Aug. 4, 2010
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) has announced its annual academic awards, and the University of Tennessee track & field program once again has proven to be among the nation's leaders in the classroom.
For the third straight season, a University of Tennessee woman has been named the USTFCCCA Indoor Track Scholar Athlete of the Year. Following on the heels of Sarah Bowman winning the award the past two seasons, Lady Vol senior Phoebe Wright has been selected as the recipient in 2010.
The UT women's squad also was recognized for its cumulative prowess in the classroom once again. The Lady Vols earned USTFCCCA Indoor Track & Field Scholar Team of the Year kudos for the second straight season. UT's women fashioned a 3.14 grade point average to earn the distinction as a result of being the highest-placing team with at least a 3.00-cumulative GPA at the most recent NCAA Indoor Championship.
Tennessee claimed 36 team points and claimed second place at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships. Wright claimed the national crown in the 800 meters with a 2:02.55 run in the final. Wright also led off the Lady Vol distance medley relay to its third straight national title along with sophomores Ellen Wortham, Chanelle Price and Brittany Sheffey. Price also finished fourth in the 800. In addition, senior Jackie Areson added third- and fourth-place showings at the national meet in the 5000 and 3000 meters, respectively.
Wright also was one of seven Lady Vols and two Vols to be honored on the 551-member 2010 USTFCCCA Division I All-Academic Track & Field Team. The other female UT honorees included Areson (3.62 GPA), freshman Aslynn Halvorson (3.91), junior Holly Kane (3.79), freshman Martinique Octave (3.42), Price (3.94) and Wortham (3.81). Tennessee men named to the squad were seniors John Hewitt (3.46) and Matt Maloney (3.45).
To qualify for the USTFCCCA All-Academic Track & Field Team, the student-athletes must have compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 and have met either the NCAA Division I Indoor automatic or provisional qualifying standard or participated in the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships (including preliminary rounds) in their respective events.
Wright, meanwhile, joined Kylie Hutson of Indiana State (indoor field), Lisa Koll of Iowa State (outdoor track) and Evelien Dekkers of Florida (outdoor field) as the Scholar Athletes of the Year in Division I. The Scholar Athlete award recipients are determined from among those who earned All-Academic status and placed highest in individual events at the most recent NCAA Championships. Those who earned multiple individual championship titles ranked higher in the tie-breaking process, and cumulative GPA is weighed as the final tiebreaker to establish a winner. Separate awards are given to track athletes and field athletes and separately for the indoor and outdoor seasons, resulting in four categories.
A native of Signal Mountain, Tenn., and a graduate of Red Bank High School, Wright forged a 3.97 grade point average in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, as well as ecology and evolutionary biology. She recently exhausted her collegiate eligibility and is slated to graduate in December.
Academically, Wright is a two-time first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American and a four-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member. She was selected as the SEC's H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year for all sports and the SEC Track & Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She garnered UT Athletics' Lady Vol Scholar-Athlete of the Year kudos at the VOLSCARS awards banquet, earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and is UT's nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year.
On the track, Wright swept NCAA and SEC Indoor and Outdoor titles in the 800 meters this season and completed her career having won 25 of 27 collegiate 800m races over the past two seasons. She also aided Tennessee's distance medley relay to its third straight triumph at the NCAA Indoor meet. She wound up a nine-time All-American and five-time NCAA champion as well as a seven-time SEC champ and 14-time scorer in league action. She also added three Penn Relays Championships of America, giving her six in two years after UT swept the distance medley, 4x1500m and 4x800m relays for the second consecutive year. In the 4x8, she recorded the fastest 800m leg split in meet history at 2:00.89.