Helwick Leads SEC Decathlon After Day One

May 12, 2005

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.-- Tennessee's Chris Helwick holds a slim lead following the first day of the decathlon Thursday at the Southeastern Conference outdoor championships at Vanderbilt Track in Nashville, Tenn. In addition to Helwick, Vols Chris Martland and Kevin Yeager stand in solid scoring position in fourth and sixth, respectively.

"Helwick had three lifetime bests and some excellent performances," head coach Bill Webb said. "He was right at his lifetime best in the high jump. He was solid all day long and competed. Chris Martland and Kevin Yeager were up and down, but, on the whole, they're off to a solid start. Two guys have already dropped out, so we're down to nine.

After trailing him the first four events, Helwick's 3,977 first-day score stands just seven points ahead of LSU's Alleyne Lett. Webb termed the first-day struggle between Helwick and Lett as "tight as bark on a tree." With three decathletes entered each, the decathlon showdown centered on LSU and Tennessee. With six of the remaining nine decathletes entered, how the Tigers and Vols split up decathlon points could be a deciding factor in the final standings. The top eight score in every event on a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale.

Helwick remained torrid for all five events, registering three lifetime bests and two season bests. Helwick placed sixth in the 100 to begin the meet with a lifetime-best 11.36-second clocking. Helwick finished third in the long jump by leaping a career-best 22 feet, 10 ½ inches down the sand pit. He took second in the shot put with a season-best 44-3 ¼ measurement. The pendulum began to swing Helwick's way in the high jump, the fourth event, which he won with a season-best 6-8 1/4 leap. Jumping alone at the last few heights, Helwick continued to coax the bar skyward and cut into the lead of LSU's Lett. Helwick churned to a 1.44-second improvement in his 400 to finally take the overall lead. Helwick finished second overall in the 400 and won his heat with a 49.22 time.



"I'm extremely satisfied with my first day," Helwick said. "Today I was expecting to do some things well, but I didn't know how well. I've been working on staying mentally focused and not really concentrating on the numbers.

Martland stands fourth with 3,842 points after five events. Martland also remained consistent after finishing fifth or better in all five events. He finished third in the 100 after clocking an 11.09. Martland took second in the long jump with a 22-11 mark. Martland finished fifth in the shot put with a 42-0 effort. He did fall short of his expectations in the high jump with a fifth-place (tie), 6-2 ¼ leap. However, the senior from Farragut, Tenn., bounced back to match his 400 career-best time of 49.62 to finish the day on a strong note.

Yeager, also a senior from Farragut, Tenn., ranks sixth with 3,665 points after the first day. Yeager took fourth in the 100 with an 11.26 time. He placed fifth in the long jump with a 21-10 ¼ leap. Yeager finished sixth in the shot put with a 41-7 ¾ heave. He tied for second with a 6-3 ½ season-best clearance in the high jump. Yeager finished his day with a seventh-place, 51.47 clocking in the 400.

Summer boldly introduced itself to the capital city of the Volunteer State Thursday with an 88-degree offering for the beginning of the decathlon before clouds and the approaching evening tempered the conditions. By the end of the first day, a small starting decathlon field of 11 had been whittled down to nine. If all nine remain in the field through the 10th event Friday, and that 's a large assumption, only one decathlete won't bring home points for his team.

Tennessee gets its first chance to light up the scoreboard Friday with finals in the decathlon, hammer and 10,000. Additionally, prelims in the 200, 800 and 400 hurdles are scheduled for Friday. Saturday and Sunday boast full schedules.

SEC Outdoor Championships, Nashville, Tenn.
Friday, May 12, 2005

Decathlon (after five events)
1.Chris Helwick, Tenn.3,977
4.Chris Martland, Tenn.3,842
6.Kevin Yeager, Tenn.3,665
Decathlon 100
1.Alleyne Lett, LSU10.82
3.Chris Martland, Tenn.11.09
4.Kevin Yeager, Tenn.11.26
6.Chris Helwick, Tenn.11.36 PR
Decathlon long jump
1.Alleyne Lett, LSU23-11
2.Chris Martland, Tenn.22-11
3.Chris Helwick, Tenn.22-10 ½ PR
5.Kevin Yeager, Tenn.21-10 1/4
Decathlon shot put
1.Alleyne Lett, LSU47-11 ¾
2.Chris Helwick, Tenn.44-3 ¼ SB
5.Chris Martland, Tenn.42-0
6.Kevin Yeager, Tenn.41-7
Decathlon high jump
1.Chris Helwick, Tenn.6-8 ¼ SB
2t.Kevin Yeager, Tenn.6-3 ½ SB
5t.Chris Martland, Tenn.6-2 1/4
Decathlon 400
1.Keith Baker, Ala.49.10
2.Chris Helwick, Tenn.49.22 PR
4.Chris Martland, Tenn.49.62 PR
7.Kevin Yeager, Tenn.51.47

SB-season-best mark, PR-personal record/career-best mark, *-NCAA regional qualifier.



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