March 12, 2011
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The University of Tennessee closed out its stay at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships Saturday night, notching scoring finishes in three different events at Texas A&M's Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.
The Lady Vols carded a pair of top-eight individual finishes to increase their point total to 24 and nab a tie for seventh place, marking the program's seventh indoor and 10th overall top-10 national finish under UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark. Oregon claimed victory with 67 points, followed in the top five by Texas (38), LSU (37), Arkansas (35) and Texas A&M (32). Spurred by a fifth-place outcome in their lone race of the day, the Vols wound up 39th with five points after not scoring a year ago. Florida was victorious by 12 points over Texas A&M with its 52-point total. BYU (34), LSU (31) and Florida State (30) rounded out the top five on the men's side.
After winning the 5000 meters on Friday night, senior Jackie Areson came back on Saturday evening looking to become only the third woman to claim a 5000m/3000m double. It was not to be, as the now four-time All-American checked in fourth in the 3K in her final race as a Lady Vol, crossing the line in nine minutes, 17.88 seconds. Classmate Liz Costello, fifth in the 5K 24 hours earlier, wound up 12th in the 3K in 9:23.26.
Areson ran conservatively, biding her time in the middle of the pack, seemingly poised for another strong finishing kick. As the pace quickened with 600 to go, the UT standout lost contact with the leaders. Despite a valiant burst over the final 200 meters, which propelled her past several runners, she was unable to catch the top three.
"She wanted more from herself today, but she's had a very, very good year," Clark said. "She's a national champion (5000m), and you can't shake a stick at that. That's what we wanted to do.
"We tried to come in and maybe win two national championships, but she still goes out with a bang. She's the school record-holder in two events, dropping them both down to a lower level, and she an NCAA champion."
In the men's 60-meter dash, redshirt freshman Dentarius Locke turned in an All-America performance. The product of Tampa's Chamberlain High School rolled down the straightaway in 6.67 seconds to lasso a fifth-place finish. That effort was the best in the 60 by a Vol at the NCAA Indoor meet since Justin Gatlin and Leonard Scott went one-two in 2002. It also made Locke the third male All-American of J.J. Clark's tenure at UT, following Evander Wells (outdoor 200m) last season and Justin Hunter (long jump) last night.
"Dentarius came out this year and was very excited to be running, and we were very happy to have him here," Clark said. "He has just kept getting better and better throughout the season, and that's what you want them to do.
"He came in here ranked somewhere around 13th and ended up fifth. That's pretty good; that means he's a gamer and a championship-caliber runner. We appreciate that and look forward to seeing him outdoors on the 400 oval."
Junior Chanelle Price entered the women's 800m final with the fastest mark of the eight qualifiers, hoping to improve upon a fourth-place showing in 2010. Despite running among a front pack of four for most of the race, the Lady Vol standout was unable to find another gear over the final 200, settling for sixth in 2:05.42
"Chanelle was an SEC champion this year, and she is very close to doing some big things," Clark said. "We'll take it to outdoors now, to keep improving on what she's done. I think she is right where she needs to be.
"Obviously, we want her to win championships. She wants to win championships. She will be at that point in the near future."
Clark also reflected on his teams' overall efforts at the meet and the status of those squads.
"On both sides, we need to have more bodies here (NCAA meet)," Clark said. "The women were top 10, the men's team definitely needs more quality. We're going to make sure that happens. That said, I am very proud of the efforts of the people who were here."
A tape-delayed recap of the NCAA Indoor meet will be shown March 16 on ESPN2 from 2:30-4 p.m. ET.
800m Prelims: 6. Chanelle Price, 2:05.42b
3000m (Final): 4. Jackie Areson, 9:17.88b; 12. Liz Costello, 9:23.36b
4x400m Relay (Final): 9. Ellen Wortham / Martinique Octave / Nijgia Snapp / Kianna Ruff, 3:35.32b
60m (Final): 5. Dentarius Locke, 6.67
5000m (Final): 1. Jackie Areson, 16:04.16b; 5. Liz Costello, 16:11.06b
Distance Medley Relay (Final): 8. Chanelle Price / Ellen Wortham / Nijgia Snapp / Brittany Sheffey, 11:07.86b
Pentathlon (Final): 8. Ellen Wortham, 4,042b! (60mH: 4th, 8.46!, 1,026 pts.; High Jump: 7th, 5-7.75/1.72m!, 879 pts.; Shot Put: 16th, 32-8.25/9.96m!, 527 pts; Long Jump: 9th, 18-9.25/5.72m, 765 pts.; 800m: 6th, 2:18.44b, 845 pts.)
800m Prelims: Adv. Chanelle Price, 2:04.17b (1st)
* - 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, mr - meet record, NM - no mark registered, NH - no height registered, p - preliminary round, sr - school record