“This meet serves as a final tune up for the SEC meet (Feb. 29-March 2 in Fayetteville, Ark.),” head coach Bill Webb said. “We have many different individual needs to address this weekend. Several of our athletes are coming off illnesses, several are working on confidence or aggressiveness and a few are working on technical aspects in their events.”
Junior Richard Wooten leads Tennessee’s efforts in the throwing events after tying his personal-best weight throw mark that ranks fifth on the school’s all-time performance list in the event. Wooten is joined by fellow junior Nick Panezich, who is ranked 10th on Tennessee’s all-time performance list in the weight throw, to contest both the shot put and weight throw.
Senior Andrew Dawson leads three Tennessee runners in the 800 with his NCAA?provisional-qualifying time that ranks fourth in the conference in the event. Joining Dawson in the 800 are fellow seniors Yarrick Kincaid and Paul Cross, as well as sophomore Justin Hansen. The Vols send seven runners to the starting line in the mile. Senior Chris Platt, who won the event at the Clemson Opener earlier this season, leads the group that also includes fellow seniors Matt Piccarello, making his first attempt at a mile this season, and Brent Smith, in addition to junior Andrew Press, sophomore Mike Brodsky and freshmen Axel Mostrag and Michael Spooner.
Tennessee’s largest field event is the pole vault, which features four UT vaulters. Led by two-time All-America Michael Hogue, Tennessee’s pole vault contingent also features freshman Joseph Berry, who recorded his collegiate-best clearance two weeks ago, junior Brad Holtz and freshman Michael Ayers. Sophomore Brenard Wilson and junior Akeem Hardnett are Tennessee’s only representatives in the high jump and triple jump, respectively, while sophomore Jonathan Fluellen and freshman Charlton Rolle are entered in the long jump.
Sophomore Kyle Stevenson is entered in the 60 and 200 dashes. He is joined in the 60 by seniors Blake Jones and Matthieu Pritchett, who clocked a season-best time in the 60 two weeks ago. Sophomore Nathan Grace lines up alongside Stevenson in the 200. Sophomore De’Lon Isom is entered in the 60 hurdles, alongside Ayers, senior Kris Fant and Rolle. Sophomore Chris Rapp is the lone Vol in the 3,000.
This marks Tennessee’s second trip to Rector Field House this year after also competing in the Virginia Tech Invitational in January. The Virginia Tech Challenge begins Friday at 5 p.m. Eastern Time and concludes Saturday afternoon with the 4x400 relay at 2:45 p.m. Live results will be available throughout the weekend at UTsports.com.