April 27, 2013
PHILADELPHIA - Freshman standout Jake Blankenship and the 20th-ranked Volunteer track & field program capped off the 119th Penn Relays in thrilling fashion on Saturday, completing a podium sweep in the pole vault championship at Franklin Field in front of the eighth-largest Saturday crowd in meet history.
With the 14th USA vs. The World competition slated for early afternoon, 48,871 came out to see the final day of action in Philadelphia. The three-day attendance of 111,284 marked the sixth-consecutive year with Penn Relays attendance over 110,000.
In the pole vault pit, the No. 20 Vols gave those fans a reason to stick around. Blankenship, the Southeastern Conference Indoor Field Athlete of the Year, earned the Vols its 73rd overall Penn Relays title and the first since 2009. In a nine-man field, including three Vols, the rookie was the only competitor to clear the 18-foot mark to become the Vols' sixth Penn Relays pole vault champion. The Blacklick, Ohio, native finished with a winning mark of 18-feet, 0.5-inches (5.50m) to pick up his second win of the outdoor season.
Following close behind were junior teammates Tyler Porter and Chase Brannon, who finished second and third, respectively. The Tennessee competitors were the only ones to eclipse 17-4.5 (5.30m). Both Porter and Brannon finished at that height, but Porter earned the silver with only the three misses - one fewer than Brannon.
On the track, the Volunteers posted a third-place finish in the 4x100-meter relay. The quartet of Reggie Juin, Jarael Nelvis, Jamol James and Arnez Hardnick clocked in a time of 40.73 seconds. On a live national broadcast on NBC, the same foursome finished seventh in the 4x2 with a readout of 1:25.35. James also concluded his individual weekend with an eighth-place mark in the championship 100m dash in a time of 10.60.
In the Lady Vols' lone race on Saturday, the 4x800-meter relay squad of Brittney Jackson, Kianna Ruff, Alexis Panisse and Nijgia Snapp crossed the line in a season-best time of 8 minutes, 27.54 seconds to finish seventh. It's the seventh-fastest time in the event in program history for the Big Orange women. Villanova won the event in 8:17.45, narrowly breaking Tennessee's collegiate record (8:17.91) that was set in 2009.
In the 14th edition of the USA vs. The World competition former Vols and Lady Vols were on display for Team USA. In the opening race, former standout Phoebe Wright led off USA Blue to a third-place finish in the women's 4x800m relay in 8:10.99. USA Red won the race in 8:04.31, also breaking the Lady Vols' American record of 8:17.91 set at the meet in 2009.
Former Vol Justin Gatlin, an Olympic silver medalist in the event, dominated the second leg for the Americans to lead USA Red to a win in the 4x100m relay in 38.26 seconds. On the women's side, Tianna Madison ran the opening leg of USA Red's 4x1, finishing third in 42.66.
In the women's 4x400m, Lady Vol For Life DeeDee Trotter kept the Red, White and Blue out front with a 51-second third leg. A gold medalist in the 2012 London Olympics in the event, Trotter's USA Red squad edged Great Britain by a narrow 0.02 seconds to take the victory in 3:22.66.
At the relatively new Samford Track Complex, the Lady Vol sprinters and the Tennessee throwing corps broke six facility records at the Samford Open in Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday. Led by freshman Felicia Brown, the Lady Vol sprinters earned four top-three finishes in as many races. Brown won the 400m race in a facility record 53.34 and then led off the 4x1 to a second-place finish in 45.56. Bianca Blair added a track record for the Big Orange, winning the 100m hurdles in 13.71 seconds.
On the infield, freshman Cassie Wertman and junior Aslynn Halvorson highlighted the action for the Lady Vols. The pair finished second and third in both the discus and shot put competitions, respectively. Wertman set facility records in both events, which former Lady Vol Annie Alexander took home the win. For the Vols, sophomore Matthew Hoty continued to stay on top of his game in the shot put, winning the completion while setting a track record with a mark of 59-feet, 11-inches (18.26m). Tavis Bailey finished second in the event. In the hammer throw, four Vols set personal records, while senior Drew Thomas was the top finisher with a fourth-place toss of 190-5 (58.05m).
The Orange and White returns to Rocky Top for a week off before heading to Columbia, Mo., for the 2013 SEC Outdoor Championships from May 9-12. New SEC member Missouri will host the meet at Audrey J. Walton Stadium for the first time.
VOL RESULTS AT THE PENN RELAYS
Championship Pole Vault: 1. Jake Blankenship, 18-0.5/5.50m; 2. Tyler Porter, 17-4.5/5.30m; 3. Chase Brannon, 17-4.5/5.30m
College 4x100m Final: 3. Reggie Juin / Jarael Nelvis / Jamol James / Arnez Hardnick, 40.73
Championship of America 4x200m Relay: 7. Jarael Nelvis / Arnez Hardnick / Reggie Juin / Jamol James, 1:25.35
Championship 100m: 8. Jamol James, 10.60 (w: -0.4)
Championship of America Sprint Medley Relay: 4. Jarael Nelvis / Jamol James / Michael Williams / Nick Kaiser, 3:20.26
College Pole Vault: t10. Michael Maira, 15-3 (4.65m)
Championship of America Distance Medley Relay: 13. Kyle Walter / Michael Williams / Antonio Carter / Jeremy Dickie, 10:02.57
100m Prelims: adv. Jamol James, 10.58 (w: -0.6)/Ht. 2, 4th (8th)
4x200m Relay Prelims: adv. Jarael Nelvis / Jamol James / Reggie Juin / Arnez Hardnick, 1:24.25/Ht. 1, 3rd (6th)
4x100m Relay Prelims: adv. Reggie Juin / Jamol James / Jarael Nelvis / Arnez Hardnick, 40.86/Ht. 1, 2nd (10th)
LADY VOL RESULTS AT THE SAMFORD OPEN
400m: 1. Felicia Brown, 53.34f
100m Hurdles: 1. Bianca Blair, 13.71f (w: -0.7); 10. Kasha McDougald, 15.10 (w: -0.7)
4x100m Relay: 2. Felicia Brown / Bianca Blair / Kia Jackson / Emily Yarnell, 45.56
Discus: 2. Cassie Wertman, 149-4/45.52mf; 3. Aslynn Halvorson, 148-0/45.11mf; 11. Jessie Harrison, 124-6/37.96m; 12. Katelyn Williams, 123-11/37.77m
Shot Put: 2. Cassie Wertman, 50-10.25/15.50mf; 3. Aslynn Halvorson, 46-1.25/14.05m
100m: 3. Kia Jackson, 11.80 (w: -0.5)
Javelin: 3. Katherine Dresch, 133-1/40.57m
Hammer: 4. Jessie Harrison, 177-8/54.16m
VOL RESULTS AT THE SAMFORD OPEN
Shot Put: 1. Matthew Hoty, 59-11/18.26mf; 2. Tavis Bailey, 54-6.75/16.63m
Hammer: 4. Drew Thomas, 190-5/58.05m!; 5. Cameron Brown, 188-0/57.31m!; 7. Deon McAdoo, 183-8/55.98m!; 11. Carson Frost, 154-2/47.00m!
! - Personal Best, !* - Tied Personal Best, a - American Record, c - Collegiate Record, adv. - Advanced, dna - Did Not Advance, dnf - Did Not Finish, dns - Did Not Start, dq - Disqualified, F - Foul, f - Facility Record, fr - Freshman Record, fr* - Tied Freshman Record, fs - False Start, mr - Meet Record, nh - No Height, nm - No Mark, sr - School Record, w - wind-aided, wr - World Record