Asia Cooper (photo by Joshua McCoy)
Jan. 31, 2013
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OXFORD, Miss. – The indoor track season is now in full swing, and the 17th-ranked Ole Miss men and the Rebel women will travel to their most challenging meet of the season so far this Friday-Saturday at the Meyo Invitational, hosted by the University of Notre Dame.
The Meyo Invitational is in its 26th year of existence and will welcome nearly 50 teams to South Bend this weekend. Nationally ranked men’s teams include No. 7 Minnesota, No. 8 Indiana, No. 14 Wisconsin, No. 15 Mississippi State and No. 22 Oklahoma, while top-25 women’s teams include No. 17 Indiana State, No. 18 Baylor and No. 21 South Carolina. Fellow SEC squad Kentucky will also be in attendance.
Field events are set to begin with the women's pole vault at 4 p.m. ET on Friday. The women's 60-meter hurdle trials will kick off the running events at 5 p.m. Action will continue Saturday starting with the women's 3,000 meters at 10 a.m., and will conclude with the men's 4x400-meter relay at 5:05 p.m.
“We’re going from our training phase to a competitive phase as we gear up for championship season, which is the SEC Championships and the National Championships,” head coach Brian O’Neal said. “The Meyo Invitational brings out some of the best people in the United States. All the events will be highly competitive, so we have to make sure we come in there with our A-game.”
The Ole Miss men jumped six spots to No. 17 in this week’s USTFCCCA national poll and are led by the record-breaking exploits of senior Ricky Robertson and sophomore Sam Kendricks.
Robertson has been on a tear in the last couple of weeks. Six days after setting the NCAA’s top mark in the triple jump (52-8.25) in Birmingham, Ala. (and being named SEC Field Athlete of the Week for it), he soared to an NCAA-best 7-6 in the high jump to demolish last week’s competition at the ASU Invitational in Jonesboro, Ark.
The Hernando, Miss., native broke his own school indoor record that had been at 7-5.75 since a 2011 meet at the same ASU Convocation Center. He tied Kansas State’s Erik Kynard and Indiana’s Derek Drouin for the top clearance in the nation and fourth-best in the world this year. He now ranks third nationally in the triple jump and 32nd in the long jump (24-1.5), having participated in that event just once this indoor season.
Kendricks has been a hit in his second Ole Miss season. The Oxford, Miss., native is tied for second in the NCAA in the pole vault with a school-record 18-1.75. In three competitions this year, he has broken his own school record twice and set a meet record all three times.
Other Rebel men who rank among the top 100 nationally in their event include Morris Kersh in the triple jump (53rd, 48-11.5), Montez Griffin in the 400 (61st, 47.99), the 4x400 relay team (77th, 3:15.71), Robert Semien in the 60-meter hurdles (88th, 8.11) and Peyton Moss in the heptathlon (89th, 4,629).
The Ole Miss women have improved throughout the early indoor season as the team enters the meat of the 2013 schedule.
Freshman Asia Cooper has three victories in four collegiate meets under her belt after winning the 55 meters at the ASU Invitational. Her time of 7.01 ranks her sixth-best in school history. She is 30th in the nation (seventh among freshmen) in the 60 meters with a time of 7.44.
Sophomore Taryn Hartfield clocked a time of 7.88 in the 55-meter hurdles in Jonesboro to move into second place on the all-time Ole Miss chart and finish in third place. She ranks 46th nationally in the 60-meter hurdles with a converted time of 8.48.
Other Rebel women who rank among the top 100 nationally in their event include Jazmin Miller in the weight throw (33rd, 62-8.75), the distance medley relay (49th, 11:57.48), Marci Morman in the triple jump (53rd, 40-0.75) and long jump (71st, 19-2), Sofia Hellberg-Jonsen in the 800 (59th, 2:11.18), Fabia McDonald in the long jump (71st, 19-2), Deonna Walton in the triple jump (75th, 39-5.75), Haley Cutright in the mile (81st, 4:50.47), Allegra Wells (82nd, 19-1.25) and Cooper in the 200 (97th, 24.54).