OXFORD, Miss. - For the first time this indoor track & field season, the Ole Miss Rebels will travel somewhere other than Birmingham, Ala., as Brian O'Neal's team heads northeast for this weekend's Vanderbilt Invitational in Nashville, Tenn.
The No. 16 Ole Miss men will line up against such nationally ranked teams as No. 11 Mississippi State and No. 13 Georgia and fellow regional rivals Auburn, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Memphis, Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky.
The Rebel women will compete against No. 5 Georgia, No. 15 Mississippi State, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Memphis, Middle Tennessee, UAB, Western Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
Several professional athletes, including Ole Miss alum and 2012 Olympian Isiah Young, are also slated to compete in Nashville.
"This is another quality caliber meet where we will get a chance to compete against some more SEC foes," O'Neal said. "Vanderbilt has a really nice brand new indoor track. We're looking to continue to progress as a team and compete with pride and passion."
The meet, which is being held at the new Vanderbilt Student Rec Center, opens with the field events on Friday at 5 p.m., and the running events begin at 7:45 p.m. Saturday's action begins with running events at 10:30 a.m., followed by field events at 11 a.m.
After three meets, Ole Miss athletes have produced some of the nation's top marks this indoor season. The Rebels are led by junior Sam Kendricks, the reigning NCAA outdoor pole vault champion and a candidate for The Bowerman, college track & field's highest individual honor.
Kendricks leads the NCAA, ranks tied for first among Americans and tied for 11th among all pole vaulters in the world this season with his school-record mark of 18-4.75 from the UAB Blazer Invitational. He has won the event at all three meets this year and set meet records in the competitions hosted by UAB and Auburn.
Another highlight for the Rebels this year has been newcomer Phillip Young, a transfer from Florida State. He ranks third among NCAA triple jumpers with a personal-best mark of 52-2.5 at the Auburn Invitational that ranks him fifth in school history.
On the women's side, senior Fabia McDonald is second in the NCAA with a pentathlon score of 3,989, while she also ranks fifth nationally in the long jump with a personal-best mark of 20-3.5.
Following this weekend's meet, the Rebels will be back in action on Feb. 7-8 at the prestigious Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York City. A Feb. 14-15 meet in Albuquerque, N.M., is after that, followed by the SEC Championships (Feb. 27-March 1) and NCAA Championships (March 14-15).
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