June 21, 2003
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Friday proved to be no orange-letter day for those with allegiances to the Volunteer State at the USA Outdoor Championships in Palo Alto, Calif., as a pair of 800m runners and 110m hurdlers with Tennessee ties bowed out of qualifying.
After advancing from the preliminary, sophomore Marc Sylvester and former Vol Jebreh Harris ended their USA meet in the 800m run semifinals at Stanford's Cobb Track. In the 110m hurdles, Jabari Greer's fantastic second season of collegiate track came to a disappointing close, joining former Vol Dawane Wallace in a nonqualifying effort following the preliminaries of his signature event.
Tennessee lost its presence in the 800m run semifinals as Sylvester and Harris missed out on advancing to finals. Sylvester's 1:49.37, about a second slower than Thursday's prelim time, stood as the sixth-fastest time in his second heat and 12th-fastest overall. The nonqualifying effort caps the SEC champion Sylvester's sophomore season.
Harris, a member of the 2001 NCAA Outdoor Championship team now running for Holyfield International, finished the 800 semifinal in 1:50.07, last in heat two and 14th overall. The time is not quite a second slower than his prelim time. Testament to the unpredictable nature of track and field, Reebok Boston 's Lubert Lewis, the owner of Thursday's fastest prelim time, also missed the cut for the finals. This time around Texas Tech's Jonathon Johnson's 1:47.56 led the 800m run semifinals.
Meanwhile, Tennessee didn't fare too well in the 110m hurdles preliminary.
Running in the second heat, Greer took fifth in the heat and 24th overall with
a 13.94. While the 110m hurdles second heat was the only section to run into
a measurable headwind, Greer's 13.94 still comes up quite a bit slower than
his smoking career-best time of 13.32 to win the SEC Championships. With his
second collegiate track season in the books, Greer trades his track spikes for
football cleats as his focus returns to Tennessee's defensive backfield.
Former Vol Dawane Wallace, who stands fourth -- two spots below Greer -- on Tennessee's all-time top-10 list in the 110m hurdles, did not start. Nike's Larry Wade posted the fastest prelim time in the 110m hurdles with his solid 13.28 effort.
On the bright side, former Vol Anthony Famiglietti left no doubt about his qualifying status in the steeplechase. In action from late Thursday, Famiglietti, now running for adidas, qualified as expected. Famiglietti clocked in at 8:31.03, good enough for an easy qualifier at second in his heat and fourth overall. While he posted the day's fourth-fastest qualifier, Famiglietti resides within about half a second of the day's leading qualifier, an 8:30.62 by adidas' Robert Gary, nearly a dead heat in the 3,000m steeplechase.
Meanwhile, former Vol Kevin Fitzpatrick's 192-0 fling in the discus placed 10th. The throw came on Fitzpatrick's second effort as he fouled his first and third heaves.
Besides the title of America's best, the track and field athletes competing in Palo Alto hope to represent the U.S. in the World Championships in August in Paris, in one of the last big international tune-ups before the 2004 Summer Olympics. The top three American finishers in each event who also meet the IAAF's 'A' qualifying standard don the red, white and blue for the U.S. on the World Championships team.
Saturday packs a full plate of action for the Tennessee contingent. Stephen Harris and former Vols Tom Pappas and Chad Smith begin the decathlon. The grueling two-day affair should be tough on Harris, who will be competing in his second decathlon in nine days. Meanwhile, junior SEC champion Leigh Smith represents Tennessee in the javelin. Famiglietti lines up for the steeplechase final with his eye on one of the top three spots and the magical 8:24.60 IAAF 'A' qualifying standard. After a tough 100m preliminary, Justin Gatlin tries on the 200m dash for size in the preliminary of that event.
The USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships presented by Verizon will be broadcast live from 4-6 p.m. Eastern Time Saturday, June 21, on NBC. The meet will air live from 4-5:30 p.m. on ESPN2 on Sunday. Also on Saturday, the NCAA Outdoor Championships, held last weekend in Sacramento, will be broadcast from 3-5 p.m. Eastern on CBS.