Feb. 15, 2003
NEW YORK -- Tennessee's track and field squad mounted a strong charge to take second, a mere two and a half points behind Purdue, at the Armory Collegiate Invitational in Manhattan Saturday. Gary Kikaya and Brooklyn native Sean Lambert made the biggest splashes of the day with powerful wins in the sprints, but Tennessee tradition was upheld as the Vols notched points in events across the spectrum.
"We had a good meet," assistant head coach George Watts said. "We were competitive in just about every event. We got off to a little bit of a shaky start yesterday. We had a couple of big wins by Sean Lambert and Gary Kikaya. It's good to see Sean on a roll and back to his freshman form of two years ago. Gary's collegiate-leading victory was very impressive. It was also nice to get three guys in the hurdles finals. We came after them in every event. This meet prepared us nicely for the SEC Championships in two weeks."
Kikaya took over the NCAA lead and established a meet record with his victorious 46.01 time in the 400m dash. The smoking 46.01 time stands as an automatic qualifier and nearly half a second faster than the runner-up Saturday. Kikaya also more than held his own on the 4x400m relay. Dwayne Bell Jr., Lambert, Kikaya and Stephen Harris passed the baton for fourth place in a provisional 3:10.40. Kikaya led the quartet with a strong 45.6 split.
Meanwhile, hometown hero Lambert had plenty of reason to enjoy his homecoming. After false-starting in the 200m dash prelims Friday, Lambert roared back with a win in the 60m dash Saturday. Lambert clocked in a 6.66, a strong provisional time, the fourth-fastest time in the NCAA and his best effort since his freshman season in 2001. Lambert also joined in on the Vols' fourth-place 4x400m relay.
Rocky Danners and the Tennessee pole vault trio pieced together a good day, as well, by placing three in the top eight. Danners took second with a 17-4 1/2. Meanwhile, the Vols got good work from Chandler Rice and Jeff Trembley. Rice and Trembley posted lifetime-best leaps with 16-8 3/4 and 15-11 clearances, respectively, to garner fourth and eighth.
Jonathan Wade was also a double scorer in the 60m and 200m dashes. Wade clocked a provisional qualifer to earn bronze in the 200m dash in 21.25, though he has run the event a few fractions faster earlier. Wade stumbled a bit in the start of the 60m dash finals to finish seventh in 6.97. While no lifetime bests were recorded, Tennessee's coaching staff was pleased that Jabari Greer, Karl Jennings and Robert Boulware advanced through the prelims to the finals in the 60m hurdles. In a big point haul for the Vols, Greer took third (7.99), Jennings took fourth (8.01) and Boulware sixth (8.16).
Decathlete Harris not only stepped in to anchor the 4x400m relay, he tied for fourth to score with a 6-9 leap in the high jump.
Meanwhile, the distance corps continued its recent surge with more lifetime bests to move the scoreboard for the Big Orange. In the 3,000m run, Farragut native Eric Bell posted another PR with a fifth-place, 8:17.25 time, eight seconds faster than he has ever run the event. Meanwhile, Steve Klein also added a career-best 8:35.76. In the mile run, Ballston Lake, N.Y. native Rob Cloutier notched his season-best time in the mile with a 4:12.55, the second-fastest by a Vol this season, to earn fifth and score for Tennessee.
The Volunteers return to action in a low-key Tennessee Invitational Friday in Stokely Athletics Center.