Ole Miss wins two SEC track championships

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Wale Odetunde of Ole Miss won men’s triple jump and teammate LaJada Baldwin won the women’s 400 meters on Sunday as the SEC track and field championships wrapped up at the University of Florida.
A strong weekend for Mississippi State’s Wendy Copeland, who was second in the long jump on Saturday, saw her finish sixth in the triple jump. She’s a senior from Tupelo.
The competition was delayed for about 90 minutes at 5:40 p.m. EST due to lightning in the area.
When action resumed, the Arkansas men and Florida women wrapped league titles after coming into the day in the lead in their respective divisions.
Arkansas edged Florida 141-129 for the men’s title and Florida topped LSU 135.50-113 for the women’s crown.
For Odetunde, a senior, his first triple jump, 51-8.50, was the best of his five attempts. Nkosinza Balumbu of Arkansas came up with a 51-7.75 on his fourth jump and fouled on his sixth and final attempt.
Odetunde, who finished fourth in the event last year, is the first Rebel to win a SEC triple jump champion since Alvin Haynes accomplished the feat in 1992.
Baldwin, a sophomore, won the women’s 400 in a personal-best 51.95, well ahead of runner-up Shelise Williams of Arkansas.
Baldwin’s title gives the Rebels back-to-back SEC champions in the 400 meters as former Ole Miss standout Kenyata Coleman won the event last season with a school-record 52.09.
Other high finishers for athletes from the two state schools:
– Mississippi State women: Defending heptathlon champion Marrissa Harris finished second this time by just 15 points, and also finished second in the 100 hurdles. … Crystal Wilson was fifth in the 400.
– OIe Miss women: Sofie Persson was second in the 400, just .13 behind winner Danielle Gilchrist of Auburn. … Betty Williams was third in the shot put. … Julianna Smith finished fourth in the hammer throw. … Marlee Kevech was fifth in the javelin.
– Mississippi State men: Dwight Mullings finished second in the 400, just .02 behind winner Calvin Smith of Florida. … Darryl Brady finished fifth in the decathlon. … Robert Scribner (Tupelo) was fifth in the 10,000 meters. … Deangelo Cherry was sixth in the 100,
– Ole Miss men: Lee Moore finished fourth in the 400 hurdles. … Derek McGuire finished fifth in the shot put … Kyle Lewis was sixth in the 5,000.
Many athletes from both schools have now qualified for the NCAA Mideast Regional, scheduled for May 29-30 in Louisville, Ky.

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