Feb. 4, 2012
NEW YORK -- Tennessee's track & field teams closed out their stay at New Balance Collegiate Invitational, getting impressive performances in the distances and sprints, including an NCAA auto mark, Saturday at The Armory in northern Manhattan.
Senior Chanelle Price gave the Lady Volunteers their third event at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships, reeling off an automatic-qualifying time of 2:04.25 in the championship division of the women's 800 meters. The product of Easton, Pa., wound up third behind BYU's Nachelle Mackie (2:03.56) and Katie Palmer (2:03.79). UT junior Nijgia Snapp was sixth today, posting a one-and-a-half second career best of 2:05.49.
Price, sixth at last year's national meet, delivered the fastest regular-season 800 readout of her career. She will join Annie Alexander (shot put) and UT's distance medley relay team at NCAA Indoors, which will be held in Nampa, Idaho, on March 9-10. Price runs the opening leg on the Tennessee DMR, collaborating with senior Ellen Wortham, Snapp and senior Brittany Sheffey.
"Chanelle set the race up well, and she came out with an automatic qualifying time," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "It was good to see her run her fastest time outside NCAAs or SECs and auto this early, so she's progressing. Obviously, we want to win, and we'll work the kinks out to make sure she's able to respond when it's time."
Classmate Brittany Sheffey came up a little more than three seconds shy of auto qualifying in the mile, but she still put together a career-best time of 4:40.28 to cross the line second. That time moved her to number four on UT's all-time performers list in that event and put her in a position that Clark believes will make her a strong candidate for an NCAA bid.
"This was good for Brittany; she ran 4:47 last week," Clark said. "She knocked off seven seconds and ran a PR, and she became the No. 4 performer in UT history. This is a solid time that should get her to the national meet. That's what we are trying to do, is get marks that will give us an opportunity to run in the big meet."
Ellen Wortham also turned in a fine showing in the women's championship division of the 400 meters. The senior from Maryville rolled to a career-best readout of 53.49 to take fourth place against a talented field. Her effort ranks her ninth fastest in the NCAA this season and moves her to No. 6 on UT's all-time performers list.
"Ellen always competes well in the big meets," Clark said. "I'm not surprised. I saw her run in the trials, and I thought there was a little more left in the tank. She cleaned her race up a little bit better and was able to run one of the fastest times in the nation."
For the Vols, junior Chris Bodary drew Clark's praise for his career-best readout in the finals of the college men's mile. His 4:10.38 handiwork earned him an 11th-place outcome, even though he is ticketed for longer races at the conference meet.
"Chris Bodary ran a PR in the mile while he was getting himself prepared for the longer events," Clark said. "That is good sign. Tommy G. (Gilmartin) came close to breaking his PR in the 5K, so these are good strides."
The Tennessee men also got an eighth-placing showing from sophomore Chase Brannon in the pole vault. He was once again over the bar at 17 feet, clearing 17-0 3/4 Saturday night. Classmate Tyler Porter was 13th at 16-7. Competing unattached, Joe Berry won the competition at 17-4 3/4. The five-time SEC champion has a season of outdoor eligibility remaining and will start competing for the Vols again on March 23.
"In the pole vault, Chase is consistently clearing 17 feet, so I am very optimistic about what he's capable of doing," Clark said. "I have to also give credit to Joe Berry for winning as an unattached competitor today, too. Tyler also is vaulting consistently over what his PR was before, so these are all very positive steps forward for our program. We have to continue to move in this fashion to be the team we want to be."
Elsewhere, Ashley Harris matched the finest finish of her career, taking second in the women's consolation final with a readout off 22.49 seconds. It marked the second-straight season she was the runner-up in the conso 200m final at this meet.
The Vol 4x400m relay unit, meanwhile, was sixth in the college final in 3:17.81 with senior Varick Tucker, sophomore Jarael Nelvis, senior Terry Benson and freshman Michael Williams carrying the baton.
In field event action, junior Jessie Harrison came away ninth in the weight throw at 60-6 3/4, while senior Laquoya Kelly was 12th at 59-0 3/4.
College 4x400m Relay Final: 6. Varick Tucker / Jarael Nelvis / Terry Benson / Michael Williams, 3:17.81b
Championship Pole Vault Final: t8. Chase Brannon, 17-0.75/5.20m; 13. Tyler Porter, 16-7/5.05m; nm. Robert Rasnick, F
College Mile Final: 11. Chris Bodary, 4:10.38b!
Championship 200m Final: 11. Jarael Nelvis, 22.49b
Championship Weight Throw Final: 12. Drew Thomas, 57-7/17.55m
College 5000m Final: 14. Tom Gilmartin, 14:56.44b; 22. Stephen Derlath, 15:16.43b!
College 200m Prelims: adv. (to Championship Final) Jarael Nelvis, 21.68bp/2nd, ht. 2 (12th); dna. Jamol James, 22.01bp!/5th, ht. 10 (29th)
Consolation 60m Final: 5. Jamol James, 6.74!
Championship Shot Put Final: 5. Matt Hoty, 59-9/18.21m
Championship Long Jump Final: 8. Desmond Brown, 23-10.75/7.28m
Eastern 3000m Final: 6. Daniel Tobin, 8:41.67b
College 500m Final: 25. Michael Williams, 1:06.54b!/1st, ht. 1
Championship 60m Prelims: adv. Jamol James, 6.75p!/3rd, ht. 4 (9th)
Championship 400m Prelims: dna. Varick Tucker, 48.35bp/3rd, ht. 3 (18th)
College 60m Prelims: dna. Desmond Brown, 7.05p/2nd, ht. 10 (21st)
Championship 60mH Prelims: dna. Terry Benson, 8.30p/5th, ht. 3 (44th)
Championship Mile Final: 2. Brittany Sheffey, 4:40.28b!
Championship 800m Final: 3. Chanelle Price, 2:04.25b*; 6. Nijgia Snapp, 2:05.49.b!; 11. Kianna Ruff, 2:11.09b
Championship 400m Final: 4. Ellen Wortham, 53.49b!
Consolation 200m Final: 2. Ashley Harris, 24.66b
Championship Weight Throw Final: 9. Jessie Harrison, 60-6.75/18.46m; t12. Laquoya Kelly, 59-0.75/18.00m
College Mile Final: 11. Amber Zimmerman, 5:02.32b
College Triple Jump Final: 21. Allison Outerbridge, 37-3.75/11.37m
College 800m Final: 58. Brittney Jackson, 2:22.50b
College 200m Prelims: dna. Kia Jackson, 24.93bp/4th, ht. 9 (48th)
Championship Shot Put Final: 2. Annie Alexander, 55-10.50/17.03m; 21. Aslynn Halvorson, 45-9/13.94m
College Pole Vault Final: 6. Linda Hadfield, 12-5.50/3.80m!; 23. Erin Champion, 11-9.75/3.60m
College Long Jump Final: 16. Kia Jackson, 18-2.25/5.54m
Championship Long Jump: nm. Ellen Wortham, F
Championship 400m Prelims: adv. (to Champ. Final) Ellen Wortham, 54.14bp! (5th); dna. Ashley Harris, 56.94bp! (39th)
College 200m Prelims: adv. (to Conso. Final) Ashley Harris, 24.57bp (3rd)
Championship 60m Prelims: dna. Kia Jackson, 7.53p/4th, ht. 2 (23rd)
Championship 60mH Prelims: dna. Bianca Blair, 8.68p/3rd, ht. 3 (29th)
* - NCAA Automatic Mark, ! - Personal Best, ^ - Oversized Track, $ - SEC Record, a - American Record, adv. - Advanced to next round, b - Banked Track, c - Collegiate Record, dna - Did Not Advance, 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