Feb. 18, 2009
The Tennessee men's track and field team makes its second trip of the season to Virginia Tech's Rector Field House for the Virginia Tech Challenge on Friday and Saturday. The meet is the Vols' final competition before the Southeastern Conference Championships on Feb. 28-March 1.
Twenty-three athletes are entered to compete in 13 different events against a field of 18 teams. Participating schools include Coastal Carolina, Duke, George Mason, NC State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, VMI, Wake Forest, Winthrop and William & Mary.
"We typically treat this weekend as a tune-up for the conference meet and enter only the athletes that feel like they need one more competition to prepare," head coach Bill Webb said. "We've had two weeks off since our last competition, so we're taking a larger group than normal this year. Virginia Tech is a regular stop for our team during the indoor season, so the guys are in an environment where they can do well."
Tennessee's sprint unit will be represented by Kyle Stevenson in the 60m and Alan Bachman, Deaundra Dailey, Nathan Grace, John Hewitt and Varick Tucker in the 400m. Stevenson's season-best time of 6.73 in the 60m is the seventh-best time in the conference thus far this season. Among the 400m runners, Fraser holds the top time on the team at 47.72.
A group of three Vols will use the middle-distance events as an opportunity to train. Axel Mostrag will run the 600m; Emerson Peacock will run the 600m and 800m; and Steve Tobin will run the 800m and the 1,000m.
Five athletes will also compete in the distance races: Stuart Chandler, Joe Franklin, Justin Hansen, Chris Kane and Chris Rapp. Franklin owns the sixth-fastest 800m time in the SEC this season at 1:50.24.
The lone Tennessee event group to be fully represented is the throwers. Nick Panezich and Richard Wooten will both compete in the shot put and the weight throw while Matthew Maloney will participate only in the weight throw. Panezich currently holds the fourth-best shot put mark in the SEC at 18.63m (61-1.5), while Wooten has posted marks in both events that rank among the top 10 in the conference.
In the pole vault, Joe Berry and Brad Holtz will both make final preparations for the upcoming conference meet. Berry was the runner-up in the event last season and Holtz holds the top mark in the conference this season at 5.30m (17-4.5).
Multi-event athletes Michael Ayers and Matthew Best will compete in several events as they prepare for the SEC heptathlon. Ayers' best score of 5,590 points ranks atop the conference entering the weekend.
Live results will be available at www.utsports.com throughout the meet.