April 2, 2010
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The University of Tennessee men's and women's track & field teams made their presence felt on the first day of the Pepsi Florida Relays, both on the track and on the world and national top times lists, getting a couple of sparkling performances Friday at James G. Pressley Stadium at Percy Beard Track.
First, Vol senior Evander Wells zoomed to victory in the Invitational 200 meters, unleashing the fastest time in the world this season to defeat notables such as Tony McQuay, Derrick Adkins, Reggie Witherspoon, Renny Quow and Chris Lawson. He moved to the head of the class in NCAA Division I, as well, with a clocking of 20.47 seconds that benefited from a legal wind of 1.8 meters per second. It marked the first event win of the season for Wells, who triumphed despite running in heat two, which should have been the second-fastest section according to seed times. Classmate Kyle Stevenson grabbed ninth place with a wind-aided 20.88 readout.
Lady Vol senior Phoebe Wright, who already ranked No. 1 nationally in the 800 meters, produced 2010's No. 4 time among collegiate women in the 1500 meters on Friday, covering the distance in a career-best 4:18.29 to edge Georgia's Kristie Krueger (4:18.58). UT sophomore Brittany Sheffey was close behind in third with a personal best of 4:19.49 for the No. 7 mark in the NCAA this season.
The Lady Vols picked up three more top-10 finishes on day one. Senior Kimarra McDonald placed fifth in the 800m in 2:09.70, freshman Jessie Harrison was seventh in the hammer throw and moved to No. 5 on UT's all-time performers list with a career-best toss of 174-10, and sophomore Ellen Wortham placed ninth in the 400m hurdles with a PR of 58.47 that moved her to No. 7 on UT's all-time list.
There were four more top-10 efforts from the Vols. Freshman Leoule Degfae ended the distance carnival with a seventh-place and PR performance of 14:36.06 in the 5000m, junior Michael Spooner led a spree of four Vols charting PRs in the 3000m steeplechase, placing eighth in 9:17.10, Peter Sigilai grabbed eighth in the 800m at 1:49.52, and John Hewitt crossed the line 10th in the 400m hurdles in 52.15.
Tennessee returns to the track on Saturday for the final day of the Pepsi Florida Relays. Action begins at 11:30 a.m.
100mH: 42. Chardae Hancock, 15.00 (w: -1.2)
400m: 35. Martinique Octave, 56.60
800m: 5. Kimarra McDonald, 2:09.70
High Jump: t 18. Ellen Wortham, 5-5/1.65m
5000m: 7. Leoule Degfae, 14:36.06!
Hammer Throw: 20. Drew Thomas, 50.19m
Discus Throw: 14. Minor Bowens, 150-8/45.92m!
DNF - did not finish; DQ - disqualified; f - foul; fr - facility record; m - meters; mr - meet record; nwi - no wind index; p - prelims; sr - school record; ! - personal best