June 25, 2011
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Two current Lady Vols advanced to finals, a former Vol punched his ticket to the IAAF World Championships and two other former UT standouts put themselves into position Friday to do the same at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
In the junior women's 800 meters, two Big Orange freshmen moved on, one conventionally and the other by winning an appeal. Kianna Ruff turned in a 2:09.78 readout in the first round to place third in heat one and fifth fastest overall to advance the old-fashioned way.
Teammate Brittney Jackson was in the same heat and suffered the same fate as her teammate, Chanelle Price, on Thursday night. While Price didn't win her appeal to advance after it appeared she was tripped from behind, Jackson did on Friday. Despite her 2:44.59 readout, she'll run in the final. Ty-Vonna Johnson's 2:19.01, 6th-place finish in heat three wasn't good enough to qualify.
In action involving a former Vol and a 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist, Justin Gatlin continued his impressive comeback from a four-year ban from the sport by posting a runner-up finish in the men's 100m dash final. His 9.95 effort left him just shy of a victory, as Walter Dix edged him in 9.94. The top-three finish means Gatlin has qualified to compete in the 2011 IAAF World Championships, which will be held in Daegu, South Korea, beginning Aug. 27. He'll try to make the U.S. team in the 200 as well, starting Saturday.
Former Lady Vols DeeDee Trotter and Phoebe Wright moved from the semifinals to the finals in the women's 400m and 800m, respectively. Trotter, like Gatlin a 2004 Olympic gold medalist, qualified for the money race by clocking in at 51.75 and placing third in heat two. Wright, meanwhile, came in second in heat two, covering her two-lap race in 2:02.00. Both are the sixth-fastest qualifiers at those distances.
In the men's 110m hurdles, former Vol Aries Merritt accomplished his objective, moving on to the semifinal round by winning heat 4 in 13.27. That mark was the fourth-fastest of the qualifiers and came with a 2.1 meters per second tailwind.
Ex-UT decathlon star Chris Helwick moved up the standings on the final day, but he wound up just shy of making the world team. He rose from 11th to a fourth-place finish for the 10-event competition, tallying 7,736 points. His best efforts on Friday included a runner-up showing in the javelin throw (205-8) and fourth-place outings in the discus throw (147-3) and the 1500m run (4:29.00).
Last year's eighth-place finisher in the women's 400m hurdles, UT junior Ellen Wortham saw her season come to a close. The Maryville product ended up seventh in heat one and 13th overall at 57.92.
Lady Vol freshman Linda Hadfield also was in action, competing in the junior women's pole vault. The rookie, though, was unable to clear a height.
Men's 100m Dash Final: 2. Justin Gatlin (Unattached), 9.95 (w: 1.3)
Men's Decathlon (Final): 4. Chris Helwick (Unattached), 7,736 pts. (100m: 13th, 11.42; LJ: 10th, 22-7/6.88m;
SP: 10th, 43-8.50/13.32m; HJ: 10th, 6-5/1.96m; 400m: 13th, 51.19; 110mH: 11th, 15.36; DT: 4th, 147-3/44.89m; PV: 6th, 15-11/4.85m; JT: 2nd, 205-8/62.70m; 1500m: 4th, 4:29.00)
Men's 100m Dash Semifinals: Adv.. Justin Gatlin (Unattached), 9.99pw (w: 2.6)/1st, ht. 2 (3rd)
Men's 110m Hurdles First Round: Adv. Aries Merritt (Reebok), 13.27pw (w: 2.1)/1st, ht. 4 (4th)
Men's Hammer Throw Final: 6. Garland Porter (Unattached), 235-3/71.70m
Men's 100m Dash First Round: Adv. Justin Gatlin (Unattached), 10.08p (w: 1.9)/1st, ht. 1 (6th); 24. Rubin Williams, 10.36p (w: 1.5)/4th, ht. 3
Men's Decathlon (Day 1): 11. Chris Helwick (Unattached), 3,769 pts. (100m: 13th, 11.42; LJ: 10th, 22-7/6.88m; SP: 10th, 43-8.50/13.32m; HJ: 10th, 6-5/1.96m; 400m: 13. 51.19)
Junior Women's 800m First Round: Adv. Kianna Ruff (Tennessee), 2:09.78p/3rd, ht. 1 (5th); Adv. on appeal due to fall - Brittney Jackson (Tennessee), 2:44.59p/7th, ht. 1 (22nd); 19. Ty-Vonna Johnson (Tennessee), 2:19.01p/6th, ht. 3
Women's 800m Semifinals: Adv. Phoebe Wright (Nike), 2:02.00p/2nd, ht. 2 (6th)
Women's 400m Semifinals: Adv. DeeDee Trotter (Saucony), 51.75p/3rd, ht. 2 (6th)
Women's 400m Hurdles Semifinals: 13. Ellen Wortham (Tennessee), 57.92p/7th, ht. 1
Junior Women's Pole Vault Final: NH - Linda Hadfield (Tennessee)
Women's 800m First Round: Adv. Phoebe Wright (Nike), 2:03.42p/1st, ht. 4 (1st); 22. Kimarra McDonald (Unattached), 2:06.36p/5th, ht. 1; 29. Chanelle Price (Tennessee), 2:36.05p/8th, ht. 2
Women's 400m First Round: Adv. DeeDee Trotter (Saucony), 51.87p/2nd, ht. 1 (5th)
Women's 1500m First Round: Adv. Jackie Areson (Unattached), 4:14.42p/6th, ht. 1 (11th); 22. Brittany Sheffey (Tennessee), 4:21.20p/12th, ht. 1
Women's 400m Hurdles First Round: Adv. Ellen Wortham (Tennessee), 57.79p/2nd, ht. 4 (13th)
! - personal record, DNF - did not finish, DQ - disqualified, - foul, fr - facility record, FS - false start, h - heat, m - meters, mr - meet record, NM - no mark registered, NH - no height registered, p - preliminary round, sr - school record, w - wind-aided