April 15, 2006

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Tennessee's Rubin Williams and Aries Merritt were selected as the co-winners of the Tony Wilson Award for the best overall track performance on the final day of the 40th Sea Ray Relays Saturday at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium. Williams won the 200 meters, finished second in the 100 and ran the anchor leg for the Vols' winning 4x100 relay team. Merritt won the 110 hurdles, ran the anchor leg for Tennessee's win in the shuttle hurdle relay and ran the third leg of the 4x100 relay team.

"Today Rubin was one of the stars," head coach Bill Webb said. "He ran one of the fastest times in the country in the 200 and he qualified for regionals in two individual events. Aries led the shuttle hurdle relay today and contributed greatly to the 4x100 relay team's effort. Richard Wooten getting into the finals of the open hammer throw was big today, as was Eric Pierce (long jump) and Michael Hogue (pole vault) earning regional qualifiers. Overall, we are moving in the direction we want to be to get ready for the conference meet.

Williams won his first 200 of the season by three-hundredths of a second, finishing with a regional-qualifying time of 20.56 seconds. Merritt and Williams ran the final two legs of the 4x100, finishing the oval along with Akeem Hardnett and Matthieu Pritchett in a season-best and regional-qualifying time of 39.70. Based on times entering this weekend, the Vols moved up to sixth on this year's NCAA performance list. Sandwiched between Williams' two wins was a second-place finish in the 100. He ran a wind-aided and regional-qualifying time of 10.21w in the invitational section.

Running the anchor leg in the shuttle hurdle relay, Merritt followed his win Friday in the 110 hurdles by joining Drew Brunson, Carjay Lyles and Damond Campbell to win the race in a season-best time of 56.01.

Tennessee's shuttle hurdle relay team's victory marked the Vols' fourth consecutive and 22nd overall Sea Rays win in the event. The 4x100 relay team's win was the Vols' third straight and 10th overall Sea Rays victory in the event. For only the third time in the meet's history, Tony Wilson Award for track was shared. In 1982 David Patrick and Michael Miller of Tennessee both took home the prize, and in 1986 Sam Graddy and Jeff Powell from Tennessee tied for the award.

Mohsen Anani from Virginia Tech claimed the Tony Wilson Award for field events. He won the invitational section of the hammer Friday night with a throw of 231 feet, 5 inches to rank second on this year's NCAA performance list.

Pritchett also qualified for regionals in the 100, finishing fifth in the invitational section with a wind-aided time of 10.38w. The Vols' 4x400 relay team of Carjay Lyles, Williams, Merritt and Yarrick Kincaid finished 12th at the end of a long, hot day full of running. The 4x800 relay team of Jeff Day, Kenny Schappert, Tyler DeVault and Kincaid saw Tennessee's five-year win streak at the Sea Ray Relays come to an end, finishing fourth in 7:32.18.

Zach Sabatino's third-place finish in the steeplechase led the Vols' distance competitors on Saturday. He finished the race behind the 2004 NCAA champion Jordan Desilets and the 2005 Sea Ray champion Corey Nowitzki in a regional-qualifying time of 8:58.06. Ben Lukowski ran 15:07.00 to finish ninth in the invitational section of the 5,000. Matt Piccarello clocked 15:09.18 to finish 11th and Matthew Lapp crossed the line 19th in 15:51.27. The distance medley relay team of Dusty Miller, Campbell, Brent Smith and Chris Platt finished sixth with a time of 10:06.98.

Eric Pierce gained a regional qualifier in the long jump, finishing sixth with a slightly wind-aided leap of 24-5 1/2w. Michael Hogue cleared 16-6 3/4 to place seventh in the invitational section of the pole vault, which included gold medalist, Olympic-record holder and former Tennessee Vol Tim Mack. Richard Wooten finished ninth in the open section of the hammer throw Saturday morning with a personal-best throw of 181-8. Tim Nguyen and Nick Panezich finished 23rd and 29th, respectively.

Saturday continued the trend of unseasonably hot weather this week in Knoxville, with temperatures climbing into the mid-80s and wind gusting between 10 and 15 mph. Saturday marked the third straight day that a high of 80 or more was recorded in Knoxville. Wednesday's decathlon events were contested with a high of 76.

Late Friday night, Jim Sexton finished sixth in the invitational section of the hammer throw with a measurement of 204-0, tying his personal-best mark set at the 2005 SEC outdoor championships.

Tennessee finished the weekend with 19 performances qualified for post season competition. Seventeen individuals, along with the 4x100 relay team, have qualified for the Mideast regional meet. Chris Helwick earned an NCAA automatic-qualifying score in the decathlon and Zach Sabatino has an NCAA provisional-qualifying time in the 10,000, two events not contested at the regional meets. The 2006 Mideast regional meet will be held May 26-27 at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium.

Sea Ray Relays, Knoxville, Tenn.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
100 (invitational section)
1. Johnie Drake, C. Mich. 10.14w*
2. Rubin Williams, Tenn. 10.21w*
5. Matthieu Pritchett, Tenn. 10.38w*
200 (invitational section)
1. Rubin Williams, Tenn. 20.56*
Mile (master's section)
1. Randy Ashley, Unatt. 4:44.46
Steeplechase (invitational section)
1. Jordan Desilets, Reebok 8:49.49*
3. Zach Sabatino, Tenn. 8:58.06*
5,000 (invitational section)
1. Dan Mazzocco, Penn St. 14:49.58
9. Ben Lukowski, Tenn. 15:07.00
11. Matt Piccarello, Tenn. 15:09.18
19. Matthew Lapp, Tenn. 15:51.27
1. Tennessee 39.70*SB
(Akeem Hardnett, Matthieu Pritchett, Aries Merritt, Rubin Williams)
Shuttle hurdle relay
1. Tennessee 56.01 SB
(Drew Brunson, Carjay Lyles, Damond Campbell, Aries Merritt)
4x400 relay
1. Kentucky 3:05.93*
12. Tennessee 3:12.48
(Carjay Lyles, Rubin Williams, Aries Merritt, Yarrick Kincaid)
4x800 relay
1. Penn State 7:25.47
4. Tennessee 7:32.18
(Jeff Day, Kenny Schappert, Tyler DeVault, Yarrick Kincaid)
Distance medley relay
1. Kent State 9:56.76
6. Tennessee 10:06.98
(Dusty Miller, Damond Campbell, Brent Smith, Chris Platt)
High jump (invitational section)
1. Tone Belt, Louisville 7-3 3/4*
Pole vault (invitational section)
1. Brian Mondschein, Va. Tech 17-8 1/2*
7. Michael Hogue, Tenn. 16-6 3/4*SB
Long jump
1. Greig Cryer, S.C. 25-4w*
6. Eric Pierce, Tenn. 24-5 1/2w*
Shot put (invitational section)
1. Jeff Chakouian, Unatt. 63-10 1/4*
-- Richard Wooten, Tenn. FOUL
Hammer (open section)
1. Jeremiah Spence, Radford 192-1*
9. Richard Wooten, Tenn. 181-8 PR
23. Tim Nguyen, Tenn. 165-8
29. Nick Panezich, Tenn. 160-2
Javelin (open section)
1. Colin Dama, Unatt. 212-2*
-- Anthony Immediate, Tenn. FOUL
Javelin (invitational section)
1. Tony Bonura, Pittsburg 235-1*
Sea Ray Relays, Knoxville, Tenn.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Hammer (invitational section)
1. Mohsen Anani, Va. Tech 231-5*
6. Jim Sexton, Tenn. 204-0*PR
PR-personal record/career best time; SB-season-best mark; w-wind-aided mark; *-NCAA regional qualifying mark





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