Feb. 21, 2003
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The 12th-ranked Volunteers honed their SEC Indoor preparations Friday night with a limited workout at the Tennessee Classic in Stokely Athletics Center. All told, five athletes on the Tennessee roster posted wins in the SEC dress rehearsal.
Sean Lambert's 6.19 to take the 55m dash stood as the day's most impressive outing. Meanwhile, Josh Whisman won the weight throw and Blake Sabo took the 'B' section of the shot put. Rondell Mershon and Andy Lane, both on the Tennessee roster although competing unattached Friday, notched wins in the triple jump and 'B' section of the pole vault, respectively.
"I'm certainly glad that the sprinters got a chance to iron out their mechanics," head coach Bill Webb said. "Lambert ran a PR, and Wade improved on his New York performance last week. I'm pleased with Jim Sexton's PR in the weight throw. We had a good tune-up for our pole vaulters, sprinters and hurdlers. We accomplished some things. We're closer to where we want to be for the conference."
Lambert raced to the fastest 55m dash of his career with a 6.19 winner in the 55m dash finals. The time converts to 6.65 in the 60m dash, the distance at the NCAA meet, to match his career best and give the junior a solid provisional qualifier. Lambert's 6.31 also led all qualifiers in the prelims. However, Lambert enjoyed orange company in the 55m finals. Jonathan Wade put together a solid 6.29 to take silver. Dwayne Bell Jr. also put in a good showing with a 6.41 lifetime best to earn fifth.
"I feel like I'm more aware of what I'm doing, so I'm able to run faster," Lambert said of his renaissance. "At SECs, I've got to focus on running my race and run the way I need to. If I can put that together, I'm going to be satisfied."
Tennessee exercised its depth in the hurdles, as three Vols ran the fastest time of their lives. Karl Jennings ran to third with a provisional qualifier of 7.35 in a fast second heat of the 55m hurdles finals. Robert Boulware kept improving by taking fifth in a career-best 7.45. While he had a better preliminary run than in the finals, Craig Sutherland's 7.65 prelim time stands as a lifetime best. Back in the finals, Damond Campbell's ninth-place 7.73 also gives him a lifetime best.
The Vols pulled off a top-two sweep in the weight throw. Josh Whisman won the event with a 55-9 ? measurement. However, Jim Sexton posted a big improvement on his lifetime best with a 55-2 ? mark in the weight throw.
Webb and volunteer pole vault coach Jim Bemiller have reason to be pleased with their young charges for the second consecutive meet. Chandler Rice posted a career-best improvement for the second straight week. Rice finished runner-up with a solid 16-10 ? leap. Meanwhile, Jeff Trembley jumped just an inch below his PR from last week. Trembley's 15-10 clearance to take third provides proof that last week's improvement wasn't a fluke. Meanwhile, Andy Lane, competing unattached with a redshirt year ahead of him, won the 'B' section of the vault by matching his 15-0 lifetime-best leap.
Rondell Mershon, another Vol competing unattached because he has only outdoor eligibility remaining, won the triple jump with a 48-10 ? measurement in the sand pit.
Meanwhile, Tennessee's decathletes got a well-rounded workout to prepare them for the SEC Pentathlon next week. Stephen Harris posted a season-best time of 7.59 in the 55m hurdles prelims and took second in the high jump (6-8 ?) and 'B' section of the pole vault (14-6). Kevin Yeager took second in the long jump (22-7) and notched a 6-4 ? personal-best clearance in the high jump. Blake Sabo won the 'B' section of the shot put with a lifetime-best heave of 44-2 ?.
Now, the Volunteers turn their complete focus to the SEC Indoor Championships, held Feb. 28-March 2 at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla.