The Tennessee track and field team is set to play host as they welcome competition from across the country to Tom Black Track for the 41st annual Sea Ray Relays April 11-14. The Vols enter the meet ranked fifth in the country, and the Lady Vols are ranked 17th, according to the latest polls from Trackwire.
The Lady Vols are coming off a strong performance during the indoor season, after finishing third in the country at the NCAA indoor championships and winning the Southeastern Conference title. Although some of the Lady Vols distance runners will be competing in the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., this weekend, the majority of the Lady Vols’ talent will be on display for fans in Knoxville this weekend.
The men concluded the indoor season as the nation’s 10th best team and are expected to have a full team at the event.
The meet kicks off with the decathlon at 3:30 p.m., which will be split over Wednesday and Thursday. Team captain and five-time All-American Chris Helwick leads the Vols in this event. He finished in second place in the decathlon at the outdoor championships a year ago. The heptathlon will have four events on Thursday starting at 4:00 p.m.
The rest of the meet starts Friday with the finals of many events scheduled for Saturday. While there will be a number of world-class athletes from all over the globe competing at the event, the meet gives UT fans their first chance to see some of Tennessee’s very own world-class athletes perform in person.
Richard Wooten is an all-time record holder in both the hammer throw and discus for the Vols. The Vols also feature defending SEC indoor champion Michael Hogue and outdoor champion Helwick in the pole vault. Hogue is coming off a fifth place finish at the indoor championships.
The Lady Vols are expected to shine in the sprints and hurdles. Courtney Champion had two top 3 finishes in sprinting events at the indoor championships and should be among the favorites in the 100 and 200-meters this weekend. Cleo Tyson and Lynne Layne also had impressive seasons in the short distance events for the Lady Vols.
Leslie Treherne and Sarah Bowman are standouts for the Lady Vols in the middle-distance events. Bowman is the defending outdoor champion in the mile. Treherne and Layne join Nia Ali and LaTonya Loche as part of a 4x100 team that finished 10th at the indoor championships a month ago.
The Volunteer sprinters are led by seven-time All-American Rubin Williams who should be a force in the 100m and 200m.
“The 100-meters is my favorite event because it’s the showcase event,” Williams said. “But, I’m better at the 200. It comes easier for me.”
Williams is coming off a second place finish in the 200m at the indoor championships. Evander Wells finished seventh for the Vols in the event and could also excel this weekend. Wells was recently named the SEC’s Athlete of the Week after winning the 200m at the Yellow Jacket Invitational in Atlanta two weeks ago.
Matthieu Pritchett is another gifted sprinter and former All-American for the Vols who should be on display this weekend.
Yarrick Kincaid and Tyler DeVault will lead the Vols in the middle-distance events, while Jeff Day should be among the favorites in the steeplechase. Ben Lukowski enters the event as the Vols’ most heralded distance runner followed by Andy Baksa.
“(The Sea Ray Relays) has always been a good meet for us and our guys are looking forward to running on their home track,” men’s coach Bill Webb said after the last meet. “I like where our team is right now.”