Tennessee's seventh-ranked track and field squad concluded the Meyo Invitational Saturday in South Bend, Ind., with wins by Justin Gatlin in the 60m hurdles and Rocky Danners in the pole vault and a bevy of career-best performances.
Our distances looked really strong this weekend, head coach Bill Webb said. It was also nice getting Rocky back in the pole vault. We are also sure that we can have a very good mile relay after today's performance.
Freshman Gatlin showcased his talent in the 60m hurdles by posting a career-best provisional time of 7.86 to win the event. Gatlin also ran only the preliminaries of the 60m dash and posted the fastest time (6.74). By design, Gatlin did not run the finals of the 60m dash.
In his rookie campaign, Gatlin now has an automatic qualifying time for the NCAA Indoors in the 60m dash (6.61) and provisional times in the 200m dash (20.92) and 60m hurdles (7.86).
Danners led the way with his 17-2 3/4 clearance in winning the pole vault, a NCAA provisional mark and indoor personal best. With his indoor PR pole vault on Saturday, Danners appears to have returned to old form after suffering a hamstring injury earlier in the season.
Tennessee's mile relay team of Sean Lambert, Leonard Scott, Gatlin and Karl Jennings placed second in 3:13.97. However, the big news from the relay is that Scott and Gatlin ran speedy 47.4 and 47.6 legs, respectively, in their first relay attempt of the season.
Rondell Mershon posted his season-best triple jump (47-4 1/4) to take second. Tennessee took second, fourth and fifth in the 200m dash. Lambert led the way with a 21.78 to take second.
Additionally, senior Adrian Wheatley ran his fastest 800m run of the year with his fourth-place, 1:51.95 clocking, almost four seconds faster than his previous season best.
Tennessee also posted wins in the distance medley relay and long jump on Friday night.
The Volunteer distance medley relay team of Rob Cloutier, Dwayne Bell, Adrian Wheatley and Marcus Tanner clocked a 9:56.87 to earn top honors. The time of 9:56.87 is nearly a 14-second improvement from last weekend's DMR time at the ETSU Invitational.
Meanwhile, Camron Howard won the long jump with a 23-9 leap in his first action since his injury. Howard owns a NCAA provisional mark of 25-4 from earlier this season.
Steve Pitlik paced the Vols in the 35-pound weight throw with his fourth-place, 58-6 1/2 effort, improving his lifetime best by nearly two feet. Pitlik's throw is the best by a Volunteer this season.