OXFORD, Miss. - A large contingent of Ole Miss athletes will be in Jacksonville, Florida, this Thursday-Saturday for the NCAA East Preliminary Round in hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in June.
Head coach Brian O'Neal's Rebels have a total of 22 entries that were accepted for the preliminary round that is hosted by the University of North Florida at Hodges Stadium.
The top 48 individual event athletes and top 24 relays from the East region qualified for the preliminary round. The top 12 finishers in each event at the preliminary sites (the West preliminary is in Fayetteville, Arkansas) will advance to the finals site in Eugene, Oregon, June 11-14.
"We're excited to be competing in the postseason again," O'Neal said. "Our message to our young men and women is simply, don't think too far ahead. Enjoy this process, but understand the road to Eugene starts in Jacksonville. We have to take care of business in Jacksonville if we hope to compete at our best once we get to Eugene."
The No. 11 nationally ranked Ole Miss men are looking for more success this year after they placed eighth at last year's NCAA Outdoor Championships for their best finish in school history.
Kendricks, the reigning NCAA outdoor pole vault champion, swept the SEC indoor and outdoor pole vault titles this year and was runner-up at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The junior from Oxford, Mississippi, is tied for the NCAA lead with a season-best mark of 18-8.25 at the Texas Relays.
Robertson won SEC Men's Field Athlete of the Year honors after his stellar performance at the recent SEC Outdoor Championships. He claimed the Commissioner's Trophy as the high-points scorer at the meet following his high jump win, runner-up finish in the triple jump and fourth-place result in the long jump. The senior from Hernando, Mississippi, ranks second nationally in the high jump (7-6) and triple jump (53-11.75) and 28th in the long jump (25-3.5).
Junior Phillip Young is also one of the best triple jumpers in the country. The Key West, Florida, native ranks seventh in the NCAA with a mark of 52-10.25 at the LSU Invitational. He placed third in the event at the SEC Championships. He also qualified for the East preliminary in the long jump.
Sophomore Nathan Loe ranks 29th nationally in the hammer throw (210-3), and junior Robert Semien is 40th in the 110-meter hurdles (13.91).
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