On a windy Thursday afternoon, the Tennessee track and field team hosted the 51st Annual Tennessee Relays at the newly renovated Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium. The Volunteers competed with athletes from 14 other schools for superiority in the meet.
At 4 p.m. the women battled in the hammer throw. The Volunteers had two representatives among a field of 20 women. The field was split into two flights of ten women. Both Vols were in Flight two.
Junior thrower Savannah Marlow, who is coming off of a solid showing in the indoor season, tossed for a distance of 49.11 meters on her first attempt, placing her 11th in the final standings.
Coming into the event, all eyes were focused on Stamatia Scarvelis, the third-ranked thrower in the nation. She threw for a distance of 60.71 meters (199 ft 2 in) on her second toss. She had another throw later in the event that went for 60.53 meters (198 ft 7 in), falling just short of her best throw on the day.
Although she still put up a solid performance, Scarvelis wasnt able to bring home the win. Deanna Price, who competed with no school affiliation, finished first in the standings with a throw of 69.17 meters (226 ft 11 in).
The men’s action began at 6 p.m. Out of a field of 20 men, three Volunteers competed for the top spot in the hammer throw event.
The most experienced thrower on the team, Matthew Zajac, threw for a distance of 56.00 meters (183 ft 8 in) placing him ninth in the rankings.
Tennessee’s other two competitors were in a tight race for first place.
Junior thrower Seth Whitener placed second overall with a distance of 63.23 meters (207 ft 5 in).
Despite Whitener’s impressive performance, it was freshman thrower Georgios Korakidis who stole the show, edging out Whitener by a narrow margin of 0.41 meters. Korakidis finished with a total distance of 63.64 meters (208 ft 9 in).
“It was my first win in the U.S. I’m hype for this,” Korakidis said. “I want to be top nine [in the conference].”
Overall, the Volunteers had a strong outing on the first day of the Tennessee Relays, which was pleasing to see from coach Beth Alford-Sullivan.
“It was really a thrill to get this meet started here with the facility finally coming together and getting ready to host out here,” Sullivan said. “It’s been so much fun and we’re thrilled. We had the multi this morning that went through midday, and had a great first day competition. Through the hammer throws, probably the most impressive thing was Georgios coming back on his last throw to get the win and beat his own teammate Seth Whitener. Both of them competed hard. Pleased with it all, thrilled for more of what’s coming up in the next two days.”
The track and field team will resume action tomorrow, beginning with the decathlon event. They will be back at LaPorte Stadium at 10 a.m.