Three Tennesseans Meet Regional Standard to Close Soggy Jesse Owens Classic

May 3, 2003


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Tennessee's track and field Volunteers dripped and shivered their way through the final day of the 18th Jesse Owens Classic Saturday night as conditions prevented breakout marks. With a few of the frontline Volunteers being held out for precautionary reasons, Marc Sylvester (800m run), Jonathan Wade (100m dash) and Robert Boulware (110m hurdles) still met the regional qualifying standard, although they had all gone faster earlier this season. Thanks to the rain, wind and cold, no one from any team approached the greatness of the meet's namesake, but the Vols met a key objective by getting a scouting report on the facility before the Mideast Regional later this month.

One of the all-time great U.S. track and field athletes, Owens set three world records (long jump-26-8.25, 220 yd. dash-20.3 and 220 yd. low hurdles-22.6) and tied a fourth (100 yd. dash-9.4) all in just 70 minutes on May 25 at the Western Conference (now Big Ten) Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich., in a performance the world will probably never see again. In the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, Owens won four gold medals to throttle Hitler's propaganda Games. Owens won gold in the 100m dash, 200m dash, long jump and 4x100m relay in a display of American strength several years before Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Patton offered Hitler their own version.

In the two-lapper, Tennessee's Marc Sylvester got nipped at the tape with a regional-qualifying 1:49.56 after leading almost the entire race. Sylvester, a Cleveland, Ohio native, had never lost an 800m race (all high school races) in Ohio. He very nearly extended the streak to college but took runner-up honors, only .02 of a second behind Michigan's Nick Willis. Vol Frank Francois took 11th in 1:52.36. Kenny Schappert posted his second lifetime best in the 800m run in as many days with his 14th-place, 1:53.37 time, .02 of a second faster than his Friday night effort.



Tennessee's Jonathan Wade finished third in the 100m dash with a 10.49 time, not a season best but a respectable regional qualifier considering the conditions. Likewise, high hurdler Robert Boulware took third in the 110m hurdles with a regional-qualifying 14.20w. Boulware ran his lifetime best of 14.09 last week at the Penn Relays, but Saturday's wind-aided 14.20w stands as a good effort in spite of the weather.

While he didn't meet the regional standard, Rob Cloutier sliced more than six seconds off his previous season best in the 1,500m run with his 3:52.88 to place 11th and make progress on a tough night.

In the 200m dash, Sean Lambert took fifth in 21.45w. Dwayne Bell Jr. finished seventh in the 400m dash running in lane one. Bell clocked in at 48.28. Josh Whisman took 12th in the shot with a 49-11.75 measurement in the shot put.

However, the weather forced Tennessee's coaches to wisely lighten the Vols' slate of competition. With the conditions nasty and the SEC Championships just a couple of weeks away, Tennessee's coaching staff opted to scratch the 4x400m relay, pole vault, long jump, discus, Gary Kikaya (400m dash), Jabari Greer (110m hurdles), Karl Jennings (110m and 400m hurdles) and Stephen Harris (high jump and long jump) in addition to other decathletes.

Tennessee sharpens its focus for the SEC Championships May 15-18 in Knoxville. The Volunteers, winners of the last two SEC Outdoor meets, will find repeating harder than ever as the conference remains stacked.



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