Tennessee finished ninth with 19 points, the best Vol NCAA Indoor finish since 1995, to conclude the NCAA Indoor Championships Saturday night at Arkansas' Randal Tyson Track Center.
The Tennesseans showed tremendous courage in the 60M dash as Justin Gatlin, a freshman who finished fourth in 6.71 in his first NCAA meet, and Leonard Scott, who raced and placed sixth in 6.78 nine hours after being discharged from the hospital with a kidney stone on his left side, authored the final chapter of the Vol 2001 NCAA Indoor Championships story. The two surpassed last year's Vol NCAA Indoor team total of 13th-place and 14 points by themselves.
Gatlin finished as Tennessee's high scorer with 10 points from fourth-place finishes in the 60M dash and 200M dash. Scott followed closely with nine total points (third, 200M dash, six pts.; sixth, 60M dash, three pts.) despite his overnight stay in the hospital. Excepting Scott, a junior, and Gatlin, a true freshman, five of the remaining six 60M dash finalists were seniors. Scott and Gatlin entered the meet with the No. 1 and 4 times in the NCAA, 6.48 and 6.61, respectively.
Justin and Leonard did a good job for us today after a long night and day, head coach Bill Webb said. Justin did very well with two fourth-place finishes as a freshman.
Scott stayed overnight in the hospital (admitted 3:30 a.m. and released 11 a.m.) and was diagnosed with kidney stones. He was Gatlin's roommate so neither one of them got any sleep. That's just an astronomical chance with Scott never having any kidney stone trouble before until the night before his 60M finals. That's not what one normally does the night before the finals of the NCAAs.
There was no doubt that it had an effect on him, he added.
Gatlin said he was pleased with his weekend, despite the distractions.
I'm very content about my placing because I'm a freshman, Gatlin said. I've got three more years. I wasn't really as focused as I should have been. My hamstring was hurting me a little bit. We had a tough meet, but we pulled it off and became All- Americas.
It was just crazy, Scott said. Last night, after I ran the 200M prelims, I knew something wasn't right. After the 200M finals, it was hurting really bad, but I could deal with it. In bed, it was the worst pain I've ever felt. I went to the hospital and got rested up enough to go today in the 60M. Then my (starting) block slipped on me. It just wasn't meant to be today. It just wasn't my weekend. I know that I gave it my all. My confidence is still up for outdoor season.
The SEC retained the national championship, but this time it was a different face. LSU broke Arkansas' NCAA Indoor stranglehold with 34 points. TCU took second by one point. All TCU needed to win the meet was to finish seventh in the 4x400M relay, the final event. However, TCU dropped the baton and had to settle for 12th and runner- up honors overall. Arkansas placed an unfamiliar third with 32 points. Six of the top 10 teams hailed from the SEC.