“This meet is at a great facility and takes place during a good time of the year,” head coach Bill Webb said. “We get to take our whole team to a meet with good competition. Most of our guys are in invitational sections against schools that specialize in certain events. I’m looking forward to this meet at one of the premier facilities in the nation. There will be top-ranked individuals in each event and different people than we are used to facing.”
Tennessee’s three returning indoor All-Americas are scheduled to compete together for the first time this season as Rubin Williams joins fellow All-America honorees Michael Hogue and Evander Wells. Williams makes his 2008 debut by lining up beside Wells in the 60- and 200-meter dashes. Hogue and freshman Joseph Berry are entered in the pole vault.
Distance specialists Matt Piccarello and Michael Spooner make their indoor season debuts this weekend by competing in the 3,000. They are joined in the event by senior Chris Platt and junior Andrew Press. Junior Denton Jones is the only Vol entered in the 5,000. Senior Andrew Dawson and freshman Axel Mostrag are running in their specialty event, the 800, for the first time this season and are joined by sophomore Justin Hansen. Fellow 800 men Paul Cross and Yarrick Kincaid step out of their specialty for the 1,000 and mile, respectively.
Senior Jangy Addy leads Tennessee’s multi-event athletes in the only heptathlon of the regular season. Last year’s SEC heptathlon champion is joined by freshman Michael Ayers and junior Brad Holtz, a converted pole vaulter, both attempting the first heptathlons of their collegiate careers.
Senior Matthieu Pritchett also is expected to run the 60-200 double with Wells and Williams, and the trio is joined by sophomore Kyle Stevenson in the 200. Sophomores Samdi Fraser, Nathan Grace and John Hewitt make up Tennessee’s representation in the 400. Fellow sophomore De’Lon Isom leads a trio of Vols in the 60 hurdles. In addition to Isom, Senior Kris Fant and freshman Charlton Rolle are entered in the 60 hurdles after both athletes recorded personal-best times in the event last weekend at the Big Ten-SEC Challenge. Rolle also is entered in the long jump.
Juniors Nick Panezich and Richard Wooten represent the Vols in the throwing events, with both athletes slated to contest the shot put and weight throw. Panezich moved to 10th on Tennessee’s all-time performance list in the weight throw and recorded an indoor personal-best measurement in the shot put last weekend, while Wooten recorded a season-best weight throw mark. Sophomore Brenard Wilson makes his second appearance this season in the high jump, as does junior Akeem Hardnett in the triple jump.
Tennessee is returning to the Nittany Lions’ campus for the second time in Webb’s 14-year tenure after competing at this same meet in 2005. The Penn State National Invitational begins with the long jump and pole vault Friday at 5:45 p.m. Eastern Time and concludes Saturday at 5:55 p.m. with the 4x400 relay. Live results will be available throughout the weekend at UTsports.com.