June 22, 2003
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- The good news out of the Tennessee camp Saturday revolved around the decathlon, where former Vol Tom Pappas and senior Stephen Harris landed in first and fourth after the first five events at the USA Outdoor Championships in Palo Alto, Calif. Pappas' first-day score of 4,691 stands as the second-best ever by an American, as only the legendary Dan O'Brien tops him.
Pappas won three of the five events--long jump, shot put and high jump--while finishing second and third in the 100m dash and 400m dash, respectively. Pappas' winners in the long jump at 26-1.5 and high jump at 7-1.5 were worth plentiful points.
Meanwhile, after bringing home the NCAA decathlon title just last week, senior captain Stephen Harris showed no signs of dead legs. Harris needs a good second day, but put himself in contention to earn one of the top-three spots and a spot in the World Championships with his fourth-place, 4,233-point, first-day effort. Harris was particularly impressive with a second-place finish in the high jump, clearing 7-0.25 despite the pounding his body has taken in the last nine days. Harris stayed in the hunt with a fourth-place finish in the 400m dash (48.26) and fifth-place finishes in the 100m dash (10.96) and long jump (24-1.5).
However, former Vol Chad Smith had a tough first day. Smith stands 14th with 3,795 points. His highlight came with a fifth-place, 46-10.75 mark in the shot put.
In something of a surprise, former Vol Anthony Famiglietti ran nearly four seconds slower in his steeplechase final to clock in at 8:34.90 in fifth to miss the World Championships cut.
Junior Leigh Smith improved his NCAA distance with a 228-6 heave in the javelin. Smith's 14th-place throw came on his second of three attempts.
Former Vol Justin Gatlin's 60m indoor championship will be his only world
title in 2003. After a tough return from injury in the 100m dash preliminary
Thursday, Gatlin scratched from the 200m dash prelim Saturday.
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.
Pappas, Harris and Smith wrap up the decathlon Sunday. Additionally, former Vols Tim Mack and Lawrence Johnson take to the pole vault runway Sunday to conclude the USA Outdoors.
The USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships will air live from 4-5:30 p.m. on ESPN2 Sunday.