March 5, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee was notified Monday evening that 10 student-athletes have qualified for the 2012 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. The group leaves Wednesday for Nampa, Idaho, where the meet will be hosted by Boise State University and held Friday and Saturday at Jacksons Indoor Track.
The Vols will be represented by two men, competing in two different field events. Eight Lady Vols saw their tickets punched to the NCAA meet in five total events. Tennessee's women finished seventh at the 2011 NCAA Indoor meet, while the men placed 39th. For the Vols, two individuals will make the trip. Redshirt freshman Matthew Hoty is tied for 14th in the shot put at 62-3 1/4, while sophomore Chase Brannon is tied for 13th with a 17-8 1/4 mark in the pole vault. He cleared that career-best mark at the Virginia Tech Final Qualifier on Saturday to make the NCAA field.
Making the women's field as individuals for the 16th-ranked Big Orange women are seniors Annie Alexander in the shot put (3rd, 58-1), Chanelle Price in the 800 meters (6th, 2:04.25) and Ellen Wortham in the 400 meters (7th, 52.99), who like Brannon made the cut at Va. Tech. UT also qualified its 4x400m relay (11th, 3:34.76) and distance medley relay (11th, 11:02.74). Running on the 4x4 are Wortham, senior Brittany Jones, sophomore Kianna Ruff and junior Martinique Octave. The DMR lineup includes Price, Wortham, junior Nijgia Snapp and senior Brittany Sheffey.
"We are developing a group, and I think it only gets stronger from here," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "I am very happy to see that we have several youngsters going to the NCAA meet. I look forward to having the opportunity to develop from here for the next couple of years to put us in a position to shoot for more titles and trophies. We're in a good spot now to develop on that."
Clark was happy to add Brannon to the NCAA travel party and Wortham in another event via the last chance meet on Saturday.
"Last chance meets, a lot of times, aren't very successful, but this one was," Clark said. "We had people clear heights and run faster than they ever have before, so that is very exciting. We look forward to seeing them compete at the NCAA meet, and hopefully they can match or exceed what they did at Virginia Tech."
Here is a link to the event-by-event listing of qualifiers for the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships: http://www.rtspt.com/ncaa/d1indoor12/
Chase Brannon: Tied for 13th in the men's pole vault field at 17-8 1/4...Cleared that career-best height on March 3 at the Virginia Tech Final Qualifier...Making his first NCAA appearance...Was the third-place finisher at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships, sailing over 17-3 1/4...Came to the program as a walk-on and has become a three-time SEC scorer already during his young career...Stands No. 9 on UT's all-time indoor performers list.
Matthew Hoty: Tied for 14th on the men's shot put NCAA list with a best toss of 62-3 1/4...Reached that mark to card a third-place finish and UT freshman record at the SEC Indoor Championships...Bettered his PR and UT rookie record with his first three throws in the SEC meet...Named to SEC All-Freshman Team...Making his first NCAA appearance...Ranks No. 6 on UT's all-time performers list.
Annie Alexander: Ranked third in the women's shot put field with a career-best and automatic qualifying mark of 58-1...Making fourth NCAA Indoor appearance with finishes of 10th in 2008, third in 2009 and ninth in 2010...Was third in discus and shot at 2011 NCAA Outdoor meet...Won 2012 SEC Indoor shot put title at 55-11 3/4...Four-time All-American, six-time SEC champion, 10-time SEC scorer and nine-time All-SEC performer...Owns school records indoors (58-1) and outdoors (57-11 1/4) in the shot.
Chanelle Price: Ranked sixth in the women's 800m field with an automatic qualifying mark of 2:04.25...Making third NCAA Indoor appearance with finishes of fourth in 2010 and sixth in 2011...Placed third in 800m at 2011 NCAA Outdoor meet...2012 SEC Indoor 800m runner-up and opening leg for UT's winning DMR unit...Also a member of UT's 2012 NCAA DMR unit...Seven-time All-American, two-time NCAA champion, 13-time SEC scorer, five-time SEC champion and seven-time All-SEC performer.
Ellen Wortham: Ranked seventh in the women's 400m field with a career-best time of 52.99...Clocked that readout at the Virginia Tech Final Qualifier on March 3 to qualify...Did not run the 400 at the SEC meet, instead competed in the pentathlon (W/D due to HJ no height), long jump (2nd), 60m hurdles (7th) and 4x4 (4th)....Participating in fourth NCAA Indoor meet...NCAA champion with 2010 DMR unit...Also member of UT's 2012 NCAA 4x4 and DMR units...Six-time All-American, 18-time SEC scorer, two-time SEC champion, four-time All-SEC honoree.
4x400m Relay: Ranked 11th in the women's 4x4 field with a time of 3:34.76...That mark came in a fourth-place finish at the SEC Indoor Championships...Members of team are senior Ellen Wortham, senior Brittany Jones, sophomore Kianna Ruff and junior Martinique Octave...That quartet finished ninth at this meet in 2011 at 3:35.32...Same unit was seventh at 2011 NCAA Outdoors in 3:32.15.
Distance Medley Relay: Ranked 11th in the women's DMR field with at time of 11:02.74...That mark came at the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge on Jan. 27...The quartet includes senior Chanelle Price, senior Ellen Wortham, junior Nijgia Snapp and senior Brittany Sheffey...UT won NCAA Indoor DMR titles in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2010...Everyone but Snapp has run on an NCAA-winning DMR...UT's DMR won at the 2012 SEC Indoor Championships for the sixth-straight season and eighth time in the past nine years.