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.
Senior quarterback Bo Wallace, like his head coach, stepped into a program that had won just two games in 2011 and had lost 14 straight games. Three years later, Wallace helped lead the ninth-ranked Rebels to their first nine-win regular... read more
Official welcome to Chad Kelly, the No. 1 JUCO QB in the country from national champion East Mississippi CC. #HottyToddy-- Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) December 17, 2014 Just Sent My LOI In To The University Of Mississippi!!! Feel's Good To... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewDec. 8-14, 2014Women's Basketball- The Ole Miss women's basketball team rebounded with a 88-48 win over South Alabama on Sunday. The win was the first after back-to-back losses for the Rebels for the first time... read more
Ole Miss Details Stadium Expansion Plans Ole Miss unveiled the master plan for Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, which includes two phases of renovation and expansion. Scheduled for completion by the start of the 2016 season, the expansion will bring the seating capacity... read more
With final exam week on the Ole Miss campus, there was not much game action, but there's still plenty to talk about, as Ole Miss finalized salary increases for head football coach Hugh Freeze and his staff, and the football... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewDec. 1-7, 2014Football- No. 9 Ole Miss accepted an invitation to play in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, where they will face No. 6 TCU on Dec. 31 in Atlanta's Georgia Dime.- Ole Miss is making... read more
While the Rebels have enjoyed a solid fall on the fields and courts and look forward to the upcoming Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and more basketball games, all student-athletes are busy this week proving they are champions in the classroom... read more
In the early part of the week, Athletics Director Ross Bjork and head football coach Hugh Freeze reached an agreement on a new contract. In the late part of the week, the Rebels learned their postseason bowl destination. Here are... read more
Ole Miss continued its strong bounce-back from a season-opening loss to Charleston Southern, improving to 5-1 on the season and knocking off two previously unbeaten opponents in No. 23 Creighton and Cincinnati to capture the inaugural Emerald Coast Classic. "We... read more
Athletics Director Ross Bjork and head football coach Hugh Freeze reached an agreement on a new contract, they both announced on Twitter early Tuesday morning. Terms will be released as they are finalized and are expected in the coming days.... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review Nov. 24-30, 2014Football- No. 18 Ole Miss won the annual "Egg Bowl" rivalry 31-17 over No. 4 Mississippi State in front of another sold-out crowd at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday afternoon.- The Rebels finish the... read more
Ole Miss collected a lot of hardware over the weekend, as the football team reclaimed the Egg Bowl trophy and the men's and women's basketball returned home with regular-season tournament championship. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week... read more