Over the final weekend of the winter break, the men’s track team traveled to Bloomington, Ind. for its second meet of the season at the Indiana Open.
The team sent a limited number of athletes to the meet but still recorded three wins, three season bests and two personal records.
One of the goals of an early season meet is to get athletes in better shape, watch tapes closely for adjustments and see what some of the younger athletes bring to the team. Two players that made a major impact on this meet were sophomore shot put and weight-thrower Richard Wooten and freshman high jumper Brenard Wilson.
Wilson won and set a personal best in the high jump, clearing 6- 9 and nearly hitting a jump from 6-11. Coach Bill Webb said he believes Wilson has the potential to clear 7 feet by the end of the year.
Wooten also recorded a season best and tallied a win in the shot put for his throw of 55-5, but even he admits there is room for improvement.
“The season is still really early,” Wooten said. “I have a lot of stuff to work on, working out hard, throwing hard and getting my hip into the throw.”
Not only is the season early, but the team went nearly a month between its first meet and the Indiana Open. Luckily for Webb, the team spent most of its time training individually, not slacking, during the break. Webb was pleased with the physical condition of his athletes and later talked about why he only sent certain groups to this meet.
“I was pretty happy with how the people looked,” Webb said. “In our sport of track and field, everyone has individual needs. Pole vaulters need some workouts before competing because it is harder for them to train over the break. We even sent some people to the meet to practice and not compete just so they could get jazzed up and pumped up for future meets.”
All-American senior Chris Helwick had a difficult time training at home in Colorado because he was stuck in snow storms for most of the break. However, he was able to get a good workout by shoveling snow. Helwick competed well in multiple events, but junior Jangy Addy finished best overall for Tennessee’s multi-event athletes.
Wooten trained in a more conventional way. He was able to go home and work with his old coaches from Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, trying to make sure he has only one movement for every throw.
In the upcoming meet this weekend, junior Rubin Williams, the team’s top sprinter, will make his season debut. The team’s distance runners and three new pole vaulters will also appear in their first events.
As the season progresses, the meets will be more intense with more schools and better prepared athletes. The Vols, too, will be better prepared for the more prestigious events such as the Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York and of course the SEC and NCAA indoor championships.