Vols shine in Sea Ray Relays

Tennessee upped its overall meet win total to seven with three relay wins Saturday to close out the 37th Sea Ray Relays at Tom Black Track. Led by two dominant relay wins from the distance corps and a stirring comeback in the shuttle hurdle relay, the Vols tripled the relay title haul of any other team.

For the first time in a while, no men's meet records fell by the wayside.

Tennessee hurdler Jabari Greer and unattached pole vaulter Tim Mack won Tony Wilson Awards for track and field, respectively, given to the most outstanding Sea Ray Relays performers in each event area. Greer won the 110m hurdles Friday in a lifetime-best 13.67 time, the second-fastest by a collegian and third-fastest by an American this year entering this weekend's meets.

He also made up a 10-meter deficit to lead Tennessee to the shuttle hurdle relay title in 55.17, the second-fastest collegiate time this season. Mack, a former Vol NCAA champion, cleared 18-8.75 to win the invitational pole vault and meet the ÎAâ standard for the World Championships. His clearance also stands as the second-highest this year by an American entering this weekend's meets.

''We had a good day here to close Sea Rays, especially our distance guys,'' head coach Bill Webb said. ''Sometimes guys like Kenny Schappert tend to shine when you put a baton in their hand. Unfortunately, Rocky (Danners) cramped and couldn't get the stick around in the 4x100m relay. That was a disappointment for the fans and his teammates. Iâd have to count up all the lifetime and season bests, but there were many. We keep making progress in some areas. It was a good meet for Tennessee, and I look forward to two weeks of training before the Penn Relays.''

Both of Tennessee's distance relay winners were blowouts. In the 4x1,500m relay, UT won the race by about 65 meters and 11 seconds. Rob Cloutier led off for the Vols, mounting a strong move on the last lap to open up a 25-meter advantage at the handoff to Tim Kelly. Kelly handed off to Cordis Stanfield with the Vols a stride or two behind the leaders. Stanfield held his own and kept with the lead pack. On the anchor, Farragut native Eric Bell roared to the front and kept opening the gap the remainder of his leg to secure Tennessee's first 4x1,500m relay win at Sea Rays since 1991.

Tennessee took its third consecutive Sea Ray 4x800m relay title in 7:28.04 on the able running of Joakim Daun, Kenny Schappert, Marc Sylvester and Frank Francois. Daun and Schappert kept the Vols in the mix until Sylvester took the stick. Making amends for getting boxed in the 800m run Friday night, Sylvester raced out to a 20-meter lead at the final handoff to anchor Frank Francois. Francois turned it on from the outset and increased the lead to the winning margin of about 30 meters and five seconds.

Karl Jennings, Stephen Harris, Robert Boulware and Jabari Greer took the shuttle/hurdle relay in 55.17, the Vols' season-best time and second-fastest collegiate time of the season. With Tennessee down about 10 meters to hurdle power South Carolina, Greer exploded from the blocks on the anchor leg. The dual-sport star from Jackson steadily ate away the Gamecock advantage over the 110-meter length of the race. The final results revealed Greer had nipped the Gamecocks by six-hundredths of a second.

''I felt like I was given a gift and had to go out and do it,'' Greer said. ''Our preparation allowed us to go out and capture the title. Iâm glad we did it as a team. We didnât want to settle for second.''

In the field, captain Stephen Harris took second with a wind-aided 24-9.25 long jump, oddly one of the few wind-aided marks of the week despite often ugly weather. Junior Leigh Smith cranked out five-feet of improvement on his season-best javelin mark with a fourth-place, 223-7 effort, also a regional qualifier. Also, late Friday night, Josh Whisman improved his lifetime best mark in the hammer throw once again with an eighth-place, 188-5 regional qualifier.


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