Three Vols Earn All-America Honors on Day 1 of NCAA Indoor Championships

March 12, 2005


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Three Volunteers scored on the opening day of the NCAA indoor championships Friday to push Tennessee to eighth place with 12 points at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark. The NCAA hasn't updated results to the distance medley relay, the last final of the night, which will affect team placement even though Tennessee didn't field a team. Garland Porter, Aries Merritt and Rubin Williams each earned All-America acclaim and moved the scoreboard for Tennessee on the first of two days of NCAA action.

"It's been an up and down day," head coach Bill Webb said. "Garland (Porter) and Rubin (Williams) had lifetime bests. That's all you can ask for. Aries Merritt also ran competitively in the hurdles. Jonathan Wade ran his second-fastest time to get into the 60 final. However, you feel bad for Paul (Cross) in the 800 and Rubin in the 60. We'll line it up again tomorrow with Chris Helwick (heptathlon) and Jonathan Wade (60 final). I'm proud of the way our guys represented us.

Porter authored a record-breaking day to get the Vols on the scoreboard early Friday after becoming the first Tennessean to earn All-America honors in the weight throw.

Porter, a senior from Indianapolis, Ind., finished third after breaking his own school record three times Friday at Arkansas' Walker Pavilion, the school's indoor football practice field just up the street from the Randal Tyson Track Center where the rest of the meet is being contested. Porter threw the 35-lb. weight 72 feet, 5 3/4 inches to up his total to eight times he has broken or tied the Tennessee school weight throw record since he arrived on campus last year. Porter set and then matched the school record at the SEC indoor championships two weeks ago in the same facility. He broke the record three times last year, including twice at the SEC indoor championships.



Porter entered the competition with the NCAA's sixth-best mark. His third-place mark contributed six points to the Volunteer cause, three times as many points as all the Tennessee qualifiers scored at last year's NCAA indoor meet. Porter achieved Friday's record-breakers on his third throw (69-9), fourth throw (70-1 3/4) and fifth throw (72-5 3/4) of six. Wes Boudreau stands second on Tennessee's all-time list in the weight throw with a 66-6 1/2 effort in 1997, nearly six feet behind Porter's updated standard.

Porter's third-place, school record throw lacked less than three inches from matching runner-up Cory Martin of Auburn. Virginia Tech's Spyridon Jullien won the event with a mark of 76-0 3/4 to give the Hokies the early team lead.

Merritt added another four points to the Vol coffers after taking fifth in the 60 hurdles with a time of 7.77 in a SEC-dominated affair. Mississippi's Antwon Hicks won the event with a time of 7.64, leading a SEC quartet to four of the top-five finishes. In the 60-meter hurdles preliminaries, Merritt finished second in his heat and third overall with a 7.72 time. The 7.72 effort stands as Merritt's best 60 hurdles time of the season, though his converted 55 hurdles time rates a little faster.

In the 200, Williams earned All-America honors in his first NCAA meet after finishing seventh in 20.78, adding two points to Tennessee's total. Arkansas' Wallace Spearmon set the U.S. and collegiate indoor 200 record with a torrid 20.10 winner. Williams ran his career-best time of 20.75 in the prelims to make the cut to finals.

Helwick ranks seventh with 3,004 points after completing the first four of the heptathlon's seven events. Helwick stands in solid scoring position, as the top eight in each event score. Helwick pieced together a good first day, though he's 101 points off his career-best 3,105-point first-day pace at the SEC indoor championships two weeks ago.

Helwick opened the heptathlon with an 11th-place, 7.45 finish in the 60, just three-hundredths of a second off his season-best time. Helwick upped his finish to eighth with a 22-4 1/2 leap in the long jump. His 22-4 1/2 mark landed just three and a half inches shy of his career best. Helwick continued the trend of flirting with his lifetime-best mark in the shot put. He finished sixth with a 45-5 1/4 heave, about 10 inches off his lifetime best. Helwick wrapped up his day with by moving higher up the leader list with a fourth-place, 6-6 clearance in the high jump. The 6-6 jump slightly trails his season-best 6-8 1/4 leap.

In the 60 preliminaries, Tennessee got both good and bad news in the same heat. Running against prelim leader Oklahoma's DaBryan Blanton in the second and fastest heat, junior Wade qualified for the finals with a 6.69 time, the fourth-fastest overall and third in the fast second heat. Wade also left no doubt in the 60 prelims on the same track at the SEC indoors two weeks ago, clocking in at a lifetime-best 6.67. However, freshman Williams false started in the 60 and was disqualified.

In the 800 preliminaries, Paul Cross couldn't continue his string of improvement and did not advance. Cross finished with a time of 1:51.65 to place 16th.

NCAA Indoor Championships,
Fayetteville, Ark.
Friday, March 11, 2005

60 preliminaries
1.DaBryan Blanton, Okla.6.58 Q
4.Jonathan Wade, Tenn.6.69 Q
--Rubin Williams, Tenn.False start
200 final
1.Wallace Spearmon, Ark.20.10
7.Rubin Williams, Tenn.20.78
800 preliminaries
1.Jonathan Johnson, Texas Tech1:48.42 Q
16.Paul Cross, Tenn.1:51.65
60 hurdles preliminaries
1.Josh Walker, Fla.7.69 Q
3.Aries Merritt, Tenn.7.72 Q
60 hurdles final
1.Antwon Hicks, Miss.7.64
5.Aries Merritt, Tenn.7.77
Weight throw
1.Spyridon Jullien, Va. Tech76-0 3/4
3.Garland Porter, Tenn.72-5 3/4 SR
Heptathlon (after four events)
1.Maurice Smith, Auburn3,352
7.Chris Helwick, Tenn.3,004
Heptathlon 60
1.Trey Hardee, Texas6.92
13.Chris Helwick, Tenn.7.45
Heptathlon long jump
1.Donovan Kilmartin, Texas23-11 3/4
8.Chris Helwick, Tenn.22-4 1/2
Heptathlon shot put
1.Maurice Smith, Auburn53-0 1/4
6.Chris Helwick, Tenn.45-5 1/4
Heptathlon high jump
1.Donovan Kilmartin, Texas6-9 1/2
4.Chris Helwick, Tenn.6-6

Q-qualified for event final, SB-season-best mark, PR-personal record/career-best mark, SR-school record.



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