May 18, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. - After three days of competition, the University of Tennessee women's team finished 10th and the men's team finished 11th at the 2014 SEC Championships at the Kentucky Track and Field Complex.
The women's team tallied 28 points while the men finished with 24.50 after the three-day meet.
"There were some bright spots," said head coach J.J. Clark. "Aslynn in the discus, of course Jake Blankenship in the pole vault. Jake was injured and we didn't know if he would be able to come in at all and he finished second. We had two scorers in the 800 and Felicia Brown came back in the 200m in fourth."
Arkansas won on the women's side of things in a close race at the top finishing with 123 total points. The men's champion came from Texas A&M who ran away with a 155 point finish.
Jake Blankenship was the top finisher on the day for the Vols, setting a personal record with a height of 5.64m (18-6) in a second place effort in the pole vault. Blankenship shared the same height as SEC Champion Sam Kendricks of Ole Miss. But with two fewer misses, Kendricks took the SEC title.
"I was really happy that I was able to recover well these past two months," said Blankenship. "I wasn't really sure what was going to happen, I had mediocre practice this week, but I came out here ready to win and I got a PR of three centimeters. I am happy about that."
"Even though it is crazy to think it is just three centimeters and just under two inches," continued Blankenship, "it is still really exciting to know you are getting better and better and I am happy to do it at the SEC meet."
Blankenship's height ranks as the third best in Tennessee history just two centimeters and a half an inch shy of Russ Johnson's height of 5.65m (18-6.50) set in 1998. Also scoring in the pole vault was Chase Brannon, who finished fifth in 5.15m (16-10 ¾).
Tavis Bailey and Matthew Hoty tallied more points in the throws for the Vols with sixth place and seventh place finishes respectively. Bailey finished with a 19.11m (62-8 ½) toss while Hoty finished with a 18.86m (61-10 ½) throw.
"It was good to see Tavis score in the shot put, as well as Matt Hoty," said Clark. "It is exciting and the fact that they will be back next year is even more exciting."
Aslynn Halvorson recorded another sixth place finish for UT, this time in the discus with a throw of 49.43m (162-2). Kyle Quinn also finished in sixth place for UT, but in the men's javelin with a throw of 68.33m (224-2).
Alexis Panisse led the way among the women's runners scoring in both of the finals she participated in Sunday. Panisse began the day with an eighth place, 4:19.44 finish in the 1500m run. The time was two seconds faster than her previous personal best. Panisse followed up with a another PR in a fourth place finish in 2:05.04.
Scoring along with Panisse in the 800m run was Kianna Ruff who finished fifth in 2:06.13, a season best for the senior.
Felicia Brown added to the Lady Vols total with a fourth place finish in the 200m run, just one-hundredth of a second off of her personal best in 23.20.
Many of the Vols will be back in action at the NCAA East Regional meet in Jacksonville, Fla. From May 29-31.
"These athletes are ranked nationally, Kyle Quinn in the javelin, Tavis in the discus," said Clark. "The idea now is to go to nationals and put some marks on the board."
8. Alexis Panisse 4:19.44
4. Felicia Brown 23.20
Women's Triple Jump
11. Allison Outerbridge 12.64m (41-5 ¾)
17. Brielyn Rodgers 12.01m (39-5)