June 6, 2013 10:39:31 AM
EUGENE, Ore. -- University of Mississippi sophomore Sam Kendricks captured a national title in the men's pole vault at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Wednesday night.
With his winning clearance of 18 feet, 8 1/4 inches, the Oxford native became the first person in school history to win a NCAA title in the pole vault. His title is the 13th individual national championship in program history. He is the eighth Rebel to win a NCAA title. The others are Ralph Spry, George Kersh, Greg Saddler, Savante' Stringfellow, Antwon Hicks, Barnabas Kirui, and Brittney Reese.
"We had an outstanding day," Ole Miss coach Brian O'Neal said. "But it's just day one and there's so much more we're still fighting for. Sam came in here and had an outstanding performance to get 10 big points for our team. He's been one of our stars all year long, and I'm just really proud of him."
Kendricks kept clearing bars with ease at historic Hayward Field, many of them on the first try, until it was down to him and last year's outdoor champion Jack Whitt, of Oral Roberts University. After they both cleared 18-4 1/2, Kendricks passed on the next height of 18-6 1/2, while Whitt went over on his first attempt. Kendricks then cleared his first try at 18-8 1/4, while Whitt missed once and then passed to 18-10 1/4. Both missed their attempts at that final height, giving Kendricks a night to remember.
"It was a great competition," O'Neal said. "Sam battled through some adversity and there was a little bit of gamesmanship, but at the end of it all, when the bar was on the line, Sam was money."
Kendricks placed third at the NCAA Indoor Championships and was 10th at last year's NCAA Outdoors as a freshman.
In other action, Isiah Young, who entered the meet as one of the favorites in the 100 and 200 meters, won his semifinal 100-meter heat with a time of 10.0 seconds to advance to Friday's final. That eight-man final will take place at 7:10 p.m. (ESPNU).
Today, Young will compete in the semifinals of the 200 (6:15 p.m., ESPN3). Mary Ashton Nall will participate in the first day of the women's heptathlon, which starts at 3 p.m.
For Mississippi State University, senior Jody-Ann Muir finished sixth in the semifinals of the 400 with a time of 52.03 to earn All-America honors.
"Her goal was to get to the finals, and she did that," MSU coach Steve Dudley said. "But I know she's not satisfied with just getting to the finals. She's there to win."
Muir's time was her second best, as she posted a 52.02 mark at the preliminary round two weeks ago in Greensboro, N.C., the second-fastest time in school history.
"It's my senior year, and I want to go out as best as I can," she said.
In other action, Daundre Barnaby failed to qualify for the finals of the 400 due to a false start led to his disqualification. In the 400 hurdles, Scottie Hearns fell short of advancing to the finals with his time of 52.68.
Erica Bougard, a sophomore from Byhalia, who is competing in three events this week, finished 16th in the finals of the long jump at 19-9 1/2.
Bougard will compete today in the heptathlon. MSU also will have participants in the men's and women's 4x400.
For the University of Alabama, the men's 4x100 relay team of junior Alex Sanders, sophomore Diondre Batson, junior Akeem Haynes, and senior Dushane Farrier posted s school-record time of 38.78 seconds in the semifinals to advance to Saturday's finals.
Batson came back later in the evening to run in the semifinals of the 100m, posting a 10.05, the fifth fastest time of the day, which helped him reach Friday's finals.
"It was a great first day for us," Alabama coach Dan Waters said. "We were able to cross the school record in the 4x100 relay off our list of team goals and both of our entries moved on to finals, which is what today was all about for us. Now we just need to keep it rolling."
Batson will return to action today in the semifinals of the 200. The 4x400 relay team of junior Joel Lynch, freshman Dwight Davis, freshman Quincy Smith, and junior Ken Taylor also will compete. Freshman Elias Hakansson will compete in the hammer throw, while junior All-American Kamal Fuller will compete in the long jump.