OXFORD, Miss. – Eight current and former Ole Miss Rebels will be among the top American track and field athletes to congregate in Eugene, Ore., over the next 11 days for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
Returning to one of the most hallowed sites in the sport, the trials will be held at Hayward Field, site of the '72, '76, '80 and '08 Olympic Trials. The country's most prestigious pre-Olympic event, the Olympic Trials is where the roster for Team USA will be selected for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Competition runs Thursday, June 21 – Sunday, July 1.
Current Rebels who will be competing for a spot on Team USA are senior Carson Blanks (400-meter hurdles), juniors Mike Granger (100 meters), Ricky Robertson (high jump) and Isiah Young (100 and 200 meters) and freshman Sam Kendricks (pole vault).
Highlighting the former Rebels who will be at the trials is four-time world long jump champion Brittney Reese, a 2008 Olympian who is the favorite to win gold in 2012. Other former Rebels in Eugene will include Antwon Hicks (110-meter hurdles) and Lee Moore (400-meter hurdles).
Among current Rebels, Blanks, Granger and Robertson have all competed at the USA Championships in previous years, while Young and Kendricks will make their first appearance. Robertson was fourth in the high jump last year, just barely missing a chance to represent his country at the World Championships.
Reese has been the world's premier women's long jumper for the past four years, capturing four straight world titles (2009 and 2011 outdoor, 2010 and 2012 indoor) and taking gold at the USA Outdoor Championships in each of the last four years. She is the American record holder in the indoor long jump. Only Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Marion Jones have jumped farther in American history outdoors.
Granger and Young will be the first Rebels in action this Saturday, June 23, in the 100 meter qualifying (6 p.m. CT). Robertson will take part in high jump qualifying at 6:20 p.m. on Saturday. A full list of qualifying rounds and potential semifinal and final rounds with Rebel athletes is below.
The largest national championship track meet in the world, the U.S. Olympic Trials hosts more than 1,000 athletes as they compete for the right to represent Team USA at the Olympic Games. With the country's dominance in the track and field over the years, there are some events in which the U.S. Trials can be even more competitive than the Olympic Games themselves.