OXFORD, Miss. – State bragging rights will be up for grabs on Friday when top college track & field athletes from Alabama and Mississippi convene in Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the 2014 Border Clash.
Ole Miss will team up with Mississippi State and Southern Miss as they compete against the trio of Alabama, Auburn and Samford to determine which state is better in college track & field.
The uniquely designed track meet features a scoring system in which the top two finishers from each state will score points based on a 5-3-2-1 scale, and the top relay from each state will score on a 5-3 scale.
Competition gets underway with the women’s hammer throw at 11 a.m. CT, and continues throughout the afternoon and into the night. Running events start at 5 p.m., and the men’s and women’s 4x400-meter relays will conclude the meet at approximately 8:30 p.m.
This could be a special meet for the 34 Rebels that hail from the state of Mississippi, and even the seven team members that call Alabama their home.
“This is one of the challenges our young men and women have been relishing here at the start of our outdoor season,” head coach Brian O’Neal said. “It gives us a chance to come in with the other schools in our state and compete as one team. Scoring opportunities will be a little bit tougher to come by, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The Ole Miss men rank 13th in this week’s USTFCCCA national poll. Veteran stars Ricky Robertson and Sam Kendricks continue to lead the way, while some newcomers are pushing for the spotlight.
Robertson, a senior from Hernando, Miss., ranks first in the NCAA, first among Americans and second in the world with his season-best high jump of 7-6 (Texas Relays).
Kendricks, a junior from Oxford, tops the world rankings in the pole vault with his season-best mark of 18-8.25 (Texas Relays).
Other Rebels who rank highly in the NCAA include freshman Jalen Miller in the 100 meters (16th, 10.29), senior Mike Granger in the 100 (35th, 10.42), the 4x100 relay (23rd, 40.22), junior Phillip Young in the long jump (18th, 24-9.75) and triple jump (9th, 51-2.75), and sophomore Nathan Loe in the hammer throw (21st, 210-3).
Junior Kierra White and senior Mary Ashton Nall pace the Rebel women in the NCAA rankings. White ranks 24th nationally in the long jump with her season-best leap of 20-1.75 (MC Twilight Invitational), and Nall is 27th in the country with her heptathlon score of 5,034 (Texas Relays).
Nall will actually be competing in the Bulldog Heptathlon in Athens, Ga., this Friday-Saturday, since the meet in Tuscaloosa will not include any multi-event competitions.
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