Tennessee’s track and field squad wrapped up the Virginia Tech Challenge Saturday with highlights in the 60 meters and 60 hurdles as the SEC indoor championships draw ever nearer.
Racing the straight-away at Rector Field House in Blacksburg, Va., sophomore Matthieu Pritchett struck gold in the 60 final with a winning time of 6.85 in his last pre-SEC outing. Pritchett clocked second-place times of 6.81 and 6.80 in Friday’s preliminaries and semifinal, respectively. Though he qualified for the 60 final with the fastest semifinal time, coaches decided to hold Rubin Williams out of the final with the SEC meet on the horizon.
Shaking off a tough finish in Friday’s semifinal, Saturday saw sophomore Drew Brunson finish second in the 60 hurdles final in 7.92, just two-hundredths of a second off his lifetime-best effort from December.
“Pritchett won the 60 final,” Tennessee track coash Bill Webb said. “Brunson came back and ran well in the 60 hurdles final. Richard Wooten had two big lifetime bests this weekend in the throws. We decided not to run Rubin [Williams] in the 60 final. We didn’t want him to do too much the week before the conference meet. We got some things done even though we limited [Saturday’s] participation by design.
The Volunteers also made headway in the field events. After setting the freshman school record in the weight throw Friday, Richard Wooten led the Tennesseans in the shot put Saturday with a lifetime-best mark of 54-10 3/4 to finish sixth and add more than a foot to his previous best. Freshman Nick Panezich finished ninth with a 52-8 shot put measurement. Ell Ash followed in 10th with a 52-5 1/2 effort in the shot put. Heptathlete Alex Dobranowski placed 12th with a 46-10 1/4 distance. Jangy Addy took 13th after heaving the shot a season-best 46-8 in training for the SEC heptathlon.
Five Vols also contested the long jump, as Eric Pierce led his comrades in orange with a fifth-place, season-best mark of 23-6 1/4. Heptathlete Chris Helwick earned seventh with a lifetime-best 23-6 mark down the sand pit. Addy added to his season-best shot put effort with a lifetime-best long jump mark of 23-5 1/2 to secure eighth. Akeem Hardnett finished 16th with a 22-2 1/4 mark in the long jump. Carjay Lyles wrapped up the Vols’ effort in the long jump with a 26th-place, 21-0 1/2 measurement.