Rubin Williams ran to a third-place finish in the 200 meters Saturday at the NCAA outdoor championships in Sacramento, Calif. The Vols ranked ninth in the nation coming into the meet, scored 32 points during the four-day meet and finished sixth.
“We really hit on all cylinders this meet,” coach Bill Webb said. “Rubin was terrific in this meet. He powered out well in the 200. He almost finished second coming out of the eighth lane, and he did a great job. We had an outstanding meet. I’m very proud of our guys, and they look forward to taking a little break. Some of our guys will be in the USA championships.”
Williams ran the 200 final in a personal-best time of 20.49 seconds, lowering his best of 20.51 he ran during the semifinals Friday. His time ranks sixth on Tennessee’s all-time list in the event. The sophomore from San Jose, Calif., earned his seventh career All-America certificate and finished just one-hundredth of a second behind the second-place finisher.
Aries Merritt headlined the meet for the Vols by winning the 110 hurdles in a personal-best time of 13.21 and earning his seventh All-America honor Friday. His time broke the NCAA meet record of 13.22 previously held by Greg Foster of UCLA and lowered his school-record time of 13.22 from the SEC outdoor championships. The junior from Marietta, Ga., finished his collegiate season undefeated in every 55, 60 and 110 hurdles race he finished.
Co-captain Chris Helwick scored the first points of the meet for the Vols, finishing second in the decathlon with a score of 7,772 points Thursday. The junior from Greeley, Colo., followed his second-place finish in the heptathlon at the NCAA indoor championships and earned his fifth All-America certificate.
The Vols’ 4x100 relay team recorded the fourth-fastest time in Tennessee history Friday and finished second in 38.86. The quartet of Matthieu Pritchett, Jonathan Wade, Merritt and Williams improved on their time of 39.20 during the semifinals Wednesday. Pritchett earned his first All-America honor, while Wade picked up his fifth All-America certificate.
Williams and Merritt are automatically qualified for the USA championships June 22-25 in Indianapolis, Ind. Zach Sabatino and Drew Brunson are also possible entries for the Vols in that meet.
On the women’s side, Tennessee's Patricia Hall grabbed fourth place in the 400-meter dash Saturday and also anchored UT's 4x400-meter relay to fourth. Those efforts helped the Lady Volunteers finish with 15 points and place 18th in the final team standings.
"Overall, we gave it the best we could," Lady Vols coach J.J. Clark said. "We had some disappointments, but we also had some gut-wrenching, hard-fought points. We fought very diligently, and I believe we have some tools to be in the mix next year."
Hall, running in her first NCAA Outdoor 400m final, came through with a career-best time of 51.45 seconds to grab fourth-place honors and collect five points after taking third during the indoor campaign.
Hall closed out the meet and her Lady Vol career by anchoring the Tennessee women to fourth place in the 4x400m relay. The collection of sophomores LaTonya Loche and Courtney Champion, junior Leslie Treherne and Hall covered the distance in a season-best three minutes, 29.00 seconds, a mark that ranks number four all-time at UT. Hall, from St. Ann, Jamaica, winds up her UT career as an eight-time All-American.
Sophomore Cleo Tyson charted an eighth-place finish, doing so in the 100-meter dash. The runner-up a year ago at this meet, the product of Huntsville, Texas, this season produced a time of 11.62 that generated another point for Tennessee. With her performances this weekend in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, Tyson is now an 11-time All-American during her two-year collegiate career.
Also collecting All-America distinction at the meet were relay contributors Champion and Loche. For their work in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays, Champion and Loche now possess eight and seven A-A honors, respectively.