April 29, 2011
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
PHILADELPHIA -- Tennessee secured a pair of top-five individual finishes Friday at Franklin Field, scored an eighth-place relay result and qualified two more baton brigades for finals on Saturday at the 117th-annual Penn Relays.
Redshirt freshman Chase Brannon had the best finish of the day for the Big Orange, placing second in the college section of the men's pole vault. The Brentwood, Tenn., native, who won at the Vanderbilt Invitational last weekend and now has four top-two efforts this season, cleared 16 feet, 2 3/4 inches to match the mark of Mike Dempsey of Rochester Institute of Technology. Dempsey got the win, however, by virtue of fewer missed attempts. UT freshman teammate Tyler Porter placed 11th at 15-3.
Freshman Justin Hunter also performed well in his second weekend of outdoor competition. The football wide receiver, who took a month's hiatus from track & field to participate in spring drills on the gridiron, summoned an outdoor season-best leap of 25-10 1/4 to grab fourth place in the men's championship long jump. That mark moved him to No. 7 on UT's all-time performers list and was just shy of his outdoor PR and the UT freshman record of 25-10 3/4.
The Lady Vols carded an eighth-place showing in the 4x100m relay and advanced their 4x200m unit to Saturday's final. They also suffered disappointment in the 4x1500m relay, as their two-year winning streak in that event came to an end just as their spree in the distance medley relay did on Thursday.
In the 4x100m Championship of America race, the quartet of juniors Ashley Harris and Ellen Wortham, and sophomores Martinique Octave and Kia Jackson circled the track in 45.24 seconds. That effort left them in eighth place, just as they had qualified for the race.
The same quartet returned to the track later in the day and earned its second final appearance of the meet. Running in the 4x200m relay, with Octave anchoring instead of Jackson, the Lady Vols placed second in heat three and hit the line with the eighth-best qualifying time at 1:35.97. They will run in the 4x200m Championship of America at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday.
The 4x1500m result was not what J.J. Clark wanted, as his team sought to get back on the winning track in the distance area. The tandem of junior Ramzee Fondren, senior Liz Costello and juniors Brittany Sheffey and Chanelle Price moved from 11th to sixth place after two legs before Sheffey stepped off the track on her first lap and officially ended Tennessee's chance for a repeat with the Lady Vols well out of contention.
In UT's other relay effort on Friday, Tennessee's men advanced to the college final in the 4x100m event. The quartet of sophomore Reggie Juin, redshirt freshman Dentarius Locke, senior Nathan Grace and freshman Jarael Nelvis joined forces to move the baton around the oval in 40.78. They will run in what amounts to a consolation final at 1:20 p.m. on Saturday.
In other individual events, the Vol distance medley relay was 13th in 9:52.43, and Terry Benson was 19th in the men's 110m hurdles (14.56) and 40th in the men's 400m hurdles (54.49). The UT men also were slated to run the 4x200m relay, but did not, and they entered the sprint medley relay, but suffered a false start.
In addition to the men's 4x1 and women's 4x2 on Saturday, the Big Orange will have senior Joe Berry in the men's championship pole vault, Hunter in the men's championship high jump, and men's and women's entries in the Championship of America 4x800m relay.
Former UT standouts Justin Gatlin (4x100m relay), DeeDee Trotter (4x400m relay) and Phoebe Wright (sprint medley relay) are expected to join the American side for Saturday's USA vs. the World competition.
4x100m Relay Championship: 8. Ashley Harris / Ellen Wortham / Martinique Octave / Kia Jackson, 45.24
4x200m Relay Prelims: Adv. Ashley Harris / Ellen Wortham / Kia Jackson / Martinique Octave, 1:35.97, 2nd, ht. 3 (8th)
4x1500m Relay Championship: DNF - Ramzee Fondren / Liz Costello / Brittany Sheffey / Chanelle Price
Distance Medley Relay Championship: 2. Liz Costello / Ellen Wortham / Chanelle Price / Brittany Sheffey, 10:56.20
3000m Championship: 3. Amber Zimmerman, 10:08.98
4x100m Relay Prelims: Adv. Ashley Harris / Ellen Wortham / Martinique Octave / Kia Jackson, 45.20/2nd, ht. 2 (8th)
College Pole Vault: 2. Chase Brannon, 16-2.75/4.95m; 11. Tyler Porter, 15-3/4.65m
Championship Long Jump: 4. Justin Hunter, 25-10.25/7.88m (w: tba)
Distance Medley Relay Championship: 13. Jordan Chaney / Varick Tucker / Joe Franklin / Eric Ryan, 9:52.43
110m Hurdles Prelims: 19. Terry Benson, 14.56
400m Hurdles Prelims: 40. Terry Benson, 54.49, 8th, ht. 5
4x100m Relay Prelims: Adv. Reggie Juin / Dentarius Locke / Nathan Grace / Jarael Nelvis, 40.78, 2nd, ht. 3 (12th)
Sprint Medley Relay Championship: FS - Jarael Nelvis / Dentarius Locke / Nathan Grace / Joe Franklin
4x200m Relay Prelims: Did Not Run
3000m Steeplechase College: 4. Steve Fassino, 9:05.28
5000m College: 7. Jake Rainey, 14:32.73!; 25. Chris Rapp, 15:03.68
5000m Championship: 26. Chris Bodary, 14:41.06!
3000m Steeplechase Championship: 13. Michael Spooner, 9:17.02
! - personal record, DNF - did not finish, DQ - disqualified, - 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, w - wind-aided
Chase Brannon clears the bar.
Justin Hunter takes flight in the long jump.