The Rebel track and field team took its talent to the world stage this summer. Six current and former Ole Miss student-athletes competed at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in London earlier this month.
Ole Miss alumna Brittney Reese made headlines earlier this month when she took home her eighth global championship and fourth world outdoor title at the World Championships.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist leapt beyond the marks of her American teammate Tianna Bartoletta (6.97m) and Russian long jumper Darya Klishina (7.00m) to capture yet another gold medal with a 7.02m mark, her eighth gold since the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. Reese, currently assistant track and field head coach at San Diego Mesa University, dedicated the performance to her recently deceased grandfather.
Sam Kendricks, an Ole Miss student-athlete from 2012 to 2014, found similar success. The Oxford native added to his impressive list of accomplishments, including a bronze medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and a silver medal at the World Indoor Championships, by earning his first-ever world pole vault title.
Kendricks’ win places him in an elite club. He joins Reese as one of only two Rebels to ever take home gold at a senior global championship.
“The crowd gave everything in their hearts to support me,” Kendricks said in an interview with Ole Miss Sports. “After that final jump, I went to give my mother and father a hug. They mean the world to me.”
To this day, Kendricks lives in Oxford and trains at Ole Miss track and field facilities.
Ole Miss was well represented in London this summer. Rebel track and field coach Gwen Barry and thrower Raven Saunders also made the journey across the pond. Several alumni joined Kendricks and Reese, as well, including high jumper Ricky Robertson and sprinter Isiah Young.
At just 21 years old, Saunders, a 2016 Olympian, three-time NCAA champion and four-time All-American, continues to improve her game.
“I’m really just going for it all,” Saunders said in an interview with Ole Miss Sports. “I’m looking forward to going out there and giving it my best and bringing home a medal for Team USA.”
Saunders finished fifth at the Rio Olympics, earning automatic qualification for the semifinal in London with a throw of 18.63 meters. She finished the competition in 10th place.
Meanwhile, Young recorded the fastest men’s 200-meter dash of the semi-final round and eventually finished in eighth place.
On the second-to-last day of the competition, Robertson finished 16th overall in the high jump field and narrowly missed the cutoff for the final round.