The Vols are taking 33 athletes on this spring-break swing through Arizona, including the five athletes that traveled to the NCAA Indoor Championships last weekend and returned home with a fifth-place finish. Team captains Jangy Addy, Michael Hogue and Matthieu Pritchett, as well as All-Americas Rubin Williams and Evander Wells, are expected to use this weekend to rest. Williams won his first individual national championship and broke Tennessee’s school record, previously held by Justin Gatlin, with a 20.36 run in the 200. Addy, Hogue and Wells also earned All-America honors last weekend.
The outdoor season sees the addition of the discus, javelin and hammer throwing events, as well as the 100 dash and 110 hurdles taking the place of the 60 and 60 hurdles, which are contested indoors. All-America Matthew Maloney, who finished ninth in the javelin at last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships, looks to take advantage of his specialty now added to the event schedule. Junior Nick Panezich became the first athlete in school history to regionally qualify in three different individual events last season. Panezich and fellow junior Richard Wooten, who ranks fifth on UT’s all-time performance list in the hammer throw, join Maloney to round out Tennessee’s throwing contingent.
Yarrick Kincaid leads the Vol middle-distance crew after earning All-America status in the 800 last season. Fellow senior Andrew Dawson recorded a team-leading time of 1:48.95 in the event indoors to narrowly clip Kincaid’s 1:48.97 clocking. Each runner was within four-hundredths of a second of the 1:48.93 time that made the final cut into the NCAA Indoor Championships. Freshman Axel Mostrag also earned an NCAA provisional-qualifying mark in the 800 during the indoor season and finished sixth in the event at the conference meet. Senior Paul Cross and sophomore Justin Hansen round out Tennessee’s middle-distance runners for the weekend.
Sophomore All-America Kyle Stevenson headlines the sprint group. The Memphis native teamed up with Pritchett, Wells and Williams to record the fourth-fastest 4x100 relay time in school history at last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships. Sophomore De’Lon Isom finished sixth in the 60 hurdles at the SEC Indoor Championships with a personal-best time of 7.86 that ranks seventh on Tennessee’s all-time performance list in the event. Seniors Blake Jones and Kris Fant, along with sophomores Samdi Fraser, Nathan Grace and John Hewitt and freshman Charlton Rolle, also are expected to handle Tennessee’s sprint duties.
Freshmen Joseph Berry and Michael Ayers open their first collegiate outdoor season following top-three finishes at the SEC Indoor Championships. Berry claimed silver in the pole vault, while Ayers earned bronze in the heptathlon. Ayers and fellow decathlete Brad Holtz are entered in multiple events, while junior Akeem Hardnett and sophomores Jonathan Fluellen and Brenard Wilson wrap up Tennessee’s field event competitors.
Seniors Matt Piccarello and Chris Platt headline Tennessee’s distance contingent. Piccarello just missed scoring in the 5,000 at the conference indoor meet, and Platt anchored UT’s distance medley relay to a fourth-place finish. Junior Andrew Press competes on an outdoor track for the first time as a Vol after transferring from William & Mary and earning All-Region and All-SEC cross country honors in the fall. Freshman Michael Spooner earned Freshman All-SEC honors and joined Press as one of the four Vols that scored in every race during the cross country season. Freshman Mike Brodsky ran to a personal-best time and fourth-place finish in the mile at the Virginia Tech Last Chance in his final race of the indoor season. Freshman Chris Rapp, who scored for the cross country Vols at the Greater Louisville Classic, races outdoors for the first time as a Vol.
The Baldy Castillo Invitational features the hammer throw Friday night, with all other events taking place Saturday. Field events kick off at noon Pacific time with the discus and action on the track begins at 5:30 p.m. with the 110 hurdles.