April 8, 2010
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The University of Tennessee had its first competitors in action at the 44th-annual Sea Ray Relays Thursday night, and five Lady Vols combined for a pair of personal records and two season bests in the women's open hammer throw competition.
Competing in a field of 35 athletes on a chilly night at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium, sophomore Laquoya Kelly produced the Big Orange's highest finish, unloading a season-best toss of 169 feet, 11 inches to place ninth. Freshman Jessie Harrison was right behind her, taking 10th with a heave of 168-0. Harrison and Kelly rank seventh and ninth in the SEC this season. Dayton's Mallory Barnes was the victor at 187-5.
Another UT rookie, Aslynn Halvorson, charted a career best with a fling of 155-3, while sophomore Akeela Bravo had a 2010 topper of 154-1 and sophomore Taylor Rotella had a personal-record measurement of 141-8.
The Scott Hartman men's decathlon and women's heptathlon wrapped up on Thursday evening, delayed only slightly by two rounds of afternoon downpours from a cold front passing through the region. Former Vol All-American Chris Helwick, competing post-collegiately for Team Wick-Set, captured his third Sea Ray Relays decathlon crown, scoring 7,779 points to take the victory over day one leader Cory Holman of Georgia. Holman finished with 7,308 points, followed by former Vol Mike Ayers at 6,772. Helwick also won at this meet in 2006 and 2007 while representing the Big Orange.
Helwick took first in his final three events, the pole vault (15-9), javelin (202-1) and 1500m (4:34.05), to tip the balance his way. He also took second in the discus (137-1) and was third in the 110m hurdles (14.95).
Unattached competitor Tammilee Kerr produced 5,447 points to grab the heptathlon title. Her victorious heave of 153-4 in the javelin earned her 797 points and proved to be a big difference-maker. Day one leader Uhunoma Osazuwa of Syracuse finished second at 5,378, while Kettiany Clarke of South Carolina was third with 5,258.
Friday's slate at the Sea Ray Relays starts at 12:15 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m., while Saturday's final day, with the exception of the 8:45 a.m. men's hammer, runs from 12:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
UT senior Evander Wells, the current world leader in the men's 200m dash, is slated to compete in the 100m dash at 3:10 p.m. on Friday and the 200m at 5:35 p.m. His 100m dash race could pit him against former LSU star Xavier Carter and ex-UT great Rubin Williams.
NCAA and SEC Indoor 800m champion Phoebe Wright is slated to run the women's 1500m at 6:30 p.m. The Lady Vol senior currently ranks No. 2 in the NCAA outdoors in the 800m and is No. 4 in the 1500m.
The women's 400m also is worth noting, as former Lady Vol and Olympic gold medalist DeeDee Trotter is entered, as is five-time Olympic medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown, Olympic medalist Mary Wineberg and world-class sprinter Shereefa Lloyd. Trotter, Wineberg, Lloyd and UConn's Trisha-Ann Hawthorne could additionally make for an interesting 200m race.