April 11, 2003
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- When the weather finally broke and shed its dreary shroud Friday evening, Tennessee responded with some sunny sprint performances of its own to close the third day of the Sea Ray Relays at Tom Black Track. In sum, the Volunteers posted four wins on the day, three in the sprints, and all for regional qualifiers. Tennessee posted 14 regional qualifiers on the day, including three new additions. Jonathan Wade led the sprint parade with his first 100m/200m dash double victory in his young career.
"All in all the Vols had a good day," head coach Bill Webb said. "I was particularly impressed in the sprints. Jonathan Wade won two events with national-class times. You've got to look at Jabari Greer winning the hurdles, and our top-four guys all had PRs. Rondell Mershon got his first win at a major meet in the triple jump. Any time you win at Sea Rays, that's big. We had a number of lifetime bests, which is characteristic of us for Sea Rays. I'm looking forward to the relays and field events on a nice, sunny, warm day tomorrow."
The victor Wade matched his season-best 100m dash time with a 10.39 in his first outdoor outdoor appearance in front of the home crowd. The freshman from Shreveport, La., continued to show beginnings of brilliance with his 20.80 winner in the 200m dash. Meanwhile, Wade had orange company near the top of the list in both sprints. Gary Kikaya dropped down to the 200m dash, taking runner-up honors in 20.87. In the short sprint, Sean Lambert took fourth with a 10.50 time, still a regional qualifier but not his best effort of the season. Lambert also took sixth with a regional qualifier of 21.12 in the 200m dash.
"It was good to be able to perform well here in front of everybody," Wade said. "It helped me on the inside to win today. When people are in your house, you've got to show them how it's done at Tennessee. This is a great confidence booster, but I've got to go into next week not thinking about winning this week."
Meanwhile, Greer ran the fastest 110m hurdles time of his life with his winner. Greer clocked in at 13.67, the most impressive Volunteer time of the day, currently the second-fastest this year in the NCAA and the seventh-fastest on the Tennessee all-time list. The dual-sport star is slated to miss football's Orange and White Game Saturday in an attempt to give the Vols a leg up in the relays.
"I'm just going to take it race by race," Greer said. "I got a pretty good start. I've still got a lot of question marks I've got to go out and answer in practice. I've got to thank all my teammates, coaches, family and friends for coming out and watching today."
The top-four Vol finishers in the 110m hurdles all ran lifetime bests. Karl Jennings clocked in at 13.84 to claim second. Meanwhile, another football/track hurdler, Robert Boulware, continued refining his effort with a lifetime-best, 14.20 to earn 16th in the talent-laden field. Meanwhile, Clarksville native Damond Campbell trimmed time off his previous best with a 14.45 to take 22nd.
Rondell Mershon triple jumped his way to victory lane by placing his season-best mark 50-2.5 down the sand pit. Mershon locked up the clutch victory with the winning jump on his sixth and final leap.
Tennessee also made headway in the 800m run with two new regional qualifiers courtesy of Marc Sylvester and Frank Francois. Sylvester shook off an illness from last week to improve his season best to 1:48.56 to earn fifth. However, Sylvester got boxed in on the second lap and his time and place didn't fully reflect his training. Meanwhile, Francois continued his improvement with a 1:49.97 to write his ticket for the NCAA Regional meet.
In the 400m hurdles, Dwayne Bell Jr. posted a new regional qualifier with a lifetime-best 52.31 in the 400m hurdles to take eighth. After no-heighting last week, Chandler Rice notched a regional qualifier and matched his season-best clearance with a 16-0.75 effort.
The 37th Sea Ray Relays conclude Saturday with a 9:15 a.m. through 5:40 p.m. full schedule. The relays begin at 1 p.m. The competitors will take aim at the Sea Ray Relays record book, as not one men's event standard has fallen throughout the first three days.