OXFORD, Miss. - The Ole Miss men's and women's track teams are back in action this weekend with a trip to Albuquerque, N.M., for the Don Kirby Elite Invitational that will feature many of the nation's top athletes.
The two-day meet on Friday and Saturday will be the Rebels' last tuneup before the SEC and NCAA Indoor Championships. A total of 29 institutions will be represented at the high-altitude facility, as well as a number of world-class level professionals.
The 25th-ranked Ole Miss men will compete at the Albuquerque Convention Center, which will also host the upcoming NCAA Championships, alongside fellow USTFCCCA ranked teams in No. 3 Oregon, No. 8 Arizona, No. 12 UTEP, No. 14 Arizona State, No. 20 Stanford, No. 21 Akron and No. 24 USC.
The Rebel women will square off against such ranked teams as No. 2 Oregon, No. 9 Stanford, No. 13 UCLA, No. 20 Akron, No. 21 Arizona State and No. 23 Arizona.
"The altitude is definitely going to be an adjustment for us," Rebel head coach Brian O'Neal said. "We always talk about hydration, but particularly when you go into high-altitude places we need to make sure we stay hydrated. It is the site of the NCAA Championships. We're staying in the same hotel we plan to stay in for NCAAs, so we'll get to know what we want to eat and if there's anything we want to adjust from this meet as we move forward to the national championships."
Friday's schedule begins with field events at 5 p.m. CT and running events at 7 p.m. CT. The action begins at 11:30 a.m. CT on Saturday and will last until about 4 p.m. CT.
One of the meet's main attractions will be Friday night's showdown between the current top two men's pole vaulters in the country in Akron's Shawn Barber (18-6.75) and Ole Miss' Sam Kendricks (18-4.75). Barber recently overtook the nation's top mark from Kendricks, who is the reigning NCAA outdoor champion. Barber was third at last year's NCAA Outdoor Championships.
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