May 24, 2011
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee's Dentarius Locke was named Men's Freshman Runner of the Year and Chanelle Price was chosen Women's Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year, as the Southeastern Conference announced its 2011 outdoor track & field awards on Tuesday morning.
Locke, a redshirt freshman from Tampa, Fla., became the first Big Orange running event athlete since sprinter Justin Gatlin in 2001 to earn SEC Freshman of the Year honors outdoors and only the fourth UT male rookie athlete to earn outdoor freshman distinction since the award began in 2000. Decathlete Stephen Harris was Co-Freshman of the Year in 2000, Gatlin was a solo winner in 2001 and pole vaulter Joe Berry grabbed Freshman Field Event Athlete of the Year kudos in 2008 after the SEC began giving separate running event and field event awards in 2004.
While the product of Chamberlain High School got out of the blocks slowly during the outdoor campaign after his All-America indoor season, he bounced back in strong fashion from a slight hamstring pull. His wind-aided readout of 10.12 (3.0 mps) seconds in the SEC final propelled him to runner-up status by a mere 1/100th of a second with the fastest time he has ever logged. He returned to the track later in the day to check in third in the 200 meters in a 20.59 clocking that was just shy of his career best in that event.
In addition to assisting UT to a point at SECs with an eighth-place effort in the 4x100m relay, Locke was a double winner in the sprints at the UT-UCLA Dual, tying Willie Gault's meet record in the 100m at 10.29. The rookie already stands number nine on UT's all-time performers list in the 200m and 12th in the 100m.
Price, meanwhile, became the fourth straight Lady Vol to garner or share women's scholar-athlete accolades, tying with Auburn distance runner Holly Knight. Price follows in the footsteps of former teammates Sarah Bowman in 2008 and 2009, and Phoebe Wright in 2010. The junior from Easton, Pa., possesses a 3.92 grade point average in journalism and electronic media, but she also has elite athletic ability, as witnessed by her sweep of the SEC indoor and outdoor 800m championships this season.
The six-time All-American and 11-time SEC scorer also contributed to UT's SEC meet-record-setting distance medley relay unit indoors in 2011 and ran a leg on the Lady Vols' seventh-place outdoor 4x400m relay unit. At the national level this season, she finished sixth in the 800 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships and handled a leg on the eighth-place DMR quartet. She also ran on the school's NCAA champion DMR tandems in 2009 and 2010 and the SEC champion DMR in 2010.
Price, who has been part of two world records, three American- and collegiate-best marks, four UT bests and an SEC record on relays, ranks No. 6 all-time outdoors at UT in the 800 with a lifetime-best mark of 2:01.33. She is fourth indoors at 2:03.12.
In terms of All-SEC recognition, Tennessee had seven honorees. Berry was a first-team selection for winning the men's pole vault, obtaining the fifth conference crown of his career. Locke, for his runner-up effort in the 100m, nabbed second-team accolades.
Lady Vols Annie Alexander (shot put, discus throw), Liz Costello (5000m, 10,000m), Price (800m), Brittany Sheffey (1500m) and Ellen Wortham (400m hurdles) were first-team selections for their victorious performances. Costello broke a 1983 SEC meet record in the 10,000m with her 33:42.96 readout, while Wortham snapped a facility record at Georgia's Spec Towns Track with her career-best 55.70 trip around the oval that ranks No. 2 all-time at Tennessee and No. 1 in the NCAA this season.
Leading the SEC All-Freshman Team charge for UT was Locke, who made it as the top rookie finisher in both the men's 100m and 200m dashes. Chase Brannon (fifth) and Ford Bell (13th) also made the squad for their placings in the pole vault and 800m, respectively.
Linda Hadfield was the lone Lady Vol to make the women's SEC All-Freshman Team. She did so with a career-best mark of 13-1 3/4 that placed her sixth at the league meet and No. 4 on UT's all-time performers list.
In other SEC Outdoor awards announced Tuesday, sprinter Kirani James of Alabama claimed SEC Men's Runner of the Year, while LSU sprinter Semoy Hackett grabbed SEC Women's Runner of the Year accolades. SEC Field Athletes of the Year included jumper Will Claye of Florida and pole vaulter Tina Sutej of Arkansas
Freshman Runners of the Year were Locke and LSU sprinter Jasmin Stowers, and Freshman Field Athletes of the Year were thrower Stephen Saenz of Auburn and jumper Rochelle Farquharson of Mississippi State. The Coaches of the Year were Chris Bucknam of Arkansas for the men and Dennis Shaver of LSU for the women.