OXFORD, Miss. – Six Rebel athletes will represent the Ole Miss track and field program in eight different events at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa next week.
The championships will be held June 6-9 at the world-renowned Drake Stadium.
Five Rebels qualified for the national meet by placing in the top 12 of their event(s) at the NCAA East Preliminary in Jacksonville, Fla., last week, while sophomore Fabia McDonald had already automatically qualified for Des Moines by ranking in the top 24 nationally in the women’s heptathlon.
Leading the way for the No. 14 nationally ranked Ole Miss men will be juniors Ricky Robertson and Isiah Young, who both qualified in two different events after strong showings in Jacksonville.
Robertson will compete in the high jump for the sixth straight time in his career (three indoor, three outdoor) after finishing fifth in Jacksonville (7-2.25). He also qualified in the triple jump after placing third (52-4). Robertson, the current world leader in the high jump with a career-best and school-record 7-7.25 (Florida Relays), has earned All-America honors five straight times in the high jump, including a runner-up finish on three occasions. He is also a five-time SEC champion in the event. He ranks eighth nationally in the triple jump (53-2.25) this year.
Young will compete in both the 100 meters and 200 meters. He placed 11th in the 100 (10.29) in Jacksonville before placing seventh in the 200 (20.51). He currently ranks top four in the nation in both events, having broken the Ole Miss record in the 100 (10.08) and 200 (20.32) this year. It will be Young’s first career appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. He was a first team All-American in the 60 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships earlier this year.
The other two Rebel men who will compete for an NCAA title in Des Moines are Carson Blanks in the 400-meter hurdles and Sam Kendricks in the pole vault. Blanks, a senior, ranks ninth nationally (50.30) and will make his fourth straight NCAA Outdoor appearance. Kendricks, a freshman, is tied for sixth in the country in the pole vault (school-record 18-0.5) and will make his first NCAA Outdoor appearance.
The Ole Miss men placed 19th at last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships.
On the women’s side, Kristin Bridges will join McDonald as an Ole Miss representative. Bridges qualified for the meet by placing 10th in the 400 meters in Jacksonville with a personal-best time of 52.65, which ranks her fourth in school history. She will be making her first individual appearance at the NCAA Outdoor meet, but her third straight overall (she participated in the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays in 2011 and 2010).
McDonald automatically qualified for Des Moines by ranking 14th nationally in the heptathlon. Her personal-best score of 5,563 at the SEC Championships ranks her second in school history in the event. She will be making her first career appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. She placed 15th in the pentathlon at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships.
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