UT, Georgia start fast

Published: Saturday, March 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 28, 2003 at 10:59 p.m.

With four athletes scoring in the pentathlon, the Tennessee men's track and field team easily took the lead after the first day of the SEC Indoor Championships at the O'Connell Center.

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Florida's Matt Thompson participates in the long jump Friday.

(TRISTAN MAHER/Special to The Sun)

Four UT athletes combined for 18 points Friday to give the Volunteers a seven-point lead over Auburn.

"It's a good jump-start for the meet," UT coach Bill Webb said. "We've got 18 now, so it jump-starts the meet. Eighteen points are hard to get in this meet."

South Carolina and Arkansas totaled six and four points, respectively, to round out the men's team scoring.

In the women's race, one point separates Georgia (12), South Carolina (11) and Arkansas (10). Vanderbilt (five) and Mississippi (one) also scored in the pentathlon.

Georgia junior Hyleas Fountain easily set a school record with 4,164 points, passing Carol Crosbie's 1987 total of 3,864, to win the women's pentathlon. She finished in the top five in four events, including first in the high jump with a clearance of 6 feet.

"I (set personal records) today," Fountain said. "I had to come in with confidence because if I didn't, I wouldn't do too well."

UT senior Stephen Harris won the men's pentathlon with 4,277 points. He was first in the long jump (24-5), high jump (6-11) and 1,000 (2:40.82) to beat Auburn's Maurice Smith by 199 points.

"I've been missing (winning) the last couple of years. At NCAAs in 2001 and last year in the pentathlon, I missed it by a little bit," Harris said. "Things worked out in their own way."

Both of Florida's entries in the pentathlon - Cameal Rhule for the women and Matt Thompson for the men - failed to score points for the Gators.

Rhule was in position to score, but she injured her hamstring that hampered her for the 800 and she finished 12th in pentathlon with 3,360 points.

"(The injury) took her out of it," said UF coach Tom Jones. "She did a real nice job through the first three events and then she kind of ran out of gas. Once you get a little hamstring problem, that takes you out of it."

Jones said Rhule injured her hamstring during her second attempt in the long jump, which she fouled. She did not attempt a third jump.

Rhule, whose distance of 19-1 1/2 in her first attempt was fourth-best in the long jump, was seventh entering the 800. But with her leg wrapped in the race, she practically limped to the finish line in 3:13.42.

Thompson was last in the men's side with 3,140 points. He failed to finish higher than ninth in any of the events.

Doris Yon can be reached at (352) 374-5052 or yond@gvillesun.com.

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