NCAA Championships Notes (PDF)The fifth-ranked Tennessee men’s track and field team travels to Des Moines, Iowa, this week for the NCAA Outdoor Championships with 12 entries spread out between nine individuals and one relay.
“I like our chances at nationals because we have a veteran team with a couple of outstanding freshmen,” head coach Bill Webb said. “It’s unbelievably difficult to place in the top-eight (in individual events) and score at NCAAs. However, we have a good track record and a lot of opportunities to score. We always view ourselves as a top-10 team. Things would have to go extremely well and we would have to have some luck for us to be a top-five team again. It’s certainly possible after our fourth-place finish last year. If we can get in that top-five mix, anything can happen.”
Four-time All-America Evander Wells earned entry in the 100 and 200 after moving to third on Tennessee’s all-time performance list in both events at the Mideast Regional. The sophomore from Stone Mountain, Ga., finished second in the region in the 200 with his 20.25 clocking and fourth in the 100 in 10.08. His wind-aided time of 10.01 in the 100 preliminaries ranks third in the NCAA this season, while his 20.25 time in the 200 is fourth on this year’s collegiate list.
Three-time All-America Jangy Addy enters the decathlon with the highest score in the NCAA this season. The team captain from Norcross, Ga., became just the 62nd American and fifth UT athlete to break the 8,000-point barrier as he scored 8,010 and won his fourth straight SEC multi-events title at this year’s SEC Outdoor Championships. Addy’s score included a collegiate-record run of 13.70, the second-fastest American time ever, in the decathlon 110 hurdles as well as school records in the decathlon 100 and decathlon shot put. The senior was recently named SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Fourteen-time All-America Rubin Williams also picked up spots in both the 100 and 200. Williams, the national champion in the 200 indoors, finished fifth in the 100 and fourth in the 200 at the Mideast Regional. The San Jose native has season-best times of 20.41 in the 200 that ranks eighth on the NCAA list and 10.12 in the 100 that ranks seventh in the nation. His personal-best 200 time of 20.36 broke Justin Gatlin’s indoor school record, while his personal-best 100 time of 10.12 ranks eighth on UT’s all-time performance list.
Tennessee’s 4x100 relay team of Blake Jones, Wells, Kyle Stevenson and Williams won the Mideast Regional with a time of 38.98. The Vols’ quartet of Matthieu Pritchett, Wells, Stevenson and Williams ran the season-best time of 38.82, the second-fastest time in the NCAA this season and third-fastest in school history, at the SEC Outdoor Championships.
Freshman Joseph Berry ranks seventh in the NCAA with his personal-best clearance of 17-9, which was recorded while winning the Mideast Regional. His clearance ranks ninth on Tennessee’s all-time performance list in the event. The Horsham, Pa., native is only the fourth freshman to win the pole vault at any of the four regionals since the format began in 2003. His mark is the highest by a freshman at the Mideast Regional and is the fourth-highest by a freshman in any NCAA regional competition. Berry enters the NCAA Outdoor Championships on a five-meet winning streak that includes becoming the first freshman since 1997 to win the SEC pole vault title and winning the Drake Relays in April. Overall, Berry has won six of eight pole vault competitions this outdoor season.
In addition to the 100 and 200, Tennessee also got two individuals into the 110 hurdles and decathlon. Freshman Charlton Rolle and sophomore De’Lon Isom make up UT’s hurdle contingent, while freshman Michael Ayers joins Addy in the decathlon. Rolle enters the national championships with his personal-best time of 13.68 ranking 15th in the nation and 10th on Tennessee’s all-time performance list in the event. Isom makes his second trip in as many years to the NCAA Outdoor Championships with his 13.73 season-best time 21st on the national list. Ayers enters the meet ranked 20th in the NCAA following his personal-best score of 7,360 that placed third at the SEC Outdoor Championships and is the third-highest freshman decathlon score in school history.
All-Americas Yarrick Kincaid and Matthew Maloney also return to the national championships. Kincaid is 25th on the national list with his season-best time of 1:48.62 in the 800. The senior from Knoxville’s personal-best time of 1:47.98 places him 10th on UT’s all-time performance list in the event. Maloney, a junior from Barrington, R.I., placed second in the javelin for the second straight season at the SEC Outdoor Championships. He enters the national championship meet 13th with his season-best throw of 228-2, while his personal-best throw of 232-7 ranks sixth on Tennessee’s all-time performance list.
The NCAA Outdoor Championships, hosted by Drake University, begin with the decathlon Wednesday at 11 a.m. Eastern time. Four days of track and field action conclude Saturday with the 4x400 relay, slated for a 5:48 p.m. start. CBS College Sports Network is showing live coverage of the meet from 8-11 p.m. Friday, while CBS is set to air live coverage from Des Moines from 4-6 p.m. Saturday. Live results can be found throughout the championships at UTsports.com.