EUGENE, Ore. – Young athletes around the world dream of one day competing for their country at the Olympic Games.
For Ole Miss junior sprinter Isiah Young, that dream became a reality on Sunday. And for former Rebel long jump star Brittney Reese, her dream was realized for the second time already in her young career.
Both the current and former Rebel finished top three in their event at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Sunday to become members of Team USA for the London Olympics later this summer.
Young crossed the finish line third in the 200 meters behind professionals Wallace Spearmon (Saucony) and Maurice Mitchell (Nike). Young’s time of 20.16 shattered his own school record of 20.32 he set when he won the SEC Championship earlier this year. The Junction City, Kan., native placed fourth at the recent NCAA Championships, which to him was a disappointment.
“Coming down the home straightaway, I tried to keep up with (Spearmon) and finish strong,” Young said in a TV interview immediately after the race. “I just didn’t let nationals get to me. I put it behind me, kept working hard, and now I’m going to London.”
Reese launched her body an amazing 23 feet,5.5 inches through the air to win a fifth straight U.S. outdoor title on Sunday. That jump is the longest in the world this year, and she is the favorite to win gold in London.
Reese made the Olympics for the second time in her career after competing for Team USA in Beijing in 2008, following her junior year at Ole Miss. Since finishing fifth in the long jump in Beijing, Reese has won two outdoor and two indoor world championships, in addition to her now five straight U.S. outdoor titles.
Originally from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Reese has trained in Oxford since going pro early in 2008. She also continued taking classes and graduated from Ole Miss last year.
“We’re just blessed; God’s been good to us,” said outgoing Ole Miss head coach Joe Walker, who is also Reese’s personal coach. “It was awesome. Reese had a phenomenal day. Isiah’s been coming around. He’s always had a lot of potential. He’s young to the sport, and he keeps learning and learning. He’s really coachable and listens well. We knew he was poised to do something good, so it wasn’t totally a surprise. He really showed up on the big stage.”
Another former Rebel came very close to making Team USA. Former NCAA champion Antwon Hicks placed fourth in the 110-meter hurdles on Saturday, finishing just .06 of a second shy of making the Olympics.
Young is the seventh member of the Ole Miss track and field family in the history of the program to qualify for the Olympic Games. Others include Reese, Allan Ince (1988, Barbados), Gary Kinder (1988, USA), Alvin Haynes (1992, Barbados), Tony Dees (1992, USA) and Savante’ Stringfellow (2000, USA).
Reese is the first Ole Miss track and field athlete to qualify for two Olympics.
One spot in the ITA national rankings can make all the difference. Last season, San Diego, ranked No. 44 in the country, earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, while crosstown rival, San Diego State, ranked No. 45, was... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 7-13, 2014Baseball- Ole Miss improved to 29-9 on the season and 9-6 in Southeastern Conference play after a pair of nonconference wins over Memphis and Murray State in the midweek and a series win... read more
Coming off a disappointing 6-5 loss in 10 innings Saturday, Ole Miss bounced back with a dominant 12-2 win Sunday to take the weekend series against Mississippi State in Starkville. At the plate, the Rebels set season high for runs... read more
Ole Miss struck early with five runs over the first four innings, which Chris Ellis and Wyatt Short made hold up in a 6-1 win over Mississippi State Friday night at Dudy Noble Field. The leadoff man for Mississippi State... read more
Riding a six-game win streak, Ole Miss travels to face Mississippi State in a three-game weekend series as part of Super Bulldog Weekend, which also includes Saturday's Maroon-White spring football game. Mississippi State has averaged 7,700 fans at Dudy Noble... read more
The Ole Miss offense exploded for nine runs on 14 hits in a 9-1 win over Memphis at AutoZone Park. The barrage included five multi-hit games and a season-high seven extra-base hits, including home runs by Will Allen and Sikes... read more
We begin this week with No. 13 and entering the 2002 season for the Ole Miss tennis team. The Southeastern Conference implemented a new setup, dividing the conference into two divisions - SEC East and SEC West. This moment... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewMarch 31-April 6, 2014Baseball- Ole Miss picked up its second sweep in SEC play with three wins over the Auburn Tigers this past weekend, including a doubleheader sweep Saturday.- Left-handed pitcher Christian Trent posted a... read more
Ole Miss held Auburn scoreless for 22 straight innings, from the seventh inning of the series opener Friday through the sixth inning of the series finale Saturday, but the weekend sweep remained in doubt in the eighth inning of the... read more
Rising junior running back I'Tavius Mathers turned in the highlight of the Grove Bowl Saturday with a 96-yard run before he was caught from behind by rising sophomore defensive back Kailo Moore to prevent him from scoring the touchdown. "He's... read more