May 27, 2009
The Tennessee men's track and field team travels to Louisville, Ky., for the NCAA Mideast Regional on Friday and Saturday. Fifteen Vols have qualified in individual events and three more athletes will make the trip to run on relay units.
"The goal is for these guys to try and earn a spot in the NCAA Championships," Tennessee head coach Bill Webb said. "This is meet is as competitive if not more competitive than the conference meet, but we have a different focus. This weekend is about individual performances."
Among Tennessee's 15 individual competitors are four athletes who have qualified in multiple events. Joseph Morris will run the 100m and 200m as well as the 4x100m relay, while Nick Panezich will compete in the shot put, hammer throw and discus. Kyle Stevenson will run the 100m and compete on the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. Evander Wells will compete in both sprint races and on the 4x100m relay.
The Vols will also enter four pole vault specialists into competition including three-time SEC champion and defending Mideast Region champion Joseph Berry along with a pair of SEC scorers in Michael Ayers and Brad Holtz. Michael Seaman rounds out the group competing in his first regional competition.
Tennessee also enters two of the top 800m runners in the region in Joseph Franklin and Emerson Peacock. Franklin was the runner-up at the SEC Championships at 1:48.39, yet Peacock has the faster qualifying time at 1:48.34.
Other individuals who earned a regional berth this season include Akeem Hardnett in the triple jump, John Hewitt in the 400m hurdles, Charlton Rolle in the 110m hurdles, Brenard Wilson in the high jump and Richard Wooten in the hammer throw.
The top five finishers in individual events and the top three finishers in each relay will earn automatic spots at the NCAA Championships on June 10-13. Any athlete finishing in the top 12 in an event will be included in a national selection pool with the chance to earn an at-large berth.
Action for the Vols begins at 1 p.m. ET on Friday with the high jump. Live results will be available on UTsports.com throughout the meet.