Merritt Wins 110 Hurdles at Windy Yellow Jacket Invitational

April 2, 2005


Tennessee made use of some friendly tailwinds sweeping across the Peach City Saturday as Aries Merritt and Matthieu Pritchett posted impressive wind-aided times at Georgia Tech's Yellow Jacket Invitational. In the Marietta, Ga., native's return to his home state, Merritt won the 110 hurdles in a wind-aided 13.49 seconds at George C. Griffin Track in Atlanta, Ga.

"We ended up with 16 people participating," head coach Bill Webb said. "Our highlights were Aries Merritt's wind-aided win in the 110 hurdles against some good competition, and Matthieu Pritchett's race in the 100. Garland Porter continued to throw very consistently in the hammer. It was just very cold and gusty, not conducive to a track meet. Several teams pulled out in the middle of the meet.

Though stoutly wind-aided and many professionals have yet to open their outdoor seasons, the sophomore Merritt's regional-qualifying 13.49 winner stands as the third-fastest 110 hurdles time in the world this year in all conditions (wind-aided and wind-legal). To count as a record, the favorable tailwind must register 2.0 meters per second or lower. The wind reading on Merritt's winner rated 4.8 meters per second. However, the time still ranks as a regional qualifier despite the wind. Though his time was wind-aided, Merritt defeated some quality hurdlers in the race, including Florida's Josh Walker, who bettered Merritt by placing second in the equivalent 60 hurdles at the NCAA indoor championships last month. Walker finished Saturday's race in third in 13.78.

Running in a wind-legal section, freshman Drew Brunson, a Snellville, Ga., native, took 11th in the 110 hurdles with a lifetime-best, regional-qualifying time of 14.30. Cade Liverman followed in 14th with a 14.42 time. Decathlete Chris Helwick placed 27th in 16.50.



Freshman Pritchett took third in the 100 with an eye-opening yet strongly wind-aided time of 10.27. The wind reading for Pritchett's run registered 7.2 meters per second, more than three times the allowable limit. Co-captain Robert Boulware, usually a 110 hurdles specialist, placed 18th in the 100 with a 10.87w time.

Porter finished second in the hammer throw in the morning session. The Vol senior threw the hammer 203 feet, 7 inches despite battling unwelcome sleet and snow during the competition. Porter notched regional qualifiers and surpassed the 200-feet barrier in each of his first three meets. Porter added a 14th-place, 152-10 mark in his discus opener.

Josh Whisman also met the regional standard with a sixth-place, 188-6 mark in the hammer throw. Whisman also nabbed eighth in the shot put with a season-best, regional-qualifying mark of 55-5. Knoxville Central grad Jim Sexton finished seventh in the hammer with a 188-1 regional-qualifying mark.

Helwick took sixth in the pole vault with a 14-7 1/4 clearance. Anthony Immediate finished seventh in the javelin with a 178-5 measurement. Jeremy Burton finished seventh in the 400 hurdles after circling the track in 53.16. Clarksville native Damond Campbell cut a fraction off his opener with a 16th-place, 55.10 time in the 400 hurdles.

Tennessee finished fifth in the 4x400 relay after clocking a 3:16.23 on the legs of Burton, Rubin Williams, Brunson and Helwick. Brunson posted the squad 's fastest split.

However, the Vols have work to do on their 4x100 relay. The Vols were experimenting with their lineup, but the Tennessee quartet was disqualified for a handoff out of the zone. Pritchett, Williams, Merritt and Burton passed the baton. Webb reported the handoffs between Willams and Merritt and Merritt and Stone Mountain, Ga., native Burton were rocky.

Tennessee opens its home schedule Friday and Saturday at the 33rd Gatorade Classic. In a unique format, the Gatorade goes SEC versus Big Ten as Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina square off against Minnesota, Penn State and Wisconsin.

Yellow Jacket Invitational, Atlanta, Ga.
Saturday, April 2, 2005

1.Walter Dix, Fla. St.10.13w *
3.Matthieu Pritchett, Tenn. 10.27w *
18. Robert Boulware, Tenn.10.87w
110 hurdles
1.Aries Merritt, Tenn.13.49w *
11. Drew Brunson, Tenn. 14.30 *, PR
14. Cade Liverman, Tenn.14.42
27. Chris Helwick, Tenn.16.50
400 hurdles
1.LaRon Bennett, Ga.49.42 *
7.Jeremy Burton, Tenn.53.16
16. Damond Campbell, Tenn.55.10 SB
4x100 relay
1.Florida39.22 *
--Tennessee Disqualified
(Pritchett, R. Williams, Merritt, Burton)
4x400 relay
1.Auburn3:07.94 *
5.Tennessee 3:16.23
(Burton, R. Williams, Brunson, Helwick)
Pole vault
1.Trey Bell, S.C.16-0 3/4
6.Chris Helwick, Tenn.14-7 1/4
Shot put
1.Reese Hoffa, Unatt. 65-7 1/2 *
8.Josh Whisman, Tenn. 55-5 *, SB
1.Carl Brown, Unatt.198-1 *
14. Garland Porter, Tenn. 152-10
1.Kyle Helf, Ga.206-3 *
7.Anthony Immediate, Tenn.178-5
1.John Newell, Ga.219-2 *
2.Garland Porter, Tenn. 203-7 *
6.Josh Whisman, Tenn. 188-6 *
7.Jim Sexton, Tenn. 188-1 *

SB-season-best mark; PR-personal record/career-best mark; w-wind-aided mark; *-NCAA regional qualifier.



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