Tennessee track underachieves at NCAA

Marvin WestFeature, westwords

Tennessee’s track and field team performed far below expectations at the NCAA championship meet last week in Eugene, Oregon.

U.S. track coaches had ranked Vol men as the 22nd best group in the country. They finished in 55th place with only three points.

Georgia won the men’s team title with 52 points. Florida was second, Alabama fifth, Texas A&M seventh, LSU eighth, Mississippi State 10th, Arkansas 12th, Auburn 14th, Kentucky 16th, Ole Miss 26th and South Carolina 35th.

The Tennessee men’s team is not really a team. The Vols qualified four individuals and one relay quartet for the NCAA event. It had no hurdlers, no middle distance runners and only one field entry. Jordan West placed 12th in the shot put.

Mustaqeem Williams ran sixth in the 200 meters in 20.62. Nathan Strother fell short of the 400 finals. Based on prelims, he finished 12th. Tennessee’s 4×400 relay team of Kwantreyl McConico, Darryl Harris, Malik Elion and Strother ran 20th.

Lone distance entry Zach Long finished 23rd, next to last, in the 5000.

U.S. coaches had ranked Vol women as No. 12 in the country. They finished 25th with 11 points. Tennessee got points from Stamatia Scarvelis’ third-place finish in the hammer and Shania Collins in the sprints. She ran sixth in the 100 and eighth in the 200.

Freshman Alexis Duncan ran 10th in the 100 hurdles. Only eight qualified for the finals.

Felecia Majors was 13th in the 400. The Vols’ 4×100 relay team of Duncan, Majors, Collins and Maia McCoy placed ninth in 43.48.

Cidae’a Woods was 12th in the triple jump. Junior Maya Neal, Tennessee’s first heptathlete at the NCAA championships since 1996, placed 13th with 5,555 points.

Tennessee has seven track and field coaches. Beth Alford-Sullivan is director of the overall program. Layne Anderson is an assistant coach in charge of distance runners. He is recruiting coordinator.

Tim Hall is sprint coach. David Neville coaches sprints, hurdles and relays. John Newell coaches throws. Volunteer assistants Jim Sullivan and Steve Waithe direct vaulters and jumpers.

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