May 26, 2011
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Tennessee track & field teams combined Thursday to advance five from the first round to the quarterfinals at the NCAA East Preliminary Round meet at Indiana's wet and chilly Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex.
Four Lady Vols moved on, while one Vol advanced, putting themselves into position to advance to the NCAA meet with a top-12 finish in the next round here this weekend.
Junior Ellen Wortham was the first to take care of business, easily winning heat three of the first round of the women's 400-meter hurdles to automatically advance. The 2011 NCAA leader and SEC champion in that event posted a readout of 57.56 seconds that ranked third-fastest of the 24 qualifiers for Friday's 7 p.m. quarterfinals.
"It was good to see Ellen continue what she has done all year and go out and dominate races and win," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said.
Brittany Sheffey was next, automatically earning a lane in the 1500m quarterfinals. The junior SEC champ charted a 4:29.84 effort in the first round to place second in section two and book a spot in Saturday's 6:30 p.m. race.
"Brittany ran another solid race," Clark said. "She controlled the pace and got in with a strong finish."
Tennessee advanced a Vol and Lady Vol in the 100-meter dash as fog and a swirling mist cooled the temperature significantly during the early evening. As expected, redshirt freshman Dentarius Locke passed through to the quarterfinal round. The SEC runner-up didn't get off to a great start, but he closed hard over the final 40 meters to check in second in heat four of the first round in 10.47. He will run Friday at 6:15 p.m. for a chance at the NCAA Championship meet.
"He didn't have the best start, but he was able to make some corrections during the middle of the race to get him to the next round," Clark said. "That's the objective. You want to fight so that you can live for another day and compete."
Entering the competition ranked 38th, sophomore Kia Jackson shrugged off that ranking and produced one of the top 24 times of the women's 100m first round. Her 11.67 trip down the straightaway earned her a second-place finish in heat three and an automatic berth in Friday's 6 p.m. quarterfinal.
"Kia ran into a negative wind again, but she came close to a PR," Clark said. "So it was good to see her firing on all cylinders."
Junior Chanelle Price capped the day for the Lady Vols as the fourth advancer. The SEC indoor and outdoor champ in the 800m led wire to wire en route to a heat-five-winning 2:06.21 that was the fastest of the first round. She will try to return to the NCAA Outdoor meet when she runs in the quarterfinals on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Freshman Kianna Ruff's 800m season ended, meanwhile, as she placed eighth in heat five in 2:09.60 and 34th overall.
"I was happy to see Chanelle Price continue her domination in the 800," Clark said. "She looked good, and the idea is to advance so that you can get to the national meet."
"It was a good day overall," Clark said. "We expected people to advance, and they did. That's what we want."
In the women's pole vault, Linda Hadfield had to deal with some treacherous conditions. Unfortunately, the UT freshman record-holder was only able to clear 12-1 1/2 on Thursday, tying for 20th place in the gusty wind and light Indiana rain.
True freshman Justin Hunter suffered a disappointing day, missing out on NCAA qualifying opportunities in the high jump and long jump. After clearing 6-7 to tie for 38th in the high jump during the morning session, the indoor long jump All-American saw his chance to garner those honors outdoors slip away. His leap of 23-6 3/4 left him in 27th place. Junior teammate Desmond Brown also missed the cut, winding up 31st with a top mark of 23-4.
"I'm not sure what happened with Justin," Clark said. "I think that he must not have had his steps today and wasn't able to put a mark on the board that would have advanced him. That's track & field. Some days you have it, and some days you don't, so you have to be resilient."
In the women's 400m first round, sophomore Martinique Octave saw her season in that event come to a close. Her 55.97 readout left her fifth in heat three and 35th overall. Vol junior Varick Tucker suffered the same fate in the men's 400, also placing 35th with a 48.59 report that left him sixth in heat four.
Action begins at 1 p.m. on Friday with Annie Alexander in the women's shot put.
100m First Round: Adv. Dentarius Locke, 10.47p (w: 0.5)/2nd, ht. 4
Long Jump Qualifying: 27. Justin Hunter, 23-6.75/7.18m (w: 0.0); 31. Desmond Brown, 23-4/7.11m (w: -0.8)
10,000m Semifinal: 35. Michael Spooner, 30:30.87; 44. Chris Bodary, 31:33.80
400m First Round: 35. Varick Tucker, 48.59p/6th, ht. 4
High Jump Qualifying:t38. Justin Hunter, 6-7/2.01m
400m Hurdles First Round: Adv. Ellen Wortham, 57.56p/1st, ht. 3
1500m First Round: Adv. Brittany Sheffey, 4:29.84p/2nd, ht. 2
100m First Round: Adv. Kia Jackson, 11.67p (w: -0.1)/2nd, ht. 3
800m First Round: Adv. Chanelle Price, 2:06.21p/1st, ht. 5; 34. Kianna Ruff, 2:09.60p/8th, ht. 5
Pole Vault Qualifying: t20. Linda Hadfield, 12-1.50/3.70m
400m First Round: 35. Martinique Octave, 55.97p/5th, ht. 3
! - 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