Track teams performing well in SEC Meet

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Ole Miss used outstanding performances by senior Charles Bailey and junior Britney Reese to sweep both the men's and women's long jump championships on the second day of the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships, hosted by the University of Alabama.

Bailey was ranked No. 1 in the SEC in the long jump for most of the early part of the outdoor season before injury slowed his season. On Saturday Bailey bounced back in a big way as he won the men's long jump with a career-best jump of 25-07.50.

"Charles has been a great leader for us," said Ole Miss head coach Joe Walker. "This was really a storybook ending to his career. He was really tough both mentally and physically."

The mark is the longest mark in the SEC this season and the fifth longest mark in the nation, heading into this weekend. The mark also moves Bailey into fifth all-time in Ole Miss history. Bailey defeated freshman Alain Bailey from Arkansas, who posted a mark of 25-07.25 to finish second.

Bailey wasn't the only Rebel to score in the long jump. Sophomore Justin Gunn turned in a career-long jump of 24-11.00 to finish fourth overall. Gunn's previous best mark was 24-02.25. Sophomore Wale Odetunde posted a mark of 24-03.00 to finish sixth. Odetunde's mark was just off his career-best mark of 24-04.25.

"It was huge for us as a team to have three of the top six in the long jump," said Walker.

The Ole Miss men are tied for second place in the team standing with Arkansas with 39 points after day three. It would be the highest finish for the Rebels since a second place finish in 1984. Bailey earned 10 team points for the Rebel men with his championship. Gunn earned five team points and Odetunde earned three team points, respectively.

On the women's side, All-American Britney Reese turned in a school record jump of 21-11.75 to win the women's long jump. The 2007 SEC Indoor long jump champion outdistanced the second place finisher, Kathryn Colman of LSU, by over a foot. Coleman finished with a mark of 20-08.00.

"Britney was clutch today," said Walker. "She had two fouls in the prelims and was in danger of not even making the finals. We had to back her up behind the board just to get a jump to advance to the finals. She was able to make that jump and it was good enough to win."

All four of Reese's jumps were good enough to win the championship. Reese also turned in marks of 20-10.00, 21-03.50 and 21-04.00, in addition to her winning jump.

Reese's jump is the second longest in the nation this season. She moves to within one-half UCLA's Rhonda Watkins' mark of 22-00.25.

The Lady Rebels earned 10 team points with Reese's victory. They are in sixth place overall with 17 team points after day three.

Sophomore Barnabas Kirui, the reigning SEC cross country champion, won the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase with a dominating performance. Kirui, who won the 10,000 meters last night, turned in a school record time of 8:33.59 to defeated second place finisher Augustus Maiyo, of Alabama, by almost 10 seconds. Maiyo, the defending SEC steeplechase champion, finished the race in a time of 8:42.57.

"Barnabas is that much closer to pulling the triple (of winning the 5,000 and 10,000 meters and the steeplechase)," said Walker. "It is a very difficult thing to accomplish, but we thought that he was ready for the challenge. He ran a great race tonight. He absolutely pulled away from last year's champion. He still feels fresh for the 5,000 meters tomorrow."

Kirui's time is the fastest in the nation this season in the steeplechase, heading into the weekend. It was also less than one second off the SEC record of 8:32.71 set by Peter McColgan, of Alabama, in 1986.

He also became the first two-time individual champion in Ole Miss history since Tony Dees claimed the 200 meters and 110-meter hurdles titles in 1984. Tomorrow Kirui will attempt to become the first Rebel to win three individual titles at an SEC championship, when he runs in the 5,000 meters.

Freshman Davina Orieukwu posted a school record mark of 47-11.75 to finish fifth in the women's shot put. Orieukwu bested Monique McClure's previous record of 46-3.25 set in 2001. The mark was the first NCAA regional mark on the season for Orieukwu. The Rebel women earned four team points with Orieukwu's fifth place finish.

All-American John Yarbrough turned in a time of 13.54 in the prelims of the 110-meter hurdles. His time was the fastest in the prelims and advanced the 2007 SEC Indoor 60-meter hurdles champion to tomorrow's finals. Yarbrough is ranked No. 1 in the nation this season in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.43.

Junior Kenyata Coleman turned in a school record time of 52.58 in the prelims of the women's 400 meters to finals to tomorrow's finals. Coleman's time was the third fastest in the prelims. She bested Angelia Clay's previous school record of 52.59 set in 1996. Coleman's previous career-best time was 52.83 recorded earlier this season.

Sophomore Cachet Murray advanced to tomorrow's finals in the 100 meters with a time of 11.74. The time ties her season best.

The SEC Outdoor Championships conclude tomorrow with the remaining field and track events beginning at 1:00 p.m.

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