Junior Zach Long and freshman Georgios Korakidis made history for the Tennessee track and field team over the weekend.
Long’s winning time of 7:59.15 in the men’s 3,000 meters at the Bob Pollack Invitational notched a new school record, passing a former mark that had stood for 28 years. He is the first Tennessee athlete to finish under an eight-minute time in the indoor 3K.
Korakidis, meanwhile, set a freshman record for the Vols, throwing 19.66 meters in the weight throw. The previous mark, 19.62 meters, was set by Cameron Brown in 2013.
Director of track and field and cross country Beth Alford-Sullivan was pleased with the performance of the two athletes as well as that of her entire squad at the invitational.
“We ended with a freshman school record in the weight throw with Georgios Korakidis and just a great competition there,” Alford-Sullivan said. “We turned around and got a school record in the 3,000 meters with Zach Long. I think he will have another shot to break his own school record now. That was a 28-year-old school record, and he just ran a tremendous race for that.”
“The team came together at the end. I said to this team — and I've been saying it all year long — that Tennessee ends with relays, and we ended big today with big improvements for the women and big improvements on the guys' side.”
The Vols notched five victories throughout the course of the weekend, including wins by junior Stamatia Scarvelis in the women’s shot put and senior Nathan Strother in the men’s 400 meters. Scarvelis also won the women’s weight throw on Saturday.
Tennessee’s women’s A team found victory in the women’s 4x400, and the men’s group finished with a time of 3:07.08. That time ranks as the fourth best in program history.
“The last two days, as all track meets have, had some highs and some lows,” Alford-Sullivan said. “Overall, we finished very well. We're asking a lot from the team. My marker for an indoor season is always the last weekend of competition in January to see how we can predict out to a month from now when we get to the conference meet.
“Like I said, we had some really high highs and some things that probably just need a little more time. Overall, I was pretty satisfied. I thought we ended with a great result.”
The Vols will compete again on Feb. 9. They will participate in the Tiger Paw Invite hosted by Clemson, and the Husky Classic hosted by Washington.
“I think as we freshen up, clean up and get some nicks and knacks done, we will be back here in two weeks and be able to take it another step forward," Alford-Sullivan said. "I'm very confident in where this program is going for the conference championship next month, and I'm very pleased with the record-setting stuff that these young people did here today.”