Oh, and the Rebels also have a World's Best Pole Vaulter who Vaulted 19' 0-3/4" (or 5.81 m) at the Texas Relays yesterday.
Obviously, it is not just the fact that he is an Ole Miss Rebel that has me, it is that I have seen Sam Kendricks at a many meets in High School as an Oxford Charger and has always wanted to do better. Not just inch-by-inch or maybe 2 or 3, but we are talking foot-by-foot.
To put some perspective on this: He previous best mark was 18' 4-1/2" (estimated at 5.60 m), he bested that by about 8 inches yesterday - and he set the previous mark a few weekends ago besting his then-best previous mark by 5 inches.
His journey to this point has been aided by having one very helpful tool: his own dad who still teaches at OHS and also was the Track and Cross Country coach prior to this sports year for more than a decade. For a while, Sam and his dad Scott Kendricks used to always practice at the Pole Vault pit during his high school days. Scott has been quoted that when Sam reached a certain mark in practice one day, Scott wanted to call it a day, but Sam wanted to go after another mark instead of quitting - which just shows the hard work and the love he has for Pole Vaulting.
While Sam was a Freshmen at OHS, at the State Meet that year, he had only vaulted 11'6". He proceeded to vault 12'0" and was happy with that. I was watching that event that year and saw he had plenty of clearance in that vault and told him that 12'6" was not out of reach. His first attempt at 12'6" he nailed and then-OHS coach Scott decided to drop Sam out at that point to not over-extend himself and earn a 3rd place finish en route to a Runner-Up spot for Oxford as a team.
It will not surprise me at all if he is to reach the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. He should if this pace of improvement continues. Obtaining the World Record (6.14 m - 20' 1-1/2" is the outdoor record, 6.15 m - 20' 2" is the indoor & overall record) is within reach. Sam made it to the qualification rounds for the 2012 London games but did not advance further. He would be OHS's first Olympian (that I am aware of) and at the pace he is going, could very easily be in Medal Contention.
The sky is the limit for Sam. Literally. 19 feet is no small feat. 6.00 m has only been vaulted by 18 people in the world. He could be the 19th person and the 5th American to reach the 6.00 m club (which is converted to 19' 8-1/4"). Having such goals is very realistic for Sam.
I'll end by putting up a few tweets from other accounts just to show the attention this has gotten by the former Charger, from Moscow to Oregon to one of those "problems" acoounts: