June 26, 2010
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Current Tennessee standouts Ellen Wortham, Evander Wells and Kyle Stevenson advanced in their events, and some former Big Orange athletes also fared well on Saturday at the USA Track & Field Championships.
Wortham, a sophomore from Maryville, rolled to a career-best time of 56.83 seconds to move on to the USA Senior finals in the 400-meter hurdles. A year after finishing fifth at the USA Junior meet, she placed third in heat one and posted the No. 7 mark of the qualifiers to earn a shot at a U.S. Senior title. Wortham's mark, a sizeable improvement over her previous best of 57.55 at the NCAA East Preliminary Round on May 28, moved her to No. 3 on UT's all-time performers list in that event.
A pair of Vol seniors and a former UT standout advanced out of the first round of the 200 meters and into the semifinals. Wells looked exceptionally sharp, finishing second in heat two and locking in the second-best mark of the qualifiers at 20.67. Former Vol Rubin Williams and Well's classmate, Stevenson, also moved along, with Williams finishing third in heat two and 12th overall in 21.06 and Stevenson winning heat three and qualifying 13th in 21.12.
Three-time Olympian Tom Pappas looked to be in good shape for his sixth USA Outdoor decathlon title after nine events, but the 10th and final step toward that goal tripped him up and forced him to settle for second place. The former Vol wound up with 8,101 points, finishing behind Jake Arnold of Asics (8,215) after struggling to 11th place in the 1500 meters in 5:12.01. Until that point, Pappas had consistently nabbed third in the 110m hurdles (14.43), third in the discus throw (159-6), second in the pole vault (16-0.75/4.90m) and second in the javelin throw (195-8/59.64m).
Another former UT standout, Chris Helwick, entered the day in ninth place, but any hope of moving back into contention quickly evaporated when he did not finish Saturday's first event, the 110m hurdles. After that setback, Helwick withdrew from the competition. He is entered in the javelin throw on Sunday.
A former Lady Vol, Sarah Bowman, was in competition in the women's 1500m run final. After running near the back of the pack, avoiding a tumbling runner at one point and getting hemmed in along the rail late in the race, Bowman wound up fifth in 4:16.50.
In the final event Saturday involving those with UT ties, two former Big Orange hurdlers moved on to the semifinals. Drew Brunson placed fifth in heat two in 13.78, but his mark was 12th fastest and good enough to advance. Aries Merritt had the 18th fastest mark at 13.95 into the teeth of a -3.3 headwind. He automatically advanced as one of the top three in his heat, though, placing third in heat four.
Tianna Madison had qualified to compete in the long jump, but she did not compete after placing third in the 100 on Friday.
Other final day USA Senior Championship competitors include Lady Vol Phoebe Wright in the 800 meters, Vol Desmond Brown in the long jump and former Vol Anthony Famiglietti in the 3000m steeplechase.
The remaining television schedule is as follows: ESPN will broadcast on Sunday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. ET, while NBC's telecast will be from 3 to 4 p.m.
For a live results link for USA Championships, please go to: http://www.usatf.org/events/2010/USAOutdoorTFChampionships/schedule.asp. For live video, please go to: http://www.usatf.org/events/2010/USAOutdoorTFChampionships/video.asp.
Women's 1500m Final: 5. Sarah Bowman, 4:16.50
Women's 400m Hurdles Semifinals: Adv. (7th) Ellen Wortham, 56.83m!, 3rd, ht. 1
Men's Decathlon Final: 2. Tom Pappas, 8,101 pts. (Day Two: 3,867 pts; 110mH: 3rd/14.43/w: 4.4/920; DT: 3rd/159-6/48.63m/842; PV: 2nd/16-0.75/4.90m/880; JT: 2nd/195-8/59.64m/732; 1500m: 11th/5:12.01/493; DNF - Chris Helwick (110mH: DNF) First day: 1. Tom Pappas, 4,234 pts. (100m: 4th/11.00/w: 3.3/861; LJ: 4th/23-10/7.26m/w: 2.9/876; SP: 1st/55-5.25/16.87m/905; HJ: 1st/6-8.75/2.05m/850; 400m: 10th/51.60/742); 9. Chris Helwick, 3,906 pts. (100m: 7th/11.13/w: 1.5/832; LJ: 6th/23-6.25/7.17m/w: 2.7/8.54; SP: 7th/43-9/13.33m/687; HJ: 8th/6-5/1.96m/767; 400m: 7th/51.06/766)