Former Vols Excel in Professional Ranks

Tom Pappas

The University of Tennessee has continued its strong track tradition in the professional ranks during the 2007 season.

Former Vols Gary Kikaya, Aries Merritt and Leonard Scott are ranked in the IAAF top-100 overall rankings. Kikaya is 14th, while Merritt is 27th and Scott currently ranks 53rd.

Kikaya will represent his home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan, later this month. He will compete in the 400, where he is ranked third in the world entering the meet. Kikaya has won four of his six races this season and finished third in the 400 at the 2004 Indoor World Championships.

Scott, the reigning world champion in the 60, travels to Osaka later this month as a member of Team USA???s 4x100 relay team. The former dual-sport star who won three national championships during his time at UT is ranked fifth in the world in the 100 this year.

Tom Pappas also will carry the Big Orange flag to the World Championships. The two-time world champion won his fifth USA championship in the decathlon and second in a row earlier this season at the USA Outdoor Championships. He currently has the sixth-best decathlon score in the world.

Merritt, who owns both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships meet records, boasts the fourth-fastest time in the world and third-fastest American time this year in the 110 hurdles. Merritt earned a one-carat diamond for breaking the Olympic Stadium record in Stockholm, Sweden, on Aug. 7. His time of 13.09 was a personal-best clocking in the event and lowered the stadium record of 13.12 set by Colin Jackson of Great Britain in 1999.

Distance specialist Anthony Famiglietti has the fastest American time in the 5,000 this year with his 13:11.93 clocking. He also has the sixth-fastest American time in the steeplechase and finished fourth in the event at this year???s USA Outdoor Championships. Pole vaulter Tim Mack also finished fourth at the national championship meet. The reigning Olympic champion and Olympic record holder has the sixth-best mark in the world and second-best clearance by an American this season.

Jebreh Harris, a volunteer coach for the Vols, owns the sixth-fastest American time in the 800 this season. He recorded that time, a personal-best clocking of 1:45.92, in Heusden, Belgium, on July 28. Harris won two races in Belgium earlier in July, taking top honors in Oordegem on July 7 and in Kortrijk on July 13.

Leigh Smith has the second-best javelin throw by an American this season. He earned his season-best toss of 253-5 while winning the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., in April.

Chris Helwick, Tennessee???s team captain for the past two seasons, competes as a collegian one final time this weekend at the Thorpe Cup in Stuttgart, Germany. The Greeley, Colo., native won seven All-America certificates during his time at Tennessee. He is the school record-holder in the heptathlon and currently ranks ninth on UT???s all-time performance list in the decathlon.

This year???s Thorpe Cup, which was named in honor of 1912 Olympic decathlon champion Jim Thorpe, is the 14th in a series of international team decathlon competitions between the U.S. and Germany. The U.S. currently holds a 10-3 lead in the Thorpe Cup and a 12-3 lead overall in international competitions vs. Germany.

The 11th IAAF Outdoor World Championships will be contested Aug. 25-Sept. 2 in Osaka, Japan.





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