By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Ole Miss placed sixth in the SEC outdoor track and field championships last season, matching its highest finish in 17 years.
The Rebels could meet or surpass that placement this season. Whatever they accomplish will depend largely on the scores of Mississippi athletes.
The SEC meet for both male and female athletes runs today through Sunday at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. More than six hours of coverage of the meet’s final two days will appear on ESPNU.
“For us to do well as a team we need to do well in the 100 and 200,” Walker said. “Our 4-x-100 relay is coming around has a chance to do something. We’re very strong in the hurdles, and the jumps are another strong area for us.”
As a team the Ole Miss men are ranked No. 18 in the nation.
“The SEC, in my opinion, is the premiere track and field conference in the nation. There is unbelievable competition in every event. People might not score in the SEC and then make it to nationals and score. Because of the depth, the casual fan doesn’t realize how many great athletes are in each event,” Walker said.
Walker has not had to go far to find some of his top performers. His top jumper, top sprinter and one of his top hurdlers are from Mississippi.
On the women’s side, his top quarter-miler, Kristin Bridges, is also from Mississippi.
“We have been blessed through the years to have a lot of great athletes from Mississippi, and it’s always the first place we look,” Walker said.
High jumper Ricky Robertson is the favorite to win his fourth SEC championship. The sophomore from Hernando has yet to lose in an SEC meet and is ranked second in the nation after a jump of 7-05.75 at the Drake Relays.
The Rebels also have a chance to score well in the sprints where senior Jonathan Juin and sophomore Mike Granger have been ranked among the nation’s top runners all season.
Granger, who played football and ran track at Newton County High School, has a time of 10.22 in the 100 meters that ranks 16th nationally.
“He ran fast in high school, but he didn’t have a great deal of competition and training,” Walker said. “He’s come in and figured out what it’s all about. He’s really at the beginning of his career in terms of the numbers he can put up.”
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.