April 25, 2003
PHILADELPHIA -- Tennessee's distance corps posted a strong opening night Thursday to open the 109th Penn Relays at fabled Franklin Field. Every Vol who finished his race either registered a provisional or regional qualifier or lifetime-best time.
"I think we had a very good night," assistant head coach (distance) George Watts said. "Counting Ed Davis' first 10,000m run, we had four lifetime bests and a season-best for Tim Kelly. It's nice to see these guys continue to improve from race to race and year to year. I told the entire group after cross country season that they were all going to run faster than they've ever run. It appears they're doing that."
Patrick Gildea and Eric Bell continued their streak of seemingly setting a personal record every time they step on the track. Both Vols easily met the NCAA regional qualifying mark of 14:25.00. Gildea finished seventh in 14:03.38, a full 17 seconds faster than he had ever run the event. Gildea opened fast and stood third with about six laps elapsed. The last 800m Gildea gave up a spot or two, but still crossed in another solid effort. Bell finished 21st in 14:18.20, five ticks faster than his previous lifetime best. Bell had a little left in the tank as he passed a couple of runners down the stretch.
"I can't complain," Gildea said. "I had my parents here to watch. I went out a little too hard. I should have been a little more conservative. But I raced it as hard as I could, and you can never complain about a PR."
Scott DeFilippis finished fifth in 29:38 (DeFilippis' automatic time was left off results list) to notch a provisional qualifier and shave 27 seconds off his lifetime best time. DeFilippis moved to fourth at about the 3,500m mark, setting the pace for the second pack just behind the leading trio. However, he gave up a few spots before making another push with a few laps left. Running in his first 10,000m run, Ed Davis finished in a respectable 30:59.58 to finish 25th and set his PR. Running with teammate Matthew Lapp through the first two miles, Davis made his move about the 10-minute mark. He faded a bit in the end, but that's to be expected running his first grueling 10,000m run, the longest distance contested in the NCAA. Meanwhile, Lapp reaggravated a leg injury and had to pull out of the race about the 5,000m mark.
Tim Kelly posted a season-best time of 9:08.88, a 16-second improvement, to take 15th in the steeplechase. Kelly easily met the regional qualifying standard of 9:12.00.
The Volunteers continue the Penn Relays Friday. Additionally, a group of Vols compete late Friday night in Louisville's Cardinal Open.