UT Makes Sea Ray Relays Debut

April 14, 2011


By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The meet's first three champions were crowned Thursday, and Tennessee sent its initial athletes into action on day two of the 45th-annual Sea Ray Relays at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium.

In the only competition of the evening session, the home team got a fifth-place finish from sophomore Jessie Harrison and a sixth-place effort from junior Laquoya Kelly in the women's hammer throw. Harrison produced a season-best mark of 176 feet, nine inches, while Kelly's mark of record was 170-5. Western Kentucky's Laura Igaune picked up the victory, unleashing a throw of 207-2 that ranks her sixth nationally.

Earlier in the day, Georgia collected victories in both the Scott Hartman men's decathlon and the women's heptathlon. Former Vol Michael Ayers became the first man in the history of the meet to finish first in the decathlon for two different schools. After winning it for the Big Orange in 2009 and transferring to UGA after long-time UT coach Bill Webb retired, Ayers triumphed in 2011 for the Bulldogs with a point total of 7,659. That mark elevated him to No. 5 in the NCAA this season.

Lucie Ondraschkova had a strong second day to catapult herself into first and notch another victory for Georgia, tallying 5,447 in the heptathlon. That effort ranks her No. 7 in the NCAA in 2011.

Ayers started slow, finishing ninth in the 110-meter hurdles in 15.39 seconds to net 803 points. He bounced back to take second in the discus throw (129-10/39.58m/656 pts.), first in the pole vault (15-9/4.80m/849 pts.) and third in the javelin throw (176-6/53.79m/645 pts.) before closing with a sixth-place effort in the 1500m run (4:52.89/601 pts.). Teammates Ben Davies (7,385) and Tommy Barrineau (7,363) finished second and third.

In the heptathlon, Ondraschkova moved from fourth place on Wednesday to the top of the heap Thursday, relegating day-one leader Precious Nwokey of Kentucky to second place with 5,309 points. The Bulldog multi-eventer did it by winning the competition's final three events.

She started with a win in the long jump (19-5.25/5.92m/825 pts.), followed it with a triumph in the javelin (116-8/35.56m/582 pts.) and closed the deal with a first-place effort in the 800m (2:14.43/901 pts.).

Day three action kicks off a 12:15 p.m. on Friday with the men's open discus, following by the first running event of the day, the women's open 3000m run at 12:35. Action will be streamed live at www.tenntrack.com.

Tennessee will have a whole host of athletes to watch on Friday. The highest ranked of the group includes Lady Vol Ellen Wortham, a Maryville native who ranks No. 6 in the world this season and is attempting to defend her 400m hurdles title at 4:25 p.m. Others to track include Lady Vols Chanelle Price (Inv. 800m), Brittany Sheffey (Inv. 1500m) and Liz Costello (5000m) and Vols Terry Benson (400mH) and Peter Sigilai, who leads several Vols in the Invitational 1500m run. Costello broke a 26-year-old UT 10,000m record just a couple of weeks ago.

A pair of UT freshmen also will be in action in the men's pole vault. Tyler Porter and Chase Brannon will take part in the open division on Friday, joining in the fray with a Sea Rays veteran named Paul Babits. In 1989 and 1990, Babits claimed the invitational title at this meet while competing for University of Chicago Track Club.

Among the former UT standouts on hand include two-time Olympian DeeDee Trotter (women's 200m/400m), Evander Wells (men's 100m/200m), Sarah Bowman (women's Inv. 1500m/5000m), Phoebe Wright (women's Inv. 1500m), Kyle Stevenson (men's 100m/200m), Celriece Law (women's 100mH) and Cleo Tyson (women's 100m). Hazel Clark, a three-time Olympian and sister of UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark, will compete in the women's Invitational 1500m, too.


Lady Volunteers

Hammer Throw: 5. Jessie Harrison, 176-9/53.88m; 6. Laquoya Kelly, 170-5/51.94m



! - personal record, DNF - did not finish, DQ - disqualified, F - foul, fr - facility record, FS - false start, h - heat, m - meters, mr - meet record, NM - no mark registered, NH - no height registered, p - preliminary round, sr - school record, w - wind-aided





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