Jan. 28, 2011
By Eric Trainer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Justin Hunter and Ellen Wortham posted the best showings Friday, as the Tennessee track & field teams began competition at the Penn State National Invitational and Rod McCravy Memorial.
Most of the action involving the Big Orange was going on in University Park, Pa., where Hunter broke his own UT freshman long jump record by a half inch with a leap of 26 feet, 1 1/2 inches to remain undefeated this season in that event. The lanky rookie had opened the campaign with a leap of 26-1 at the Kentucky Invitational on Jan. 15. He continues to rank No. 5 in the NCAA with his latest mark and is already qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 11-12. Sophomore teammate Desmond Brown checked in sixth, soaring to a season-best 24-5 1/2.
Wortham, meanwhile, totaled a career-best score of 3,983 points to turn in a runner-up performance in the women's pentathlon behind Maryland's Kiani Profit. The Terrapin scored 4,109 points to meet the NCAA automatic qualifying standard, while Wortham fell just 92 points shy in her fifth college try at the five-event, single-day competition. Profit and Wortham now rank first and second among NCAA women in the pentathlon three weeks into the season.
The Lady Vol multi-eventer opened up by winning the 60m hurdles in a career-best 8.54 seconds and tied for first in the high jump with a top clearance of 5-7. She was seventh in the shot put with a PR toss of 31-11 1/4, second in the long jump at 18-5 3/4 and closed the proceedings with a career-best time of 2:16.64 in the 800m to take second behind Profit. Wortham, last year's fourth-place finisher in this event at the SEC Indoor Championships, was fifth at Penn State in 2010 (3,899) and ninth in 2009 (3,502).
The Lady Vols' "A" distance medley relay unit closed out the first day in Happy Valley with a season-best run of 11:48.25 to take third. Carrying the baton were sophomores Elizabeth Altizer and Nijgia Snapp, freshman Ty-Vonna Johnson and sophomore Ramzee Fondren.
Earlier in the day, UT's Kevin Carney put himself in fourth place after the first four events of the men's heptathlon with 2,698 points. Carney, who redshirted last season after transferring from Kentucky, was third in the long jump (21-5 1/2), third in the high jump (6-3 1/4), fourth in the shot put (38-6) and eighth in the 60m dash (7.61). He had finished seventh at this meet as a Wildcat in 2009 with 4,717 points.
In the women's weight throw, Lady Vol sophomore Jessie Harrison had a 2011-best heave of 58-9 1/2 to place fourth. It was the second-longest mark of her career.
At Nutter Field House in Lexington, Ky., Lady Vol freshman Linda Hadfield was the only Tennessee athlete in action there on Friday evening. She posted a ninth-place effort in the pole vault, clearing a season-best 11-9.
Action resumes Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at Penn State, while the Kentucky meet's schedule gets underway at 10:30 a.m.
Heptathlon (First Day): 4. Kevin Carney, 2,698 (60m: 8th/7.61/678 pts.; LJ: 3rd/21-5.50/6.54m/707 pts.; SP: 4th/38-6/11.73m/590 pts.; HJ: 3rd/6-3.25/1.91m/723 pts.)
Weight Throw: 13. Drew Thomas, 58-6.50/17.84m!
Pentathlon (Final): 2. Ellen Wortham, 3,983b! (60mH: 1st/8.54!/1008 pts.; HJ: t1st/5-7/1.70m/855 pts; SP: 7th/31-11.25/9.73m!/512 pts.; LJ: 2nd/18-5.75/5.63m/738 pts.; 800m: 2nd/2:16.64b!/870 pts.)
Distance Medley Relay: 3. Elizabeth Altizer / Nijgia Snapp / Ty-Vonna Johnson / Ramzee Fondren, 11:48.25b; 7. Brittney Jackson / Kianna Ruff / Charity Honeycutt / Amber Zimmerman, 12:08.79b
Weight Throw: 4. Jessie Harrison, 58-9.50/17.92m; NM - Laquoya Kelly, F
60m Semifinals: 10. Martinique Octave, 7.54p!/6th, ht. 1; NM - Kia Jackson, FS
60m Prelims: Adv. Kia Jackson, 7.55p!/3rd, ht. 1 (11th); Adv. Martinique Octave, 7.59p!/4th, ht. 2 (15th); 17. Brittany Jones, 7.60p/3rd, ht. 5; 22. Ashley Harris, 7.66p/3rd, ht. 4
Long Jump: 15. Kia Jackson, 18-3.25/5.57m; NM - Jazmen Townsend, F
Inv. 5000m: 20. Elizabeth Tiller, 18:48.16b
60mH Prelims: 22. Bianca Blair, 8.69p/4th, ht. 5
Pole Vault: 9. Linda Hadfield, 11-9/3.58m
* - NCAA automatic qualifying mark, ! - personal record, ^ - oversized track, b - banked track, DNF - did not finish, DQ - disqualified, F - foul, fr - facility record, FS - false start, h - heat, m - meters, NM - no mark registered, NH - no height registered, p - preliminary round, sr - school record