Underclassmen perform well for UT track team at SEC Indoors

Freshman pole vaulter Jake Blankenship finished second and the Tennessee track & field team concluded the 2013 SEC Indoor Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center on Sunday in Fayetteville, Ark., with the men (32 points) and women (29 points) both finishing in eighth.

Arkansas doubled-up, claiming both the men’s and the women’s team titles with 152.50 and 114.50 points, respectively.

“This was a championship that we had some underclassmen come through,” said Tennessee Director of Track & Field/Cross Country J.J. Clark. “We had Cassie (Wertman), Cameron (Brown) and Jake all scoring as freshmen. Austin Whitelaw was ninth, just outside of scoring. Both DMRs are returning next year so it was kind of the theme throughout. We have some maturity to do in that area, but within a year’s time I believe we’ll see a totally different program.”

Blankenship posted the highest finish of the meet for Tennessee and improved his own school freshman record with a vault of 18 feet, 2½ inches.

Blankenship now ranks third all-time in UT indoor pole vault history.

“Jake is doing a great job. Whenever you can take second as a freshman at the SEC meet is a tremendous accomplishment,” said Clark. “

Junior Chase Brannon placed fourth in the event with a mark of 17-5½.

Senior Nijgia Snapp placed third in the women’s 800-meter run with a season-best mark of 2 minutes, 5.97 seconds.

The Lady Vols’ distance medley relay team placed fourth and the 4x400-meter relay finished sixth.

The Vols DMR and 4x400m relays both placed fifth. Senior Terry Benson placed sixth in the men’s 60-meter hurdles with a mark of 8.05 seconds.

Sophomore Matthew Hoty placed fifth in the men’s shot put with a mark of 60-10¾. Lady Vol senior thrower Jessie Harrison won the opening flight in the women’s weight throw and went on to finish in seventh place in the finals. Harrison’s best toss of 62-1.25 came on her second attempt in the final round.

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Comments » 7

LordWebb writes:

Pole Vaulters- Awesome ( a freshman at 18-2!? are you kidding me!?)

Throwers- As a whole, very, very good.

The rest of the team? Junior Varsity caliber athletes, and thats on a good day.

It's safe to say now that this JJ experiment has failed, and has failed miserably. It's funny to see JJ try to spin this embarrassing performance as young athletes performing well. He's been saying the same "wait till next year" line since he took over the job. Guess what JJ? The team is terrible and it's a direct reflection on your failures as a coach.

LHOOQ writes:

Congratulations to Coach Clark for putting the Vols and Lady Vols into the top 10 of the SEC. Eighth place with all of that young talent! Next year you can shoot for 7th! For a guy who claims to be a middle distance coaching guru, where was all the scoring in those races? Dear Mr. Hart -- how about a taking a new look at the failure of the combined programs?

budd#207344 writes:

How much longer are we going to allow this coaching staff to ruin Tennessee track & field? This group is digging a deeper hole than football. Time for replacing the coaching staff.Or do they have a buyout clause as well?

upsetVOL4life writes:

This performance is extremely disappointing. I've been one to give him a chance but he can not manage this team. I actually was at the meet to support the team and the kids looked unmotivated and non SEC competitive. I'm not sure the direction of the program but change is needed. I spoke with one of the coaches about our pictures along the wall in stokley as well and I was told, JJ didn't care about tradition he is going to throw those out... Tradition builds programs and sustains programs! We need to bring back one of our own to take over!!! It's a sad day in Knoxville.

Is Vince Anderson available? Will Bill Webb come back to save us?? Will Norbert Elliot or George Watts consider coming back? Maybe they need some young Tenn alum to come back and lead the program to success. We have a lot of alum coaching out there! Jeff Perkins(uc-irvine; decent results during his time there), Kurt Thomas(UAB- has done well here, don't know if he is SEC ready), Car-Jay Lyle(San Diego STate- top 10 national team in 4yrs there, he's my pick), Adrian Weatley(univ of Illinois -has done a good job in the Big 10 and nationally! He's a good option)!

Who ever it is, DAVE HART make a change!!!

trgclychip writes:

Event after event without an Orange singlet. Really terrible planning and recruiting. JJ is just cashing that check as long as he can milk it. The bottom has dropped out of the women's team as well. Heartbreaking.

BillVol writes:

I think we need to go after Vince Anderson. The obvious choice!

Colliervol writes:

The fact that he let Norbert Elliot go is all I need to know about that goof Clark. Coach Elliot was an excellent coach and an even better person. Clark is reaping what he sowed.

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