OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss boasts some of the nation's top track & field athletes as it heads to the world-class Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships this weekend in Fayetteville, Ark.
The Ole Miss men are ranked No. 19 in the nation by the USTFCCCA this week.
The Rebels will be competing at the Randal Tyson Track Center alongside four other nationally ranked men's teams (No. 1 Arkansas, No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Texas A&M and No. 16 LSU) and five nationally ranked women's squads (No. 1 LSU, No. 3 Arkansas, No. 6 Florida, No. 7 Georgia, No. 9 Texas A&M and No. 14 South Carolina).
Arkansas is the defending men's SEC indoor champion, while Florida is the three-time defending men's NCAA indoor champion. The Gators are the defending SEC indoor champions on the women's side.
"I believe the SEC meet is the second-best meet in the world outside of the world championships," said Brian O'Neal, who is in his first season as Ole Miss head coach after a four-year stint as an assistant at Florida. "You have some of the best athletes from different countries in one building competing for the ultimate prize, which for us is the SEC Championship. Every time we put on the Ole Miss jersey we want to compete with pride and passion. That's what the Rebel Nation expects from us. And our ultimate goal at the end of the day is to make sure the Rebel Nation is happy with our performance."
Ricky Robertson, the reigning SEC Indoor Field Athlete of the Year, will once again be counted on to lead the Rebel charge at the conference meet. He will be attempting to become the second athlete in SEC history to claim four straight SEC indoor high jump crowns.
"It's hard enough to win one of them in this league, but to string along three of them as he has now, he's already had a great career," O'Neal said. "Obviously, he wants to cap that off and leave no stone unturned and win all four of them."
The Hernando, Miss., native is in the midst of a stellar senior indoor campaign and is the only athlete currently ranked top 25 nationally in the high jump (3rd, 7-6), triple jump (6th, 52-8.25) and long jump (22nd, 24-7.25). He currently ranks 17th in the world in the high jump.
"It would mean a lot," said Robertson of winning a fourth straight high jump title. "I could add that to my accomplishments. I'm just looking for another successful indoor season. I've had a couple of good jumps this year. I just want to come out and PR and hopefully get my team a win."
Sophomore Sam Kendricks is the only Rebel to ever clear 18 feet in the indoor pole vault and ranks fifth nationally this year (18-1.75). He is a perfect 4-for-4 in vault competitions this year and is the top-ranked SEC vaulter.
Senior Morris Kersh is 14th nationally in the triple jump with a personal-best mark of 51-8.5 that ranks him fifth in school history.
The Rebel men placed sixth at last year's SEC Indoor Championships behind Robertson, who tied for the most points at the meet and earned the Cliff Harper Trophy after placing first in the high jump, fourth in the triple jump and fourth in the long jump. Other returning scorers from last year's meet who will compete this weekend include Kendricks (pole vault), Robert Semien (60-meter hurdles), Dante Oliver (400 meters, 4x400 relay), Montez Griffin (4x400 relay), Loren Newsom (distance medley relay), Creighton Serrette (distance medley relay) and Riley Young (distance medley relay).
The Ole Miss women will also look to post a strong showing at this weekend's meet.
Freshman Asia Cooper has been torching the short track in her rookie campaign and headlines several Rebels ranked among the SEC's best. The Jackson, Miss., native is ninth in the NCAA and fourth in the SEC with a 60-meter time of 7.31 (converted from 7.29 for altitude). She's the top freshman in the nation and already ranks third-best in school history.
Junior Allegra Wells is 14th in the NCAA and fifth in the SEC in the long jump. A four-year standout for the Ole Miss volleyball team, she claimed fourth place in the long jump at last year's SEC indoor meet.
Senior Jazmin Miller ranks 27th in the NCAA and third in the SEC this year with a personal-best weight throw of 64-8.75 that ranks her second-best in school history.
Sophomore Taryn Hartfield boasts a time of 8.43 (converted from 8.41 for altitude) in the 60-meter hurdles that ranks her 45th nationally and ninth in the league.
The meet begins at 1 p.m. CT Friday and continues at 10 a.m. CT Saturday and Sunday. Live results will be available here, and complete meet information may be found here.
The SEC Indoor Championships will air as part of a 90-minute show on ESPNU on Wednesday, March 13 beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET. ESPN3 will stream the meet live during the following times: Saturday, February 23 from 2:25-7:15 p.m. CT and Sunday, February 24 from 12:30-5 p.m. CT. The University of Arkansas will stream live the portions of the meet not on ESPN3 on its own website www.ArkansasRazorbacks.com. The ESPN commentary team includes Dwight Stones (play-by-play), Larry Rawson (color analysis) and Lewis Johnson (sideline reporter).
Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze will team with former All-SEC basketball player Sean Tuohy to represent the Rebels for the fourth straight year and compete for a share of the $520,000 total purse in the ninth annual Chick-fil-A... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 14-20, 2015Men's Tennis- Ole Miss downed No. 22 Vanderbilt 4-1 to advance to the SEC Tournament semifinals for the 16th time in program history.- The Rebels rallied to take the doubles point and then got... read more
With a split of road matches at South Carolina and No. 8 Georgia, the Ole Miss men's tennis team moved up one spot to No. 13 in the nation entering the Southeastern Conference Men's Tennis Championship this week in College... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review April 7-13, 2015 Baseball - Ole Miss finished the week with a 2-2 mark to remain a .500 overall record for the season (18-18) as well as 7-8 in SEC play. After dropping a... read more
The baseball team claimed claimed their second series of the second over the nation's top-ranked team in dramatic fashion. The football team wrapped up spring practice. And the men's and women's tennis teams closed out their respective regular seasons and... read more
At one point, co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner said, all three quarterbacks had completed around 66 percent of their passes, a testament to how close the competition has been this spring. Going into the Grove Bowl, Freeze said one had a... read more
Former Ole Miss head coach Billy Brewer almost did not sign Chucky Mullins, whose memory has been honored with the Chucky Mullins Courage Award. Nate Wayne, a four-year letterman for the Rebels and the 1997 recipient of the award, who... read more
#RebelNation here are the Red and Blue rosters for tomorrow's Regions Bank Grove Bowl. See you there! pic.twitter.com/FZptUEkW4P-- Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) April 10, 2015 Three areas to watch as Ole Miss splits into two teams for the annual Regions... read more
Junior cornerback Tee Shepard's story has been well-documented. Shepard is hearing impaired, but since he has arrived at Ole Miss, he has been the beneficiary of new hearing technology that has allowed him to hear sounds, such as a coach's... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewMarch 31-April 6, 2015Baseball - Ole Miss finished the week with a 2-2 mark to remain a .500 overall record for the season (16-16). - The Rebels claimed a midweek victory over Memphis before dropping... read more
Six former Rebels begin the 2015 Major League Baseball on opening day rosters. Chris Coghlan, Zack Cozart and Seth Smith all started or are slated to start on opening day for their respective teams. Lance Lynn and Drew Pomeranz will begin the season... read more