (Barber). Barber won the duel at this year's NCAA Indoor Championships when he set a Canadian national record, while Kendricks was second with the same height that he cleared to win on Wednesday.

Ole Miss also competed in the 4x100 meter relay semifinals on Wednesday and placed 20th in 40.05 to end its season. The school-record holding quartet of Mike Granger, Jalen Miller, Creighton Serrette and Kailo Moore were in the top three for most of their race (top two in each heat advanced to the final), but couldn't finish it out among a very fast field of teams.

"What a day," head coach Brian O'Neal said. "Great job by Sam. During our team meeting last night, we talked about the things we needed to do this week to be successful. We reminded the team that what makes the NCAA Championships special is everyone will be at their best. Each competitor has worked hard all season long and it comes down to the athlete that can focus on the task at hand, and Sam did just that.

"I can't say enough about how proud we are of Sam. It's great to see the bond that he shares with Coach Kendricks and the confidence they have in each other. Each week we've asked Sam to go out and provide a spark for this team. Week in and week out that's exactly what he's done. That was 10 big points for us. Now we have to continue to build on this as we move on to day two tomorrow and another opportunity for us to advance."

Ole Miss gets 10 team points for Kendricks' victory, which has them in third place overall after day one of four.

"Knowing that my team's eyes are on me wherever they may be in the country gives me an edge," Kendricks added. "Knowing that there are eight other athletes form Ole Miss here as well, that makes it special."

Next up for the Rebels is junior Robert Semien in the 110-meter hurdle semifinals on Thursday. Junior Phillip Young will compete in the triple jump on Saturday.

AGATE

4x100 Meter Relay Semifinals
20. Ole Miss (Granger, Miller, Serrette, Moore) - 40.05

Pole Vault
1. Sam Kendricks - 18-8.25 (10 points)

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Blog
    • New Hitting Coach Mike Clement Q-And-A

      Thursday, July 24, 2014 - Baseball

      On the transition as new hitting coach: The transition has been really good. The coaching staff has made it a lot easier on me than what it could be. It's definitely been a whirlwind. On what he knew about Ole... read more

    • Hugh Freeze's Day At ESPN Car Wash

      Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - Football

      Here are more of Coach Freeze's interviews in Bristol. Scroll down to the earlier post to hear him on Ivan Maisel's podcast. Watch: Freeze on CFB Live Watch: Freeze on the Paul Finebaum Show Listen: Freeze on the Freddie Coleman... read more

    • Freeze Visits ESPN Headquarters Monday

      Sunday, July 20, 2014 - Football

      All 14 Southeastern Conference football coaches will travel to ESPN's annual mid-summer football coaches "car wash" - in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day - at ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters on Monday and Tuesday. Ole... read more

    • What They're Saying: Ole Miss At SEC Media Days

      Friday, July 18, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss took its turn at the annual SEC Media Days on Thursday. Joining head coach Hugh Freeze was senior quarterback Bo Wallace, junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and senior safety Cody Prewitt. Here are a few related SEC Media... read more

    • Rebels Raise Expectations Entering Year Three

      Thursday, July 17, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said on day one that his expectations were to make the program relevant in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. With a full allotment of 85 scholarship players and more depth of both sides of... read more

    • Healthy, Confident Wallace Eyes Atlanta

      Thursday, July 17, 2014 - Football

      Once overshadowed, Wallace now finds himself more firmly in the spotlight after the departure of seven of the league's eight top passers. The dean of SEC quarterbacks, Wallace is the league's leading returner in total offense, passing yards and passing... read more

    • Freeze Meets With Local Media At Media Days

      Thursday, July 17, 2014 - Football

      Before taking his turn at the podium in the main room at SEC Media Days on Thursday, head coach Hugh Freeze met with members of the Ole Miss local media and addressed a wide variety of topics. Here are some... read more

    • What They're Saying: Day 3 Of SEC Media Days

      Thursday, July 17, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Three of SEC Media Days, which featured Steve Shaw (SEC), Justin Connolly (ESPN),... read more

    • What They're Saying: Day 2 Of SEC Media Days

      Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Two of SEC Media Days, which featured South Carolina, Mississippi State, Texas A&M... read more

    • Ole Miss In CFB 24/7 14 For '14 Series

      Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - Football

      NFL.com CFB 24/7 has counted down the 14 college football players to watch -- and some other college football topics -- in varying categories in 2014. Below are the highlights for Ole Miss and the link to the complete 14... read more

    • What They're Saying: Day 1 Of SEC Media Days

      Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day 1 of SEC Media Days, which featured SEC commissioner Mike Slive, Auburn, Florida... read more

    • Cozart Named Best Defensive SS Of First Half

      Sunday, July 13, 2014 - Baseball

      Former Ole Miss player Zack Cozart, now a member of the Cincinnati Reds, was named the best defensive shortstop in baseball for the first half of the 2014 season. ESPN Insider Scott Spratt selected one player from either league at... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Baseball Postseason

      Saturday, July 12, 2014 - Baseball

      The Season: Ole Miss Baseball: Omaha Bound from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 1: Regionals from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 2: Super Regionals from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 3: CWS Games 1 & 2... read more

    • Ole Miss Preps For SEC Media Days

      Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - Football

      Three student-athletes and the head coach of each of the 14 Southeastern Conference football programs will participate in SEC Football Media Days, July 14-17, at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala.Ole Miss will take its... read more

    • Ole Miss And The World Cup

      Thursday, July 3, 2014 - Athletics

      The United States' run in the 2014 World Cup came to an end with a 2-1 extra-time loss to Belgium in the Round of 16. For many fans, it's also the end of the road, but for a few Ole... read more