April 9, 2010
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Evander Wells swept the 100- and 200-meter dashes, Phoebe Wright cruised to victory in the 1500m and Ellen Wortham carded a win in the 400m hurdles to lead the University of Tennessee track & field program on a gorgeous spring Friday at the 44th-annual Sea Ray Relays.
Wells, who will be honored during senior day festivities on Saturday, made his final Sea Ray Friday as a Vol one to remember. First, in the 100m, he outdueled former Vol All-American and 2008 Sea Rays champion Rubin Williams, leaning at the finish line to clock a season-best 10.41 readout to Williams' 10.43 report.
About 2 1/2 hours later, Wells, the world-leader in the 200m, proved his 20.47 effort last weekend was no fluke, zipping around the turn and down the home straightaway in 20.45, this time assisted by an illegal tailwind of 3.2 meters per second. Still, Wells owns the best legal and wind-aided marks in the world this season.
A repeat meet winner in the half-lapper, Wells also became the sixth Vol to pull off a victorious short sprint double at Sea Rays, joining Williams (2008), Jonathan Wade (2003), Justin Gatlin (2002), Leonard Scott (2001) and Reggie Jones (1976). Teammate Kyle Stevenson was sixth in 21.04 with a gust of 2.9 at his back.
The UT men also got second-place showings from senior Samdi Fraser in the 400m (season-best 47.37), sophomore Joe Franklin in the 800m (1:49.36), junior Peter Sigilai in the 1500m (3:49.10) and junior Michael Spooner in the 10,000m (29:39.42). Spooner's effort was a career best.
Elsewhere, senior John Hewitt knocked out a third-place finish in the 400m hurdles (52.55), sophomore Varick Tucker turned in a personal best of 47.85 to take sixth in the 400m, freshman Leoule Degfae had a PR of 14:32.25 to take sixth in the 5000m, sophomore Emerson Peacock was seventh in the 800m (1:50.79) and Minor Bowens grabbed eighth in the open discus throw at 157-0.
"Overall, I was pleased with our performance," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "It was impressive seeing Evander coming back after last week's victory at Florida and showing he's very consistent and getting better every week by doubling as a victor in the 100 and 200 here.
"We also had some runner-up showings, with Peter, Samdi, Joe and Michael all running good competitive times and showing spirit and focus towards running their best."
For the Lady Vols, Wright lowered her personal best in the 1500m to 4:15.66, winning by nine seconds with a mark that leads the SEC and ranks No. 4 nationally. The senior also stands second in the NCAA in the 800 at 2:05.58. It marked her second straight individual victory at Sea Rays, with last year's triumph coming in the 400m.
Sophomore Ellen Wortham navigated the barriers in an SEC-leading time, becoming the first active Lady Vol to win the 400m hurdles at this meet. She traversed the final obstacle and overtook Seton Hall's Jernail Hayes (58.35) to squeak out the win in a career-best 58.31. That mark gave her three straight PRs this season and her second victory to match one in the season-opener at the FSU Relays.
Sophomore Brittany Sheffey and freshman Kia Jackson notched runner-up performances. Sheffey earned hers in the 800m, laying down a personal-record 2:06.86 performance that ranks No. 9 nationally. Jackson, meanwhile, scooted down the track in a season-best 11.80 to wrangle a second-place finish in the 100 meters. Sophomore Ashley Harris was eighth in the 100m at 12.03.
"On the women's side, we had some good results also, with Phoebe running 4:15, which is one of the fastest times in the country," Clark said. "Also, Brittany had a big run in the 800 (2:06) and Ellen winning the 400 hurdles with another PR was good to see. We definitely had some good things happen, and we're starting to gel as the season continues."