The senior to be, who has chosen to remain in school at Ole Miss next year but has turned pro thus ending her collegiate eligibility, moved one step closer to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with a second place finish in the long jump Monday night in Eugene, Ore.
"Brittney took care of business, as she always does," said Ole Miss head coach Joe Walker, who is at the trials, along with four of his team members – Reese, Kenyata Coleman, LaJada Baldwin, and John Yarbrough. "Now she gets ready for the next session. She's got a great shot to go."
Reese advanced with a mark of 21-08.75 to move on to Thursday's finals. Hyleas Fountain took first in the preliminaries with a jump of 21-10.25. Reese owns the longest jump in the world this year with a mark of 22-09.00. The top three finishers in the long jump will represent the U.S. in the Olympics.
So what do they do until Thursday? Walker was quick with his answer.
"Stay loose," he said.
Walker felt like Reese was about to turn pro. He said he wasn't that surprised.
"Brittany is officially with Nike now," he said. "She'll always be an Ole Miss Rebel."
It's a similar situation when a baseball player leaves the program early. They often come back to finish school, and that is what Walker belives Reese will do.
Two of Reese's Ole Miss teammates have been eliminated from competition at the trials. On Sunday, Lady Rebel freshman (2007-08) All-American LaJada Baldwin finished in 24th place in the 400 meters with a time of 54.01 and did not advance into the semifinals.
"We're very proud of LaJada for what she accomplished," Walker said. "There are not many freshmen here, and the fact that she had an opportunity to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team says a lot about what kind of athlete she is."
Lady Rebel All-American Kenyata Coleman saw her Olympic dreams come to an end on Monday as she posted a time of 53.97 to finish eighth in her heat of the semifinals of the 400 meters. Coleman, the SEC outdoor 400 meters champion, set a school record with a time of 51.67 at the NCAA Championships earlier this season.
Coleman, a senior, had advanced into the semifinals with a time of 52.92 on Sunday and finished in 16th place.
"It was not her best performance of the year (Monday), but we're very proud of her for reaching the semi-finals at the Olympic trials," Walker said. "And her year may not be over. She is likely to be on one of the smaller USA teams that will compete, probably in Mexico. She would be a relay alternate."
Yarbrough, a senior, will take part in the 110 meter hurdles Saturday, July 5 at 3:45 p.m. Yarbrough is ranked ninth in the nation in the event as he owns a top time of 13.62 he set earlier in the year at the Florida Relays.
Former Ole Miss standouts Antwon Hicks and Chris Lawson will also compete in the Olympic Trails for a spot on the U.S. Team. Lawson is set to take part in the 200 meters Friday, July 4 at 8:50 p.m., while Hicks will participate in the 110 meter hurdles.
Reese getting ready for Thursday
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