Meet Notes (PDF)The 10th-ranked Tennessee men’s track and field team travels to Fayetteville, Ark., this weekend for the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships.
“Our purpose at this meet is to qualify athletes for the NCAA championships,” head coach Bill Webb said. “We aren’t focused on competing for a team score; we are focused on qualifying student athletes. With 18 individuals entered in the meet, we have a lot of opportunities to qualify. We would like to get as many as possible in the top five and get clean acceptance into nationals. We’ve done well at this meet in the past. I think it is the strongest region in the country in most events. In addition to the schools we see in the SEC, we pick up very good Big 10 schools and Missouri from the Big 12. It is a very good track meet.”
The top-five individual finishers, as well as the top-three finishing relay teams, from each region automatically advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. After the automatic qualifiers are removed, athletes that finished between sixth and 12th in individual events and between fourth and eighth in relay events are eligible for at-large selection to the national championship meet based off the national season-best performance list.
Tennessee’s 28 regionally-qualified marks rank second in the Mideast Region and 11th in the country. The 28 qualified marks ranks second in school history, tying the number earned in 2005 and 2003 and ranking behind the school-record 31 recorded last year.
The Vols have 10 qualifying marks in the sprints/hurdles group, which ranks as the second-most among participating schools at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships. Matthieu Pritchett, Evander Wells and Rubin Williams each are qualified in the 100 and 200. Williams enters the meet with the second-fastest time in the 200 and fourth-fastest clocking in the 100, while Wells ranks third in the 200 and sixth in the 100. Pritchett, Wells, Kyle Stevenson and Williams also make up Tennessee’s 4x100 relay team that enters with the second-fastest time in the nation, trailing only fellow Mideast Region participant LSU, after the Vols ran
38.82, the third-fastest time in school history, at the SEC Outdoor Championships.
Freshman Charlton Rolle has the fourth-fastest 110 hurdles time in the region, and sophomore De’Lon Isom enters sixth on the regional performance list. Team captain Jangy Addy also met the regional-qualifying standard in the 110 hurdles. Sophomore John Hewitt makes his first individual appearance at the regional meet in the 400 hurdles.
Tennessee’s four athletes qualified in the pole vault rank second behind Wisconsin’s six athletes qualified in the 1,500 for the most competitors qualified in a single event in the Mideast Region. Joseph Berry leads Tennessee’s vaulters with his personal-best 17-2 3/4 clearance that ranks fourth in the region. Berry was named SEC Freshman Field Athlete of the Year after becoming the first freshman to win the SEC pole vault title since 1997. Sophomore Brad Holtz makes his second appearance at the regional meet and enters the weekend ranked ninth in the Mideast Region with his personal-best effort of 16-10 3/4. Freshman Michael Ayers met the regional standard with a personal-best clearance of 16-6 3/4 while placing fifth at the SEC Outdoor Championships. Three-time All-America Michael Hogue vaulted over the bar at 16-6 3/4 at the Yellow Jacket Invitational to earn his fourth career regional invite.
Tennessee’s 4x400 relay team of Samdi Fraser, Stevenson Williams and Wells ranks fifth in the region with its season-best time of 3:06.51 from the conference championship meet. 2007 All-America Yarrick Kincaid enters the regional ranked ninth in the 800, and fellow senior Andrew Dawson is ranked sixth in the 1,500 with his converted time of 3:42.31 from his 4:00.51 run in the mile. Kincaid has finished third at the last two regional competitions, while Dawson makes his regional debut in the 1,500 after finishing eighth in the 800 last year.
All-America Matthew Maloney enters the regional with the third-best javelin throw in the region this season. Junior Nick Panezich is the first UT athlete to regionally qualify in three different individual events, a feat he accomplished for the second straight year. He is entered in the shot put, discus and hammer throw and ranks ninth in the region in the discus. Fellow junior Richard Wooten is entered in the hammer throw, and Addy joins Panezich in the shot put.
Junior Akeem Hardnett is ninth on the regional performance list after his personal-best effort of 51-5 3/4 in the triple jump placed him second at the conference championship meet and moved him to ninth on Tennessee’s all-time performance list in the event. Sophomore Brenard Wilson makes his regional debut this weekend in the long jump after reaching the regional standard at the SEC Outdoor Championships with his personal-best leap of 24-1 3/4.
The NCAA Mideast Regional Championships kicks off Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern Time with the shot put. The 4x100 relay is the first event on the track Friday, with a scheduled start time of 4:15 p.m. Saturday’s events begin at noon with the hammer throw and continue through the 4x400 relay at 9:20 p.m. Live results can be found throughout the weekend at UTsports.com.