March 7, 2009
Three of the six Tennessee track and field athletes participating in last chance meets Saturday posted marks that improve their chances of qualifying for the NCAA Championships. Five Vols traveled to the Virginia Tech Last Chance Meet in Blacksburg, Va., and one ventured to the Alex Wilson Invitational hosted by Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
"I thought all of our guys competed aggressively," Tennessee head coach Bill Webb said. "We had three guys improve and we'll wait and see how things go around the country. I'm happy for the guys who have given themselves a better chance to go to the NCAA meet."
In Blacksburg, Evander Wells took care of business by posting an automatic qualifier in the semi-final of the 60m dash. Wells opened the day with a 6.65 clocking in the prelims, then posted a lifetime-best mark of 6.61 in the semi-finals, which surpasses the NCAA automatic qualifying threshold and moves him to fourth on UT's all-time list in the event.
In the 60m hurdles, Charlton Rolle posted a lifetime-best time of 7.83 to improve his NCAA qualifying mark by .02 seconds. He entered the weekend ranked 19th in the nation and his improvement Saturday should move him high enough to gain entry into the NCAA Championships.
Akeem Hardnett tied his lifetime-best mark of 15.69m (51-5.75) in the triple jump. The mark will move him up the NCAA descending order list, but not far enough to guarantee him a spot at the national championships.
Brad Holtz and Joseph Berry both competed in the pole vault hoping to climb into the NCAA field, but neither was on their game. Holtz cleared 5.03m (16-6), while Berry did not clear a height. Holtz entered the competition with a top mark of 5.30m (17-4.5), and Berry entered with a clearance of 5.26m (17-3).
In South Bend, Joseph Franklin clocked an 800m time of 1:49.76, which means his season-best time of 1:49.29 from the prelims of the SEC Championships will be used to determine his fate regarding a trip to College Station. Entering the meet, his top time ranked high enough to earn an invitation, but Franklin will have to wait on the results of last chance meets throughout the country before receiving official notification.
The accepted entries for the NCAA Championships will be released Monday at 9 p.m. ET. The NCAA Championships take place March 13-14 in College Station, Texas.