The Tennessee men’s track and field team won the team title Saturday with 147.5 points at the Disney World Invitational, held at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. The Vols used strong performances in the relays, along with two season-best performances and one personal best to finish on top of the field of 18 teams.
“Our highlights today were the shuttle hurdle relay and the 4x100,” coach Bill Webb said. “It was about 55 degrees and very windy, and the temperature dropped by the time we got to the 4x400. We had strong crosswinds in the pole vault. Eric Pierce qualifying for regionals was huge. I was glad to get the 4x100 qualifying out of the way as well. It was a good opening race for that team.”
Tennessee picked up two wins in the relay events to help propel itself to the top of the team standings. The 4x100 meter relay team of Drew Brunson, Matthieu Pritchett, Aries Merritt and Rubin Williams circled the track in 40.44 seconds to win the event and qualify for the Mideast Regional. The Vols’ shuttle hurdle relay squad of Jangy Addy, Brunson, Damond Campbell and Merritt also took first, but because of a timing malfunction the official time was not available.
The majority of the Tennessee athletes competed in field events Saturday. Pierce won the triple jump with a regional-qualifying, but wind-aided, jump of 50 feet, 8 3/4 inches. Michael Hogue led the Vols in the pole vault, finishing second with a jump of 16-0 3/4.
At the meet on Thursday, the Vols’ Jim Sexton won the hammer with a 200-11 measurement to improve his regional-qualifying mark set last weekend in Miami.
“We are always glad to compete and win a meet like this with such strong teams competing,” Webb added.
The Vols defeated SEC rivals Alabama and South Carolina, as well as national threats Georgia Tech and Ohio State, among others, to win the team title.
Men’s Tennis
The Tennessee men’s tennis team dropped its second straight SEC match Sunday, losing to Auburn 5-2 at the Luther Young Tennis Complex to fall to 8-6 and 2-4 in the SEC.
The Vols dropped the doubles point to start the match off in a hole. The Tigers won at No. 1 and 2 doubles to capture the point. Adam Hubble and Ben Rogers, ranked 24th in the most recent Fila Rankings, lost at No. 1 doubles to end their seven-match win streak.
In singles play the Tigers ran off three quick singles victories to capture the match.
Rogers gave Tennessee its first point of the match with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Milan Krnjetin at the No. 4 singles position. Rogers is now 5-5 in dual matches this season, and 7-9 overall.
Kiril Tcherveniachki won at No. 3 singles 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 over Nick Lane for Tennessee’s other singles victory.
Tennessee returns to the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center, where it is undefeated, next weekend when it faces Vanderbilt on Friday and Kentucky on Sunday.
Men’s Swimming
The Tennessee men’s swimming and diving team leave the NCAA championships with all 11 qualifiers earning All-America honors. The meet concluded Saturday with the Vols finishing 15th with 66 points. Auburn won the meet with 480.5 points.
“We are pleased with our sweet 16 finish after putting so much into our home SEC Championships meet last month to get all 11 guys into NCAAs,” UT coach John Trembley said. “Our team place of 15th shows improvement over last year.”
“The young guys helped the seniors go out in style,” Trembley said. “We will miss a great group of seniors. All four senior swimmers were at this championship meet, and have led these underclassmen well. The young guys are hungry, especially the freshmen, having seen some of the great swims of the national championships.”
The 400 free relay was the only event to score points for the Vols on the final day. The quartet led by Brad Boswell finished 12th in 2:57.70. Freshman Barry Murphy, sophomore Michael Wolfe and senior Tyler Gustafson followed Boswell.
“These young returning freshmen and sophomores will get to compete in the new Allan Jones Aquatic Center,” Trembley said. “We are excited to have future events like this NCAA meet on our home campus. We very much appreciate the support we have gotten, especially from Senior Associate Athletic Director Gary Wyant.”