Kirui leads Rebel track at SEC Meet

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Ole Miss sophomore Barnabas Kirui entered the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships with one goal in mind, to claim the title as the best distance runner in the conference. On Sunday Kirui cemented that claim as he completed a sweep of the men's distance races with a commanding victory in the 5,000 meters.

Kirui, who won the 10,000 meters on Friday and claimed the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Saturday, posted a time of 14:06.94 to win the men's 5,000 meters title. In process, Kirui became the first Ole Miss athlete to win three individual titles at a SEC championships and is the first athlete in the SEC to win all three distance races at a SEC championships since Arkansas' Godfrey Siamusiye in 1996.

"Barnabas was unbelievable," said Ole Miss head coach Joe Walker. "This is such a rare feat, but we thought that he was capable of accomplishing it. I thought he had the physical and mental toughness it would take to win all three races.

Kiriu's triple crown propelled him to the Commissioner's Trophy, as the meet's highest individual point winner. He earned 10 points for every victory and ended the championships with 30 points, the highest point total ever for an Ole Miss athlete and tied for the third most points ever. Kirui outdistanced Auburn's Cory Martin, who finished the meet with 28 points. He is the first Commissioner's Trophy receipt at Ole Miss since Tony Dees in 1984. Dees also held the Ole Miss record for points score with 25.

Led by Kirui's efforts, the Rebels finished seventh at the championships with 65 points. It is the highest finish for the Ole Miss men since 1997 and is the second highest point total in school history. The Rebels finished only 13 points out of fourth place. A total of 620 points are available during the meet. Tennessee claimed the men's title with a total of 129.50 points.

"We had a great meet," said Walker. "We scored the most points since 1984. The most exciting thing is that we have all but one of our scorers back next season. We really helped ourselves out in the jumps. Claiming both men's and women's long jump titles was huge."

All-American John Yarbrough finished runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles after posting a time of 13.74 in the finals. Yarbrough finished second behind Auburn's Ty Adkins who finished in a time of 13.62. Yarbrough turned in a time of 13.54 in the prelims, which was the fastest time. He holds the fastest time in the nation this season at 13.43. Yarbrough earned eight team points for the Rebel men with his second place finish.

Sophomore Wale Odetunde continued the Rebels' success in the jumps. He turned in a career-best mark of 50-06.00 to take home third place in the men's triple jump. He earned six team points for the Ole Miss men with his finish. He also earned three points for his sixth place finish in the long jump.

The Rebel men's 4x100-meter relay team earned one team point for their eighth place finish. The quartet of Rodney Lockhart, Rickie Bratton, Anka Autman and Michael Coleman posted a time of 40.57.

The 4x400-meter relay quartet of Mark Noland, Rodney Lockhart, Anka Autman and Rickie Bratton also finished eighth. They finished in a time of 3:10.75 and earned one point.

On the women's side the Lady Rebels finished ninth overall with 39 points. It was the Rebel women's highest finish since 2001 and is second most points ever scored by the Lady Rebels. Ole Miss scored 40 points in 2000. Louisiana State won the women's title with 139.5 points.

All-American Britney Reese continued her outstanding performance in the jumps with a fourth place finish in the high jump. Reese turned in a mark of 5-08.75 to finish in a tie. She earned 4.5 team points for her performance. Junior Carmia Carroll also posted a mark of 5-08.75 in the high jump. She tied for seventh overall, after losing a jump off. The mark tied Carroll's season-best mark. She earned 1.5 team points for the Rebel women for her performance.

Reese finished the SEC championships with 14.5 points, the most for any Lady Rebel.

Junior Kenyata Coleman broke the school record she set just yesterday after she posted a time of 52.47 to finish fourth in the 400 meters. Coleman broke the school record yesterday after she posted a time of 52.58 in the prelims of the 400 meters. Coleman earned five team points for the Rebel women.

The Lady Rebels' 4x100-meter relay team of Kadeshia Fortune, Cachet Murray, Kim Mulkey and Kenyata Coleman turned in a school record time of 44.49 to place fifth overall. The quartet bested the previous school record of 44.59 held by two teams and earned four team points for the Rebel women.

The 4x400-meter relay quartet of Kenyata Coleman, Kim Mulkey, Britney Barnard and Sirdonea Davis finished sixth in a time of 3:39.65. The foursome earned three points for their finish.

Sophomore Marlee Kevech broke her own school record with a toss of 148-06 to finish sixth in the javelin. Kevech's previous best mark was 147-04 set last season. Sophomore Susan Legatova also finished eighth in the javelin with a season-best mark of 142-01. The Lady Rebels earned four team points in the javelin, three from Kevech and one from Legatova.

Ole Miss now prepares for the NCAA Championships. The Rebel men and women will first head to the NCAA MidEast Regional at Columbia, Mo. beginning May 25. The NCAA Championships will be held in Sacramento, Calif. beginning June 6.

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