Jan. 7, 2009
The Tennessee men's track and field team opens the 2009 season by traveling to Blacksburg, Va., for the Virginia Tech Invitational, held at Rector Field House on the university's campus. Twenty-six athletes are entered in 12 different events with competition beginning Friday at 5 p.m. ET.
The 2009 Vols return to Blacksburg for the ninth-consecutive season. Eleven teams will be in competition including host Virginia Tech, Maryland, Virginia and Wake Forest.
"It's our first meet of the season, and we're trying to determine where we are as a team after the holiday break," Tennessee head coach Bill Webb said. "We won't open very many of our distance runners, but our sprints and field events guys will see some limited activity. This is the perfect meet for us to get started because of its size and the competition level presented."
All four of Tennessee's returning All-America selections will be in competition. Junior Evander Wells, a six-time All-America sprinter, will run the 55m while junior Kyle Stevenson will compete in both the 55m and the 200m. All-America decathlete Michael Ayers will compete in five events as he begins his competition training for the upcoming season. Matthew Maloney, a 2007 All-America in the javelin, will participate in the weight throw.
A number of athletes who excelled in 2008 will also get their 2009 campaigns started over the weekend. Sophomore Joe Berry, the 2008 SEC Champion in the pole vault, will begin his quest for a repeat crown, while Akeem Hardnett competes in the triple jump after finishing as the SEC runner-up in the event a year ago.
Five newcomers will don the orange and white for the first time, each one a sprinter looking to make an impact early in his Volunteer career. Joseph Morris will run the 55m and the 200m; Varick Tucker will run the 500m; Desmond Brown will 55m, 200m and compete in the long jump while Deaundra Dailey will run the 300m along with Alan Bachman.
Other Vols competing are Samdi Fraser, Nathan Grace and John Hewitt in the sprints; Mike Brodsky, Steve Fassino and Chris Kane in the distance events; Jonathan Fluellen and Brenard Wilson in the long jump; Brad Holtz and Michael Seaman in the pole vault; Charlton Rolle in the 55m hurdles; Julius Tate in the triple jump and Nick Panezich and Richard Wooten in both the shot put and weight throw. Matthew Best will compete in several events as part of his heptathlon training.
"For the guys competing, we want to see where they are with their fitness levels and techniques," Webb said. "We want to them to know what areas need improvement as they begin the process of getting ready for the SEC and NCAA meets later this season."
Competition begins with the weight throw Friday afternoon and concludes Saturday with the 4x400m relay. Live results will be available at flashresults.com and a recap of notable performances will be posted on UTsports.com following the conclusion of each day's competition