PERKINSTON — Former Mississippi Gulf Coast star Brittney Reese easily advanced to the finals of the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials finals Friday, jumping 23 feet on her first attempt in the women's long jump.
By surpassing the automatic qualifying mark, Reese automatically moved on and remains a favorite to qualify for a trip to Rio de Janeiro next month. It would be her third consecutive Olympic games, and she would be trying to become the first woman to defend her gold medal.
Reese finished with the best mark in qualifying, bettering second-place Shakeela Saunders by more than eight inches. Twelve athletes advanced to the finals, which are scheduled to start Saturday at 1:45 p.m. and be broadcast on NBC.
She won in London in 2012, and has won six total outdoor and indoor world championships.
Reese was inducted into the MGCCC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011. She was an NJCAA All-American basketball player before going to Ole Miss and winning two NCAA outdoor titles.
NBC's Saturday online coverage: http://www.nbcsports.com/live/2016-07-02