May 29, 2014
By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com
OXFORD, Miss. -- Veterans Sam Kendricks and Ricky Robertson are the headliners, but a quartet of talented freshmen have also given the Ole Miss men's track and field team a big boost this season, rising to a season-high ranking of No. 11 in the USTFCCCA top 25.
Robert Domanic (1500m), Jalen Miller (100m), Kailo Moore (100m, 200m) and Sean Tobin (1500m) are among the 19 Ole Miss men's entries in Jacksonville, Florida, this weekend for the NCAA East Preliminary Round with hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in June.
"It's what we were expecting when we were being recruiting and accepted our scholarships to come here," said Domanic of the freshman class. "We wanted to be part of a program that has a lot of potential to get better. It's been rewarding to see how we have helped as being part of a strong team."
Domanic and Tobin both earned outdoor second team All-SEC and All-Freshman honors. Tobin ranks first among SEC freshmen and second among NCAA freshmen in the 1,500 meters. He also had success in the fall, as he became the first sub-4-minute indoor miler in school history and was later named SEC Men's Co-Freshman Runner of the Year.
"It's been great," said Domanic of competing with Tobin. "We're both really competitive toward our opposition. At the end of the day, we both want to beat each other, but if one of us beats the other, it doesn't bother us. It's more motivation for one of us to work harder."
Miller and Moore share a similar relationship, as they compete side-by-side in the 100 meters and form half of the 4x100m relay, which ranks 22nd nationally and also qualified for the preliminary. Both Mississippi natives, Miller (Tunica) and Moore (Rosedale) have known each other since high school.
"We have been friends and ran track against each other since high school," Moore said. "He was number two behind me, and then I started playing football, and he was number one ahead of me. It's great being on the relay team together and both being from Mississippi. He brings out the competitor in me, and I bring out the competitor in him."
Miller, an indoor first team All-American, having placed eighth in the 60 meters, ranks first among SEC freshmen and third among NCAA freshmen in the 100 meters, while Moore, a two-sport athlete who also plays cornerback for the football team, ranks seventh among Division I football players in both the 100 meters and 200 meters.
"It's tough," said Moore of competing in both football and track. "You have to take care of your body because you're constantly wearing yourself out. It was tough when I first started out, but as I have gone on, my body has adjusted to doing both. It's a dream come true to do what I love, which is run track and play football just like I did in high school."
The freshmen and their teammates are looking for more success at the preliminary and national championships, having placed fifth at the SEC Outdoor Championships, their highest outdoor finish since they were runners-up in 1984 and their second-most points ever scored at an outdoor league meet.
"Everyone that's here wants to help build this program," Tobin said. "We don't want to be just an average team. We want to be one of the nation's best. That's what we're all working toward."
Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller