Feb. 4, 2009
The Tennessee men's track and field team travels to New York, N.Y., to take part in the New Balance Collegiate Invitational held at The Armory Track and Field Center on Feb. 6-7.
A regular stop on the UT men's schedule since 2002, the New Balance Collegiate features one of the largest and most competitive fields of the collegiate indoor season. Among the noteworthy team entrants this season are No. 1 Arkansas, No. 3 Oregon, No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 6 Florida State, No. 7 Texas, No. 9 BYU, No. 10 LSU, No. 14 South Carolina and No. 20 Baylor.
"We want to compete with the best teams in the country, and this meet is certainly an opportunity to do that," Tennessee head coach Bill Webb said. "We like going to New York because it prepares us for the SEC and NCAA meets. It is a scored meet with qualifying for the finals in many events, which is exactly what we need to gauge where we are as a team with just three weeks left until the conference meet."
Tennessee has entered 21 athletes to compete in 15 different events. UT's sprint group returns to action after a week of rest led by juniors Evander Wells and Kyle Stevenson, both of whom own NCAA provisional qualifying marks in the 60m. Wells also has an NCAA provisional mark and the second-fastest 200m time in the NCAA this season at 20.90. Freshman Joseph Morris will run in both the 60m and 200m as well.
The Vols' trio of 800m runners is also scheduled to compete over the weekend. Sophomore Axel Mostrag and freshman Joe Franklin will run in the championship section while fellow freshman Emerson Peacock will run in the collegiate section. Franklin continues his quest for an NCAA berth as his current top time sits less than two seconds from the NCAA provisional threshold.
Four distance runners will make the trip as that group also looks to land a representative in the NCAA meet. Senior Steve Tobin, junior Mike Brodsky and sophomore Michael Spooner will run the mile, while sophomore Chris Rapp is slated to run in the championship section of the 5,000m.
In the jumps, five Vols will compete led by sophomore Joe Berry in the pole vault. Berry, the runner up at the 2008 SEC Indoor Championships, will be joined in the championship section by senior Brad Holtz and multi-event athlete Michael Ayers. Senior Akeem Hardnett is set to compete in the triple jump, and junior Brenard Wilson will enter the championship high jump and collegiate long jump competitions.
Tennessee's two veteran throwers will compete in both the weight throw and the shot put championships. Senior Nick Panezich will look to improve on his NCAA provisional mark of 17.82m (58-5.75) in the shot, while fellow senior Richard Wooten looks to get his name in the NCAA pool in both events.
The Vols' lone hurdler, sophomore Charlton Rolle, will have a chance to improve on his NCAA provisional time of 7.85 seconds in the 60m hurdles. The Vols also have a 4x400 relay team entered to compete in the championship section of that race.
The Tennessee men begin competition Friday afternoon and continue through the day Saturday.