May 23, 2013
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Five Tennessee track & field athletes punched their tickets to the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championship meet, and five others moved a step closer to following suit Thursday on the first day of the NCAA East Preliminary Round meet at North Carolina A&T's Irwin Belk Track in Greensboro, N.C.
Sophomore Tavis Bailey was the first UT performer to advance to the NCAA meet, slated for June 5-8 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Bailey did so in dramatic fashion, recording a mark of 178-feet, 9-inches (54.49m) on his third and final throw of the discus preliminaries. Unable to up the mark in the 16-man finals, Bailey's throw held up to become the East Region's 12th and final representative at the NCAA Championships. It will be the first NCAA appearance for the Kannapolis, N.C., native. He will also throw in the shot put competition on Friday.
Lady Vol Kia Jackson, a two-time NCAA Championship participant in relays, earned the first individual bid of her career. Jackson eclipsed the 20-foot mark in the women's long jump, posting a personal-record leap of 20-1 (6.12m) on her third jump. With the top 12 advancing to Eugene, the mark held for a ninth-place finish. Jackson also put forth a solid effort on the straightaway, finishing 17th in the first round of the 100m dash. Her time of 11.50 seconds advances her to tomorrow's National Quarterfinals.
As it's done all season, the Vol pole vault corps came up big on Thursday evening. The trio of Jake Blankenship, Chase Brannon and Tyler Porter were all perfect through 17-0.75 (5.20m) at Irwin Belk Track. Brannon, a third-place finisher at the SEC Championships, missed his first attempt at 17-2.75 (5.25m), but the other two Vols cleared to stay miss-free. Brannon cleared the 5.25-meter mark on his next run and the height ended up being the NCAA Championships cutoff. Blankenship and Porter ended in a four-way tie for first place with no misses and Brannon finished 11th to make the group at Hayward Field 12.5 percent Vols.
The top 12 finishers in both the East and West Prelims advance to Eugene, Ore., for the 2013 NCAA Track & Field Championships.
Back on the track, freshman sprinter Felicia Brown set a lifetime best in the 400-meter race, crossing the line in 52.64 seconds to finish second in her heat and ninth overall. Brown advances to the quarterfinals in the event tomorrow and will also run in the 200m prelims tomorrow evening.
In the women's 800m, upperclassmen Kianna Ruff and Nijgia Snapp both placed in the top three of their respective heats to clinch lanes in the quarterfinals. Ruff clocked in at 2 minutes, 5.63 seconds, while Snapp registered a readout of 2:07.59.
Junior Vol sprinter Jarael Nelvis, the only Tennessee athlete competing in three events this week, snuck into the men's 100m quarterfinals with the best time of his career. Running in the third heat, Nelvis finished in 10.38 seconds to earn one of the six at-large bids.
Day two of the NCAA East Preliminary Round meet at Irwin Belk Track in Greensboro, N.C., continues tomorrow at 10 a.m. with the women's hammer throw. The Big Orange returns to action at noon when redshirt freshman Kyle Quinn takes part in the men's javelin throw. The Lady Vols open competition in the pole vault (Erin Champion, Linda Hadfield) and 100m hurdles (Bianca Blair) at 5 p.m.
For in-meet updates on the Tennessee track & field program, follow the squad on Twitter at @Vol_Track.
LADY VOL RESULTS AT THE NCAA EAST PRELIMINARY ROUND
Long Jump: NCAA Qual. - Kia Jackson, 20-1/6.12m! (w: +1.9) (9th)
400m First Round: Adv. Felicia Brown, 52.64!/Ht. 6, 2nd (9th)
800m First Round: Adv. Kianna Ruff, 2:05.63/Ht. 6, 3rd (14th); Adv. Nijgia Snapp, 2:07.59/Ht. 2, 3rd (18th)
100m First Round: Adv. Kia Jackson, 11.50 (w: +1.7)/Ht. 1, 4th (17th)
Discus Throw: 33. Aslynn Halvorson, 147-2/44.87m; 39. Cassie Wertman, 140-10/42.92m
VOL RESULTS AT THE NCAA EAST PRELIMINARY ROUND
Pole Vault: NCAA Qual. - Jake Blankenship, 17-2.25/5.25m (t1st); NCAA Qual. - Tyler Porter, 17-2.75/5.25m (t1st); NCAA Qual. - Chase Brannon, 17-2.25/5.25m (11th)
Discus Throw: NCAA Qual. - Tavis Bailey, 178-9/54.49m (12th)
100m First Round: Adv. Jarael Nelvis, 10.38! (w: +0.3)/Ht. 3, 4th (20th); DNA. - Jamol James, 10.47 (w: +0.1)/Ht. 2, 5th (32nd)
400m First Round: DNA. - Terrance Livingston, 46.91/Ht. 1, 6th (27th)
! - 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