OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss track and field program will send 29 of its athletes to this week’s NCAA East Preliminary Round on the campus of North Florida in Jacksonville. The Rebels will be participating at Hodges Stadium attempting to advance to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships.
A total of 14 men and 15 women will be competing for Ole Miss in 23 different events in Jacksonville, led by Ricky Robertson, who has the world-leading high jump, and recent 2012 SEC Champions Isiah Young (men’s 200 meters) and Rachel Jenkins (women’s long jump).
“We are taking a large group of athletes and are excited about their chances of advancing to the national meet,” Rebel head coach Joe Walker said. “Our men moved up to 11th this week in the (USTFCCCA) poll, and for us to reach our goal of top 10 at NCAA’s we have to advance a lot of our guys this weekend.”
In addition to boasting some of the top men’s performers in the nation this year, Ole Miss has also been strong in the women’s long jump. The Rebels’ total of four women’s long jumpers that qualified for the NCAA preliminary round ties for the most of any school in the country.
Competition in Jacksonville will begin Thursday with the women’s javelin throw at 10 a.m. CT. Field and track events will continue through 8:40 p.m. on Thursday, with more action from 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-8:45 p.m. Saturday.
The NCAA Selection Committee accepted the top 48 performers in each individual event and the top 24 relay teams in both relays to compete at each site hosting the NCAA Preliminary Rounds for a total of 96 individuals and 48 relays competing in each event nationwide. The West Preliminary Round is being held in Austin, Texas.
The top 12 finishers in each event at each preliminary round site will qualify for the national semifinal and final rounds of the 2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships to be held at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, from June 6-9.
Sophomore Fabia McDonald has automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships in Des Moines in the heptathlon by virtue of ranking top 24 nationally in that competition. She ranks 14th nationally.
Ole Miss individuals who currently rank among the nation’s top 24 in their event are (men) Robertson in the high jump (1st, 7-7.25) and triple jump (8th, 53-2.25), Young in the 100 meters (4th, 10.08) and 200 meters (3rd, 20.32), Sam Kendricks in the pole vault (6th, 18-0.5), Carson Blanks in the 400-meter hurdles (9th, 50.30), Mike Granger in the 100 meters (14th, 10.17) and Kentrell Sanders in the triple jump (19th, 52-2.5); and (women) Jenkins in the long jump (20th, 20-9.75) and McDonald in the heptathlon (14th, 5563).
Listed below are the Ole Miss entries in the NCAA preliminary round.
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