Tennessee's track and field squad picked up the intensity and was rewarded with improved times and marks Saturday at the 77th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.
True freshman Aries Merritt led the way by breaking the school freshman record in the 110m hurdles Saturday in Austin, completing the sweep crowning him the best freshman high hurdler - indoor and outdoor - in school history.
"The highlight of the day was Aries Merritt breaking a 24-year-old freshman record in the 110m hurdles," assistant coach George Watts said. "He's established himself early in his career, and he did it in a very competitive field. Another highlight was Leigh Smith bouncing back from a subpar effort last week to finish third with a season-best throw in the javelin.
"Jonathan Wade continues to improve and had a very nice weekend."
Merritt's fourth-place, second among collegians, 13.62 time in the 110m hurdles Olympic section statistically breaks Reggie Towns' 13.5 hand-timed Tennessee freshman record from 1980, five years before Merritt was born.
Based on the NCAA 110m hurdles leader lists entering this weekend, Antwon Hicks of Mississippi, who finished third in 13.52, and Merritt stand 1-2 nationally after the extremely fast race on the track at the Texas Relays.
In one of the most consistent two-day stretches of his two-year collegiate career, Wade closed his meet with a fourth-place, 10.38 time in the 100m dash finals. Wade's time stands as a regional qualifier and a season-best effort. Not to be outdone, Boulware finished fourth in the 110m hurdles finals with a 13.83w time, improving his regional qualifier.
Though the time was wind aided, the 13.83w stands as Boulware's lifetime best in all conditions.
Tennessee celebrates a staple of spring in the Smokies Wednesday through Saturday as the 38th annual Sea Ray Relays take over the home track. The coalescing field rates impressively as the finest to grace Tennessee's Tom Black Track this Olympic year. Admission is free.