May 30, 2009
Louisville, Ky. - The Tennessee men's track and field team added another automatic qualifier for the national championships Saturday at the NCAA Mideast Regional in hurdler Charlton Rolle. The team finished 12th among 42 scoring teams with 21 points.
"Charlton ran a solid race from start to finish and Akeem had a huge personal best in the triple jump," Tennessee head coach Bill Webb said. "Both of those guys really came on strong this weekend. I also thought that our guys who were ranked high enough to get at-large bids did a nice job of battling to make sure they were eligible. We will wait for the field to be selected and then get our guys ready for the NCAA meet."
The weekend's results leave Tennessee with three athletes who have guaranteed berths in the NCAA Championships on June 10-13 in Fayetteville, Ark., and five with the chance to earn at-large bids.
Rolle clocked a season-best time of 13.77 to finish third overall in the sprint hurdles. It will be the sophomore's second NCAA appearance after also making the trip to nationals as a freshman last season.
Along with Rolle, Nick Panezich qualified with his third-place finish in the shot put on Friday, and Michael Ayers' top decathlon score of 7,480 from the Sea Ray Relays ranks high enough on the NCAA list to assure him a spot.
The five Vols who have a chance to join the automatic qualifiers in Fayetteville despite not finishing in the top five in regional competition are Emerson Peacock, Joseph Franklin, Joseph Berry, Akeem Hardnett and Evander Wells. All five own season-best marks that rank among the best in the nation.
Peacock and Franklin finished sixth and eighth, respectively, in the 800m with times of 1:51.94 and 1:54.39. The two entered regional weekend with the ninth and 11th fastest times in the country and are likely to be selected for NCAA spots when at-large berths are handed out on June 2.
Joseph Berry finished ninth in the pole vault at 5.06m (16-7.25) on Saturday but held the 10th-best overall mark in the nation entering regional weekend at 5.38m (17-7.75).
Hardnett earned a sixth-place finish in the triple jump with a lifetime-best jump of 15.95m (52-4). That mark could rank as high as 15th in the nation after regional meets conclude, which will give him a chance to be selected for the NCAA Championships as well. His previous career best mark was 15.69m (51-5.75).
Evander Wells is in a similar situation in the 100m, owning the 13th fastest time in the nation entering regional weekend at 10.26 but finishing ninth on Friday at 10.52.
Several Vols missed out on qualifying opportunities Saturday. The 4x100m group of Joseph Morris, Wells, Kyle Stevenson and Nathan Grace saw their season end after clocking a time of 39.90 and finishing seventh.
The 4x400m relay of Alan Bachman, Grace, Samdi Fraser and Stevenson finished ninth in a season-best time of 3:08.34, but will not be eligible for the NCAA Championships despite an improvement on their previous best by 1.03 seconds.
Tennessee's three other pole vault specialists also did not finish high enough to enter the NCAA Championships selection pool. Ayers and Brad Holtz cleared the same height as Berry, but tied for 13th based on total number of misses. Michael Seaman finished 16th at 4.91m (16-1.25).
In the hammer throw, both Richard Wooten and Panezich placed outside the top 12 and will not be eligible for selection into the NCAA Championships. Wooten finished 17th with a top throw of 57.92m (190-0) and Panezich placed 19th at 56.60m (185-8). Panezich did not find a better fate in the discus, placing 23rd with a toss of 48.89m (160-5).
|800 Meter Run|
|110 Meter Hurdles|
|1.||Barrett Nugent||LSU||13.66 2.0|
|3.||Charlton Rolle||Tennessee||13.77 2.0|
|4x100 Meter Relay|
|4x400 Meter Relay|
|1.||Eric Sparks||Purdue||5.36m 17-07.00|
|9.||Joe Berry||Tennessee||5.06m 16-07.25|
|13.||Michael Ayers||Tennessee||5.06m 16-07.25|
|13.||Brad Holtz||Tennessee||5.06m 16-07.25|
|16.||Michael Seamon||Tennessee||4.91m 16-01.25|
|1.||Nkosinza Balumbu||Arkansas||16.35m 2.5 53-07.75|
|6.||Akeem Hardnett||Tennessee||15.95m 3.5 52-04.00|
|1.||Rashaud Scott||Kentucky||65.90mR 216-02|
|23.||Nick Panezich||Tennessee||48.89m 160-05|
|1.||Walter Henning||LSU||70.56m 231-06|
|17.||Richard Wooten||Tennessee||57.92m 190-00|
|19.||Nick Panezich||Tennessee||56.60m 185-08|