April 9, 2009
Tennessee sophomore Michael Ayers posted three lifetime-best marks and won three of five second-day events Thursday en route to victory in the Scott Hartman decathlon at the Sea Ray Relays. Ayers' final point total of 7,480 was an NCAA provisional qualifying mark and 571 points better than second-place Pat Woods of Ohio State. UT freshman Matthew Best posted 5,635 points to finish fifth in his first-ever collegiate decathlon.
A Tennessee athlete or alumni has now won the Scott Hartman decathlon for six-consecutive seasons. Ayers' two-day tally includes four lifetime-best marks and six individual event wins.
"Mike did a great job of keeping his focus from one event to the next," Tennessee head coach Bill Webb said. "His performance will more than likely qualify him for the NCAA Championships, but he and I both feel like he could have done better if he had been pushed in a couple more events."
Ayers entered the day leading the field with 3,844 points and went immediately to work posting lifetime-best marks in his first two events. He clocked in at 15.66 in the 110m hurdles to place fifth, and then tossed the discus 41.07m (134-9) to finish second in that event and improve his all-time best by more than three meters.
Ayers' best event, the pole vault, helped him widen his lead over the field as he cleared 4.95m (16-2.75) to finish more than a foot better than his closest competitor.
In the fourth event of the day, the javelin, Ayers registered a throw of 53.94, which was a lifetime-best mark and good enough to beat the entire field. He closed the day with a clocking of 4:47.10, again running away with the competition as he finished 10 seconds ahead of the second-place runner.
Ayers won three first-day events on Wednesday and posted a lifetime-best mark in the 100m at 10.86.
"I'm happy with the outcome," Ayers said. "I feel like I could have done a little better during the first day and given myself an easier time in the 1,500m. My score will get me into nationals and now I'll focus on getting ready for the SEC Championships."
Best entered the day in third place with 3,411 points and managed one event win during day two. He opened the day with a victory in the 110m hurdles at 15.13. A third-place showing in the discus at a 36.36m (119-3) followed before he was unable to clear a height in the pole vault.
In the javelin, he posted a toss of 39.64m (130-1) to place seventh. The final event of the day saw him clock a time of 5:37.76 to finish 10th in the 1,500m.
Individual events at the Sea Ray Relays begin Friday at 12:15 p.m. ET at Tom Black Track. Admission is free for both remaining days of the meet.