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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rebels shine at NCAA Indoors

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — All three Ole Miss athletes competing at this weekend’s NCAA Indoor Championships scored points as the 2013 indoor season came to a close at the Randal Tyson Track Center.

Former Oxford High standout Sam Kendricks and senior Ricky Robertson combined for nine points on the weekend, good enough for Ole Miss to tie with Texas for 23rd place in the team standings. It’s the men’s ninth top-25 team indoor finish in school history and the third in the last four seasons.

Freshman Asia Cooper scored a point for the OM women, which resulted in a four-way tie with North Carolina, Ohio State and Georgia Tech for 52nd place.

On Friday Kendricks got the Rebels’ scoring started with a third-place finish in the pole vault, setting a school record with his clearance of 18 feet-4-5 inches. The sophomore collected six team points for his efforts.

Saturday saw Robertson add more points for the men and Cooper get the women on the board.

Battling abdominal pain, Robertson cleared 7-5 in the high jump to place sixth and earn three team points. It was one inch shy of his indoor personal best and a mark that would have won the national title a year ago in Nampa, Idaho. The senior from Hernando has now placed ninth or better in the high jump at four straight NCAA Indoor Championships and will once again receive All-America honors.

He also competed in the triple jump, but after fouling on his first attempt he was in too much pain to continue.

“Ricky competed like a warrior tonight,” OM coach Brian O’Neal said. “He’s been battling injuries over the last couple of weeks and had to have an injection in his abdomen last week to relieve some swelling. Every jump he was wincing in pain, and he still put up a mark that would have won the meet last year. He gave a great effort trying to get a mark for us in the triple jump, but he just couldn’t do it.”

Cooper finished eighth in the 60-meter final with a time of 7.41 seconds on Saturday. The Jackson native was the second Ole Miss woman ever to make the 60 final.

“I’m happy for Asia,” O’Neal said. “She came into this season as a virtual unknown and has quickly made a name for herself both on the SEC level and now on the NCAA level by being a first team All-American after today’s result.”

Arkansas captured the men’s team title, while Oregon won the women’s title. (March 11, 2013, Page 4B)

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