March 3, 2010
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A trio of Tennessee track & field student-athletes will travel to Blacksburg, Va., this weekend to compete at the Virginia Tech Final Qualifier, looking for efforts that will earn them a spot in next week's NCAA Indoor Championship meet.
Vols expected to be in action on Saturday at Tech's Rector Field House are pole vaulters Joe Berry and Robert Rasnick, and long jumper Desmond Brown. Berry, a junior, and Rasnick, a sophomore, are tied for 41st nationally in the vault with season-best clearances of 17 feet, 3/4 of an inch. Brown, a sophomore, stands 25th on the NCAA list with a top leap of 25-0 in 2010.
"I typically don't send student-athletes to last chance meets unless there have been extenuating circumstances, but Russ Johnson, our men's vault coach, asked me if I would allow it," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "I made the decision to send our vaulters and Desmond to Virginia Tech.
"They're just trying to get a mark that will qualify them for the NCAA meet, and we're giving them that opportunity. Same thing with Desmond. He looks to be about a six-inch improvement from making the meet, and maybe he can get it done this weekend."
The NCAA Indoor Championships will be held at the Randall Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark., on March 12-13. Tennessee appears to be in good shape with six Lady Vols and one Vol listed high on the qualifying lists. On the women's side, automatic qualifiers include Phoebe Wright and Chanelle Price, who rank one-two in the 800 meters, Jackie Areson, who's third in the 5000m, and the distance medley relay, which stands third in the NCAA with Wright, Ellen Wortham, Brittany Sheffey and Areson handling the baton. Annie Alexander is eighth in the shot put and just shy of the auto standard, but she appears to be a lock. Vol Evander Wells stands 10th in the men's 60 meters and 12th in the 200 and appears to be in good shape as well.
The Virginia Tech Final Qualifier begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and is slated to conclude around 6:30 p.m. Eastern time. A link to live results will be available at www.utsports.com.