BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A record-breaking pole vault performance by sophomore Sam Kendricks highlighted a strong showing by the Ole Miss track and field team at the Blazer Invite on Friday, hosted by UAB at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
Kendricks led the way for the No. 23 Rebel men by clearing 18-1.75 without missing on any attempts. That mark is tied for first in the nation and among the top 10 in the world so far this indoor season. The Oxford, Miss., native shattered his previous school indoor record (17-6.5) by more than half a foot and established new meet and facility records.
“Sam continues to show us that he is one of the elite vaulters not only in this conference, but in the U.S.,” said Ole Miss head coach Brian O’Neal. “He’s still nowhere near the tip of the iceberg, and he continues to raise the bar for not only himself but also for his teammates as one of the leaders of this team. He’s showing everyone what you can accomplish when you work hard.
“It’s exciting to watch the bond between Sam and Coach (Scott) Kendricks. The key thing is that they trust each other, and what you’re seeing is the byproduct of that in Sam’s performances.”
Kendricks’ effort overshadowed an otherwise stellar day by Ricky Robertson, the six-time All-American and 2012 SEC Indoor Field Athlete of the Year. His 7-2.5 in the high jump tied the meet record, and he nearly cleared 7-4.5, which would have tied his own facility record set on Dec. 1, 2012. The senior from Hernando, Miss., also placed second in the long jump with a mark of 24-1.5.
“Ricky did a good job today of competing in two events almost back-to-back,” O’Neal said. “He provided a solid performance in the long jump in a limited role where I only allowed him three attempts, and then jumped at a high level in the high jump.”
“Our team goal this week was to get better than we were last week, and I think across the board we did that,” O’Neal added.