May 8, 2010
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The primary objective for J.J Clark's Big Orange track & field teams at Saturday's Tennessee Invitational was to get quality work in during a competitive situation and prepare for next weekend's SEC Championships. The Vols and Lady Vols did that and more, combining for 17 event wins and snaring a school record on a productive day at UT's Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium.
Leading the way, Evander Wells took down the men's school mark in the rarely run 300-meter dash, and Phoebe Wright looked extremely sharp in winning the women's 400m as she aims for her fourth consecutive (indoor/outdoor) SEC 800m crown next week. In all, the UT men won 10 events, while the Lady Vols captured seven titles against a field that included Vanderbilt and East Tennessee State as well as several other in-state schools and at-large entries.
In the final event of the meet, Wells, who led the world for a time this season in the 200, sped 300 meters in 32.72 seconds to snap the 2007 UT mark of 33.30, set by Jacob Dennis. Fellow senior Kyle Stevenson wasn't far off the old mark, covering the distance in 33.38 to place second.
"It is really good to see (Evander run a school-record time )," Clark said. "His speed and strength combination is very, very good right now. That's just going to lead to fast times in the 200 and 100."
Wright, whose specialty is the 800, ran away with the 400 meters on Saturday, cranking out a career-best time of 53.79. The 2010 NCAA Indoor champion in the 800, she was entered at that distance as well earlier in the day and was leading at the 600m mark when she and three-time Olympian Hazel Clark-Riley dropped out as part of their coach's training plan for them. Former Lady Vol Sarah Bowman went on to win in 2:02.25, illustrating the impressive time that Wright was on pace to chart. Wright's teammate, Kimarra McDonald, wound up as the top collegiate performer in that event, running a career-best 2:08.35 to place third.
"She's been running well all year, so I wasn't really surprised, but it is good to see the execution," Clark said of Wright. "We just have to put it all together when it's time next week."
Tennessee swept all three baton events it ran. The Vols won the 4x100m relay in 40.57, with Alan Bachman, Wells, Stevenson and Desmond Brown carrying the baton, while the Lady Vol quartet of Kia Jackson, Ellen Wortham, Martinique Octave and Ashley Harris won in 46.90. The UT women also claimed the 4x4, with Jená Murphy, McDonald, Ramzee Fondren and Kirstyn Sweeney running 3:52.71.
"We were just doing some fine-tuning with the relays," Clark said. "There wasn't any competition, so it was about execution and moving the sticks. It was about working on timing and getting more familiar with the incoming runner and keeping the chemistry going.
"We made a switch on the men's 4x1, putting Bachman on leadoff, and it looks like it's going to pay off just fine. I am pleased with the way both sides are getting it done. We just have to hold the fort down next week and do the best we can."
Like Wright, Samdi Fraser delivered a 400m title for the Big Orange. The senior took the men's crown in 47.55. Emerson Peacock claimed the men's 800 meters for the home team as well, covering the distance in 1:48.96. That mark was just off his career best and ranks him sixth in the SEC this season.
Sophomore Desmond Brown uncorked a career best to win the men's long jump, stretching the tape to 24 feet, 5 1/2 inches. Lady Vol Kia Jackson also had a career best, taking second in the women's competition with a leap of 19-3 1/2.
The UT men collected other event triumphs in the 1500m (Peter Sigilai, 3:46.41), 400m hurdles (Matt Bergquist, 55.45), javelin (Matt Maloney, 217-3/66.21m) and shot put (Ben Bartholomew, 51-11.25/15.83m).
UT also picked up victories in the women's 100m dash (Kia Jackson, 11.76w), 200m dash (Martinique Octave, 24.02w), hammer (Jessie Harrison, 166-9/50.84m) and women's javelin (Holly Kane, 128-9/39.25m).
"Overall, it was one of our best pre-SEC meets, from the standpoint of having a few more teams here than we usually do," Clark said. "It was a little breezy, but the weather was good on the whole.
"We got a lot of things done. We got some relay work done, we had some people accomplish some goals in the 800, Peter ran a season best in the 1500m, we had some good jumps and we did some fine-tuning across the board. I think we're right where we need to be as we approach the SEC meet in a few days."
400m Hurdles: 1. Matt Bergquist, 55.45!
Hammer Throw: 3. Drew Thomas, 173-9/52.95m
Javelin Throw: 1. Matt Maloney, 217-3/66.21m
Shot Put: 1. Ben Bartholomew, 51-11.25/15.83m
Discus Throw: 3. Minor Bowens, 150-8/45.93m
4x100m Relay: 1. Kia Jackson / Ellen Wortham / Martinique Octave / Ashley Harris, 46.90
800m: 3. Kimarra McDonald, 2:08.35!; 6. Jackie Areson, 2:11.13!; 15. Michele Levy, 2:23.77!; 18. Andrea Ferri, 2:29.62!; DNF - Phoebe Wright
100m Hurdles: 2. Chardae Hancock, 14.13w (w: 2.3)
100m: 1. Kia Jackson, 11.76w (w: 3.7)
400m: 1. Phoebe Wright, 53.79!; 2. Nyosha Bryant, 56.38; 3. Charity Honeycutt, 57.88!; 4. Martinique Octave, 57.94; 5. Ramzee Fondren, 58.62!
1500m: 12. Elizabeth Tiller, 5:10.79!
400mH: 2. Ellen Wortham, 59.17; 4. Jená Murphy, 1:02.23!; 5. Chardae Hancock, 1:04.76!; 7. Kirstyn Sweeney, 1:05.40!
200: 1. Martinique Octave, 24.02w (w: 4.0); 2. Nyosha Bryant, 24.09w (w: 4.0); 3. Ashley Harris, 24.46w (w: 4.0); 4. Ellen Wortham, 24.54w (w: 4.0)
4x400m Relay: 1. Jená Murphy / Kimarra McDonald / Ramzee Fondren / Kirstyn Sweeney, 3:52.71
Hammer Throw: 1. Jessie Harrison, 166-9/50.84m; 2. Laquoya Kelly, 163-2/49.74m; 3. Taylor Rotella, 133-3/40.61m
Long Jump: 2. Kia Jackson, 19-3.50/5.88m! (w: 1.5); 3. Nyosha Bryant, 18-7/5.66m (w: 1.7)
Pole Vault: 4. Danielle Coffey, 10-0/3.05m
Javelin Throw: 1. Holly Kane, 128-9/39.25m, 3. Brittany Napoli, 110-9/33.75m; 6. Kirstyn Sweeney, 93-2/28.40m
Shot Put: 2. Aslynn Halvorson, 42-11.50/13.09m
Discus Throw: 2. Jessie Harrison, 151-4/46.13m!; 3. Aslynn Halvorson, 143-0/43.58m
DNF - did not finish; DNR - did not run; DQ - disqualified; f - foul; fr - facility record; m - meters; mr - meet record; nwi - no wind index; p - prelims; sr - school record; ! - personal