Jan. 21, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Tennessee track & field program netted its first NCAA qualifier of the campaign and pocketed a pair of school records and victories, as the Big Orange closed out its stay at the Birmingham CrossPlex for the Auburn Invitational.
"It was a field event weekend for us, basically," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "Annie Alexander broke the school record, Matt Hoty had a PR and freshman record and we now have three pole vaulters over 17 feet. This time of the year, to have three over that mark is outstanding. Those are very good marks.
"On the oval, it was more of a training scenario, and everyone got some good work in. The facility was nice, I'm happy overall, and now it's on to Texas A&M next weekend."
Alexander, the senior shot put ace for the Lady Vols, became Tennessee's first national qualifier of the 2012 season, unleashing a blast of 58 feet, one inch to punch her ticket to the NCAA Indoor meet in Nampa, Idaho, on March 9-10. The measurement, which came on her third throw of the competition, broke her 2009 indoor school record of 57-2, set at the NCAA meet that year. Her new mark also moved her to the top of the nation in that event this season.
"Proven champion," Clark said of Alexander. "We know it. I expect it. I expect it to continue with her. Annie, Chanelle Price, Ellen Wortham and Brittany Sheffey are proven champions on our women's team. We expect great things from them, and we are getting that."
Senior Chanelle Price made her first season appearance in the women's 800m a good one, collecting the ninth indoor victory of her career in that event with a 2:06.41 readout to edge former UT standout Kimarra McDonald (2:06.52). Price's mark, the best indoor debut of her career, moved her to the top of the NCAA list at this point in the season.
"Chanelle looked outstanding," Clark said. "Actually, there were no great times on this track today, so for her to have one of the top times in the country this early in the year, on this track, is outstanding. I'm surprised with the quality of athletes and teams here, that times weren't more noteworthy on the oval, but Chanelle was able to come out with an outstanding run and victory in her first 800 of the year."
Hoty wasn't able to collect his second straight victory in the men's shot put, but the Vol redshirt freshman did manage to make history for the second meet in a row. His blast of 60-0 1/4 was good for second place and enabled him to snap his week-old UT freshman record in the process. He finished behind only Stephen Saenz of Auburn, last year's SEC Outdoor champion, who had a best of 63-1 1/4 on Saturday.
"We know he's a talent," Clark said of Hoty. "That's one of the reasons we redshirted him last year to get him healthy (from a high school injury). Now he's out there doing what we expected him to do.
"He's an outstanding, intense competitor and a very bright guy who understands what he needs to do. He trains scientifically, analyzes and breaks things down with his coach and gets after it. He understands what he needs to do to be a winner, and that's extremely exciting to see that in someone so young."
Vol sophomore Chase Brannon had his second-straight strong effort in the pole vault, and he had company in the success department on Saturday. After winning at Kentucky last weekend in a career-best 17-5 1/2, Brannon came back this week to finish second at 17-4 1/2 to Samford's Michael Seaman (17-8 1/2). He continues to rank second in the SEC this season and now is followed by the league's No. 4 and 5 vaulters, UT sophomore Tyler Porter and senior Robert Rasnick. They each cleared 17-0 3/4, with Porter registering a career best for the second weekend in a row and getting the nod over his teammate for fourth by clearing the bar on one fewer attempt.
"Like I mentioned earlier about proven champions, our pole vault guys thus far are looking like they are moving toward being champions like Joe Berry, their teammate who will join them outdoors," Clark said. "It was another good week for them, now getting Tyler and Robert over 17 feet along with Chase. That's a very nice group."
Chris Bodary added another runner-up effort for Tennessee. The junior's 8:30.66 clocking enabled him to place second in the men's 3000 meters.
The Tennessee women picked up a third-place finish in the distance medley relay, with Ty-Vonna Johnson, Julia Petree, Nijgia Snapp and Patavia Lowery covering the distance in 12:38.89. The Lady Vol 4x400m relay combination of sophomore Kianna Ruff, junior Martinique Octave, Price and Wortham wound up fourth in a 3:42.54.
Elsewhere for the Vols, senior Varick Tucker was fourth in the 400 meters at 48.50, junior Desmond Brown placed sixth in the long jump at 23-8 and freshman Tyler Anderson was sixth in the triple jump in a career-best 47-1 1/2.
The UT men also placed fifth in the distance medley relay (10:33.63), while their 4x400m relay was sixth in 3:17.22. The quartets included Jack Felix, Garrek Thompson, Scott March and Alex McCandless for the DMR and Michael Williams, Terry Benson, and Deaundra Dailey for the 4x4.
The Vols and Lady Vols return to action next weekend, as they compete in the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge in College Station on Friday and Saturday.
Shot Put: 2. Matthew Hoty, 60-0.25/18.29m!fr
Pole Vault: 2. Chase Brannon, 17-4.50/5.30m; 4. Tyler Porter, 17-0.75/5.20m!; 5. Robert Rasnick, 17-0.75/5.20m
3000m: 2. Chris Bodary, 8:30.66b; 7. Stephen Derlath, 8:47.51b!; 10. Daniel Tobin, 8:53.71b
400m: 4. Varick Tucker, 48.50b; 19. Garrek Thompson, 50.70b!
Distance Medley Relay: 5. Jack Felix / Garrek Thompson / Scott March / Alex McCandless, 10:33.63b; 6. Jeremy Dickie / Deaundra Dailey / Jordan Chaney / Tom Gilmartin, 10:43.93b
Long Jump: 6. Desmond Brown, 23-8/7.21m; 13. Tyler Anderson, 21-11.50/6.69m
Triple Jump: 6. Tyler Anderson, 47-1.50/14.36!
4x400m Relay: 6. Michael Williams / Terry Benson / Deaundra Dailey / Varick Tucker, 3:17.22b
Mile: 7. Tom Gilmartin, 4:18.88b!; 9. Alex McCandless, 4:22.10b!; 13. Jordan Chaney, 4:32.22b; 14. Jeremy Dickie, 4:33.90b
800m: 9. Nick Kaiser, 1:55.47b; 21. Jack Felix, 2:00.15b!; 22. Scott March, 2:00.18b
200m: 12. Jarael Nelvis, 21.84b; 17. Jamol James, 22.33b!
60m Hurdles Prelims: 9. Terry Benson, 8.17p/3rd, ht. 4; 16. Michael Williams, 8.53p!/6th, ht. 1
60m Prelims: 16. Jamol James, 6.83p/4th, ht. 2; 19. Desmond Brown, 6.96p!/5th, ht. 1
Shot Put: 1. Annie Alexander, 58-1/17.70m!*sr; 8. Aslynn Halvorson, 47-6.50/14.49m
800m: 1. Chanelle Price, 2:06.41b; 8. Ellen Wortham, 2:17.89b; 9. Ty-Vonna Johnson, 2:18.58b; 11. Patavia Lowery, 2:19.17b; 19. Chelsea Knotts, 2:24.61b3000m: 7. Brittany Sheffey, 9:31.92b; 18. Kelsey Kane, 10:17.10b!
Distance Medley Relay: 3. Ty-Vonna Johnson / Julia Petree / Nijgia Snapp / Patavia Lowery, 12:38.89
3000m: 7. Brittany Sheffey, 9:31.92b; 18. Kelsey Kane, 10:17.10b!
4x400m Relay: 4. Kianna Ruff / Martinique Octave / Chanelle Price / Ellen Wortham, 3:42.54b; 9. Brittney Jackson / Ashley Harris / Brittany Sheffey / Bianca Blair, 3:55.76b; 11. Kasha McDougald, Kirstyn Sweeney / Kia Jackson / Chelsea Knotts, 4:06.48b
3000m: 7. Brittany Sheffey, 9:31.92b; 18. Kelsey Kane, 10:17.10b!
Triple Jump: 9. Allison Outerbridge, 38-8.75/11.80m
Pole Vault: 12. Erin Champion, 10-8/3.25m; nm - Linda Hadfield
400m: 12. Brittany Jones, 55.81b!; 14. Kianna Ruff, 55.96b; 18. Martinique Octave, 57.41b; 35. Julia Petree, 1:00.30b; 36. Kirstyn Sweeney, 1:00.75b
Mile: 14. Amber Zimmerman, 5:04.35b; 17. Nijgia Snapp, 5:06.93b; 33. Brittney Jackson, 5:33.42b
200m: 14. Martinique Octave, 24.53b; 19. Ashley Harris, 24.81b; 24. Kia Jackson, 25.04b; 30. Kasha McDougald, 25.50b!; 36. Julia Petree, 26.10b; 38. Jazmen Townsend, 26.25b!; 39. Bianca Blair, 26.43b
Long Jump: 18. Jazmen Townsend, 17-9.50/5.42m
60m Hurdles Prelims: 15. Bianca Blair, 8.85p/2nd, ht. 4; 16. Kasha McDougald, 8.85p/3rd, ht. 4; 30. Kirstyn Sweeney, 9.29p!/7th, ht. 4
60m Prelims: 24. Kia Jackson, 7.71p/3rd, ht. 5; 25. Ashley Harris, 7.73p/5th, ht. 1
Weight Throw: 7. Jessie Harrison, 56-8/17.27m; 10. Laquoya Kelly, 53-11/16.43m; 12. Aslynn Halvorson, 52-1/15.87m!; 17. Annie Alexander, 50-10.75/15.51m \
* - NCAA Automatic Mark, ! - Personal Best, ^ - Oversized Track, $ - SEC Record, a - American Record, b - Banked Track, c - Collegiate Record, dnf - Did Not Finish, dq - Disqualified, dnr - Did Not Run, F - Foul, f - Facility Record, fr - Freshman Record, fs - False Start, H - Heptathlon, h - Hand-Timed, mr - Meet Record, nm - No Mark, p - Time Run In Prelims, P - Pentathlon, sr - School Record, u - Undersized Track, w - World Record