Tennessee Finishes Tied for 16th at NCAA Indoor Championships

March 12, 2005


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Heptathlete Chris Helwick and 60-meter man Jonathan Wade took eighth-place finishes in their events to land Tennessee in a tie for 16th with 14 team points as the NCAA indoor championships closed Saturday night in Fayetteville, Ark.

Favorite Arkansas won the team title by scoring 56 points on its home track at the Randal Tyson Center. Fellow SEC rival Florida took runner-up honors with 46 points. Wisconsin finished third with 43 points. Auburn gave the SEC three of the top four teams with a fourth-place, 37-point finish. Indiana rounded out the top five with 30 points.

Tennessee logged significant progress between the 2004 and 2005 NCAA indoor championships. In 2004, Tennessee finished tied for 56th with two points. Only one Vol, then co-captain Sean Lambert, scored. This season Tennessee scored seven times as many points at the NCAA indoor championships to finish tied for 16th, a far cry from 56th. At the 2005 meet, five of six Volunteers scored and earned All-America honors, the highest total at the NCAA indoor championships since Tennessee won the title in 2002.

"We brought six guys and five of them not only earned All-America honors but also scored," head coach Bill Webb said. "Also, five of our six guys are back for next season. We have people who competed well. We're a young team. Jonathan Wade was tender (leg). He doesn't have a serious injury, but it's not something you want at the national championships. He kind of limped through the final to score a point. Chris Helwick had another excellent vault today in the heptathlon.



Helwick finished eighth in the heptathlon with a score of 5,421. Despite competing banged up through the entire indoor season, Helwick still managed to improve on his ninth-place, 5,386-point heptathlon effort from last year's NCAA indoor meet. Helwick's 5,421 score fell 188 points short of his lifetime-best score of 5,609, achieved two weeks ago at the SEC indoor championships.

Helwick opened his day with an 11th-place, 8.89-second time in the 60 hurdles.

He followed his hurdles with another impressive effort in the pole vault. Helwick achieved his lifetime-best clearance of 16 feet, 4 3/4 inches on the same pole vault runway two weeks ago at the SEC indoor championships. He neared that height again Saturday after tying for second in the pole vault with a 16-0 3/4 clearance.

Helwick passed on the first six bars before entering the competition at 14-1 1/4. He passed on the next bar at 14-5 1/4 before clearing the next two heights of 14-9 and 15-1 on his first attempt. His clearances from that point became more dramatic as he cleared the next two bars at 15-5 and 15-9 on his third and final opportunity. He vaulted cleanly over 16-0 3/4 on his second try before taking three misses at his career-best height of 16-4 3/4. Another clutch pole vault performance kept Helwick in the scoring mix as the heptathletes faced the 1,000, the last of the heptathlon's seven events.

Helwick wrapped up the heptathlon with a ninth-place, 2:49.85 finish in the 1,000.

Wade also added a point with an eighth-place, 8.59 finish in the 60. Webb reported that Wade was "tender" before the race but competed to bump the Vols a notch up the point standings.

Tennessee turns its focus to the outdoor season, historically a stronger suit for the Volunteers than the indoor season. Tennessee begins its outdoor season Friday and Saturday at the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Tempe, Ariz.

NCAA Indoor Championships,
Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday, March 12, 2005

Tennessee All-Americas/scorers
Garland Porter, weight throw, third, 72-5 3/4
Aries Merritt, 60 hurdles, fifth, 7.77
Rubin Williams, 200, seventh, 20.78
Chris Helwick, heptathlon, eighth, 5,421
Jonathan Wade, 60, eighth, 8.59

Top team/SEC scores
8.Florida State26
Arizona State15
15.Brigham Young14.5
Virginia Tech14
19.South Carolina12
60 final
1.DaBryan Blanton, Okla.6.58
8.Jonathan Wade, Tenn.8.59
1.Maurice Smith, Auburn6,004
8.Chris Helwick, Tenn.5,421
Heptathlon 60 hurdles
1.Maurice Smith, Auburn7.88
11.Chris Helwick, Tenn.8.89
Heptathlon pole vault
1.Donovan Kilmartin, Texas16-8 3/4
2t.Chris Helwick, Tenn.16-0 3/4
Heptathlon 1,000
1.Brandon Hoskins, Liberty2:42.92
9.Chris Helwick, Tenn.2:49.85

SB-season-best mark, PR-personal record/career-best mark.



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