April 13, 2011
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The 45th-annual Sea Ray Relays track & field meet got underway Wednesday afternoon at Tennessee's Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium. The weather couldn't have been any better, as Georgia's Michael Ayers and Kentucky's Precious Nwokey grabbed first-day leads in the Scott Hartman men's decathlon and the women's heptathlon, respectively.
Ayers won three of the five events on day one and produced a score of 4,105 that put him at the front of a Bulldog trio occupying the first three places. Ben Davies won the shot put and finished second in the long jump and 400 meters to hold down second with 3,951, followed by Tommy Barrineau in third with 3,830.
The afternoon started with Ayers winning the 100 meters in a 10.66 seconds to collect 938 points. The former Vol came right back and won the long jump in event two, stretching the tape measure to 23 feet, 6 1/4 inches for 854 points.
After placing second in the shot put (45-7/13.89m/722 pts.) and sixth in the high jump (6-4/1.93m/740 pts.), Ayers closed Wednesday with a narrow victory over Davies in the 400 meters, knocking out the one-lapper in 49.22 to his teammate's 49.28 effort. The time was good enough to earn 851 points for Ayers, who left Rocky Top after a coaching change two seasons ago.
In the heptathlon, Nwokey stands atop the leader board with 3,290 points, just three ahead of the 3,287 tally of Elite Edge's Alecia Beckford-Stewart. The UK standout won three of the four events held on Wednesday to move to the front of the eight-athlete field.
Nwokey, who finished fifth here last season, opened the 2011 competition by winning the 100-meter hurdles in 13.86 to garner 998 points. She followed that with 855 points in the high jump, where she cleared 5-7 to tie Beckford-Stewart and Georgia's Lucie Ondraschkova.
After placing seventh in the shot put with a throw of 31-6 3/4 that generated 505 points, the Wildcat multi-eventer bounced back to close the day with a triumph in the 200 meters in 24.51 to generate 932 points.
Final day multi-event action begins Thursday at 2 p.m. with the 110m hurdles for the men and at 3 p.m. with the long jump for the women. The women's open hammer throw also is slated for 7 p.m., when Tennessee's Jessie Harrison and Laquoya Kelly are expected to compete. Admission to the meet is free.
For live results, live video (Friday/Saturday), a time schedule and other meet information, please go to www.tenntrack.com and click on the Sea Ray Relays tab. Big Orange fans also may follow their team's exploits on Twitter @Vol_Track and @LadyVol_Track.