May 16, 2009
Gainesville, Fla. - Tennessee sophomore Joseph Berry won his third-consecutive SEC Championship in the pole vault to highlight day three of the SEC Championships at Pearcy Beard Track. Berry cleared a season-best height of 5.38m (17-7.75), edging South Carolina's Elliot Haynie, who last cleared the bar at 5.33m (17-5.75).
"We knew the competition coming in was going to be the best it's ever been," Berry said. "That was probably one of my best experiences in a long time. I was able to clear bars on my first attempt and jump with the lead for the entire competition."
The win was the eighth-consecutive conference title for a UT pole vaulter dating to the 2006 season, when volunteer assistant Russ Johnson took over coaching duties. Two of Johnson's other students also scored points for the team in the event. Brad Holtz finished fourth with a top clearance of 5.15m (16-10.75), which makes him the fourth UT vaulter to qualify for NCAA regional competition. Michael Ayers finished tied for seventh at 5.05m (16-6.75). The three Vols combined to score 16.5 points for the team.
With nine of 21 events scored, Tennessee sits in fifth place with 35 points. Arkansas leads through three days with 53 points.
"It was a mixed day for us," Tennessee head coach Bill Webb said. "Obviously, Joe Berry is tough as nails. He was able to put pressure on the competition from start to finish today. Brenard Wilson did well in the high jump, and I think Nick Panezich felt like he could have done a little better in the shot put. We got two more guys qualified, but missed out on some other opportunities as well."
From the five other finals on Saturday, Tennessee managed 7.5 points. Nick Panezich placed sixth in the shot put with a top throw of 17.49m (57-4.75). Brenard Wilson tied for fourth place in the high jump with a clearance of 2.05m (6-8.75).
Wilson was unable to register a legal leap in the long jump, scratching on all three of his attempts, and Nathaniel Couture placed 18th in the javelin throw with a top mark of 54.12m (177-7). In the lone running event final, Chris Rapp placed 12th in the steeplechase at 9:49.86.
In running event prelims, two more Vols earned spots in Sunday finals. Axel Mostrag posted a season-best time of 3:48.47 to grab the 10th of 12 qualifying spots in the 1,500m, while Charlton Rolle snagged the last of nine available finals berths in the 110m hurdles with a 14.14 clocking.
Tennessee could not get a runner across the line fast enough to earn a qualifying spot in both the 100m and 400m prelims. Evander Wells placed 12th in the 100m prelims at 10.43, and Samdi Fraser, competing in his first race of the season, was the top UT finisher in the 400m with a 17th-place finish at 47.80.
Including qualifiers from Friday, Tennessee will have six athletes in running event finals on Sunday along with two athletes in field event finals and two relay units. Action begins at 3 p.m. ET with Akeem Hardnett in the triple jump.
|100 Meter Dash - Prelims|
|1.||Holliday, Trindon||Lsu||R 10.11Q|
|12.||Wells, Evander||Tennessee||R 10.43|
|400 Meter Dash - Prelims|
|1.||Mullings, Dwight||Mississippi St.||45.59Q|
|1500 Meter Run - Prelims|
|3000 Meter Steeplechase|
|110 Meter Hurdles - Prelims|
|1.||Richardson, Jason||South Carolina||13.69Q|
|1.||Hill, Chris||Georgia||79.65m 261-04|
|18.||Couture, Nathaniel||Tennessee||54.12m 177-07|
|1.||Cook, Jason||South Carolina||19.32m 63-04.75|
|6.||Panezich, Nick||Tennessee||17.49m 57-04.75|
|12.||Wooten, Richard||Tennessee||16.25m 53-03.75|
|1.||Bailey, Alain||Arkansas||7.84m 1.0 25-08.75|
|1.||Bailey, Alain||Arkansas||2.17mR 7-01.50|
|4.||Wilson, Brenard||Tennessee||2.05m 6-08.75|
|1.||Berry, Joseph||Tennessee||5.38m 17-07.75|
|4.||Holtz, Brad||Tennessee||5.15m 16-10.75|
|7.||Ayers, Michael||Tennessee||5.05m 16-06.75|
|11.||Seaman, Michael||Tennessee||4.90m 16-00.75|