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.
Ahead of a rivalry renewed on a national stage, complete with a visit of ESPN's "College GameDay" and the mystique of a Saturday night game in Death Valley, here's link roundup of videos and stories from local and national media... read more
Extra Emphasis on Special Teams Play Through the years, special teams play has provided a winning edge in the Ole Miss-LSU rivalry, and and you don't have to go all the way back to Billy Cannon's 1959 Halloween run. In... read more
Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and LSU head coach Les Miles on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of Saturday's game in Baton Rouge.For the full SEC teleconference, go here.Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze (starts at 1:06:12... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewOct. 13-19, 2014Football- Ole Miss rode its dominant defense to a 34-3 homecoming win over Tennessee on Saturday to improve to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Southeastern Conference play.- The Rebels are 7-0 for just... read more
It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. There was no shortage of observations surrounding the Homecoming festivities this weekend. Let's get into it:1. When "College GameDay" visits Baton Rouge,... read more
The winning formula revealed itself as it has throughout the season: a dominant defense and a mistake-free offense. The Ole Miss defense forced four turnovers, while the Ole Miss offense did not commit a single turnover in a workmanlike 34-3... read more
Three areas to watch as No. 3 Ole Miss faces Tennessee for Homecoming on Saturday.'Third Down for What'Tennessee is very dangerous, Ole Miss football head coach Hugh Freeze said, because its talented, particularly if it gets momentum and confidence during... read more
Highlights from today's media opportunity with SEC Nation host Joe Tessitore and analysts Tim Tebow and Marcus Spears discussing the show's visit to Oxford for the SEC matchup between No. 3 Ole Miss and Tennessee. Tessitore recalls calling the first college... read more
At the halfway point of the regular season, Ole Miss is 6-0 for the first time since 1962, when it went 10-0 and earned a share of the national title. It's No. 3 ranking in the national polls is its... read more
With a dominant defense that ranks among the nation's leaders in most statistical categories, head coach Hugh Freeze acknowledged he has changed his offensive philosophy and play-calling to limit negative plays and quick possessions. Ole Miss averaged the second-most offensive... read more
Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and Tennessee head coach Butch Jones on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of Saturday's game in Oxford. For the full SEC teleconference, go here. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze (starts at... read more