March 11, 2009
Three members of the Tennessee men's track and field team will compete Friday and Saturday at the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas. Sophomore Michael Ayers, junior Evander Wells and senior Nick Panezich will represent Tennessee in four events during the two-day meet.
"We have a small number of athletes competing, but it's an elite group," Tennessee head coach Bill Webb said. "We've had NCAA meets in the past where we took only a few athletes and did well. We hope to do so this weekend, and I know our guys will compete hard."
Ayers will compete in his second NCAA meet after finishing 12th in the decathlon and earning All-America honors outdoors last season. He earned his trip to College Station with an automatic-qualifying total of 5,717 points en route to winning the heptathlon at the SEC Championships on Feb. 27-28. He enters the meet with the fifth-best heptathlon performance in the nation this season.
Wells is making his fifth trip to an NCAA championship event and hopes to add to his six career All-America certificates with berths in both the 60m and 200m races. He posted an automatic-qualifying time of 6.61 in the 60m at the Virginia Tech last chance meet last weekend and a provisional-qualifying time of 20.90 in the 200m at the Kentucky Invitational on Jan. 17. He enters the meet with the 11th-fastest 60m time and the eighth-fastest 200m time in the country this season.
Panezich will make his first appearance at an NCAA Championship event after posting an indoor-school-record shot put mark of 19.23m (63-1.25) at the Virginia Tech Challenge on Feb. 21. Panezich's throw was a provisional qualifier and ranks fifth in the nation entering the NCAA meet.
Competition for UT athletes begins Friday at 1 p.m. ET with the heptathlon 60m dash. Live results are available at UTsports.com.