Jan. 15, 2005
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Nicole Cook rolled to victory with an NCAA automatic qualifying time in the 800 meters, Tianna Madison came up with a provisional mark in the long jump and the 4x400-meter relay closed out the meet with a provisional reading of its own Saturday afternoon, leading the top-ranked University of Tennessee women's track & field team at the Virginia Tech Invitational.
Cook, a senior from Petersburg, Va., earned her fourth-straight trip to the NCAA Indoor Championship with a sterling season debut in the 800m at Virginia Tech's Rector Field House. The defending NCAA champ rolled to an automatic clocking of 2:04.30, which is more than a second faster than the time she opened with a year ago. She also hit the auto standard in her first 800m race of 2004, winning in 2:05.60 at the SEC Invitational. Sophomore Mindy Sullivan (Lubbock, Texas) ran in today's race as well and was 11th in 2:16.18.
Cook got out well but yielded to former South Carolina standout Lashinda Demus, who set the tone for the initial 400 meters. After the first two laps, however, Cook and former Florida All-American Kristina Bratton moved to the front, with Bratton taking the lead. The final lap was all Cook's, however, as the 10-time Lady Vol All-American proved too strong over the closing 200 meters. Bratton settled for second in 2:04.95, while ex-UT standout Kameisha Bennett was third in 2:06.41.
Madison, meanwhile, carded a strong NCAA provisional and a career best with her very first attempt. The sophomore from Elyria, Ohio, soared to 20 feet, 8 1/2 inches (6.31m) to forge a second-place finish behind Maryland's Kierra Foster (21-2.50/6.46m). The UT coaching staff opted for Madison to skip the finals and run in the 4x400-meter relay, so she did not have a chance to match Foster's effort. Other Lady Vols in the long jump included sophomore Edra Finley (Mobile, Ala.) taking sixth at 18-9.25/5.72m and junior Caitlin Ward (Gibsonia, Pa.) finishing 22nd at 17-5.25/5.31m.
The meet closed on a very positive note, as UT Head Coach J.J. Clark entered three quartets in the 4x400-meter relay, and his "A" unit rewarded him with a time that met the NCAA provisional standard. That quartet, which included senior Antoinette Gorham (Glenarden, Md.), Cook, junior Patricia Hall (St. Ann, Jamaica) and freshman Courtney Champion (Lawrenceville, Ga.), circled the oval in 3:37.98 to narrowly place second behind South Carolina (3:37.20). UT's other combinations and their finishes were freshman LaTonya Loche (Bastrop, La.), freshman Cleo Tyson (Huntsville, Texas), senior Toyin Olupona (Orillia, Ontario, Canada) and sophomore Leslie Treherne (Chesapeake, Va.) in fifth at 3:46.61 and Madison, Sullivan, Finley and junior Brooke Novak (Kaukauna, Wis.) in 10th at 3:54.50.
In the shot put, junior April Thomas unleashed the best throw by a Lady Vol in 10 years, seizing victory with a heave of 49-11.25/15.22m on her second attempt. She climbed all the way to number four on UT's all-time performers list in the shot, trailing only Rose Hauch, Alana Preston and Patricia Walsh. Freshman Shanna Dickenson (Cincinnati, Ohio) had a personal record of her own, flinging the ball 42-4.75/12.92m to take 11th.
Olupona also represented the Big Orange well in the 60-meter dash finals, garnering runner-up distinction with a time of 7.50. Alexis Joyce of South Carolina was the winner in 7.43. Olupona, the 2004 NCAA Indoor 60-meter dash runner-up, has not finished out of the top three in that event at any meet since 2003.
In the 400 meters, Hall looked very solid in her UT debut, and Gorham impressively uncorked a personal record by a full second. Hall, a former junior college national champion at Barton County (Kan.) Community College, opened the year with a 55.34 clocking that was good for fourth place out of 41 competitors, while Gorham, an 800-meter runner, took eighth in 55.89. Fellow half-mile specialist, sophomore Leslie Treherne, was 13th in 57.25.
After posting Tennessee's fastest 60-meter dash reading on Friday night at 7.35, Champion reeled off the best 200-meter race of the day by a Lady Vol. Her 24.08 clip was good enough for fifth place, while classmates Tyson and Loche came in sixth and 13th, respectively, in times of 24.15 and 24.87. Former UT sprint star and Olympic gold medalist Dee Dee Trotter took the title Saturday, zipping to victory in 23.55.
The mile run featured three Lady Vols, and senior Elizabeth McCalley (Knoxville, Tenn.) posted the best finish, taking seventh in 5:02.64. Sophomore Carly Matthews (Winston-Salem, N.C.) was eighth in 5:06.90, charting a six-second college personal best, while sophomore Megan Cauble (Knoxville, Tenn.) was 15th in a time of 5:14.11. Former Lady Vol Lindsay Hyatt claimed victory in 4:50.81, while J.J. Clark's sister, Hazel Clark, was fifth in 5:01.31.
Tennessee was represented by a quintet of distance runners in the 3000 meters, with sophomore Felicia Guliford (Gallup, N.M.) leading the charge. Guliford rated fifth in 9:42.76 and was just shy of her career best. Other orange-clad contestants included Novak in seventh at 9:54.59, junior Katie Flaute (Dayton, Ohio) in eighth at 9:56.63, Matthews in ninth in a career-best 9:57.19 and Cauble in 10th at 9:58.87. Post-collegiate athletes Treniere Clement (Georgetown) and Sharon Dickie (Tennessee), who train with J.J. Clark, were first and second in 9:26.99 and 9:28.03, respectively.
In the high jump, Finley matched a career best, clearing 5-1/1.55m to place fifth. Ward, meanwhile, was unable to traverse the opening height of 4-11/1.50m.
"We had a good start last year at our first big meet, and this year we matched last year's effort despite it being a week earlier in our training," Coach Clark said. "We were able to get an NCAA auto in the 800m and provisionals in the 60m, long jump and 4x400m relay. It was also good to see our throws group coming around and nearly getting a provisional in the shot put, too.
"Whenever you open against an SEC opponent like we did this weekend with South Carolina, it is always a great meet. I am proud of the group as a whole. We are methodically working the rust off and getting ourselves ready for the end of the season."
The Lady Vols are off next weekend, but they will return to action on Jan. 28 and 29, when they travel to University Park, Pa., for the Penn State Invitational.
|EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)|
|High Jump (Auto: 1.84, Prov: 1.78) 10:00 a.m.|
|5th Edra Finley 5-1/1.55m!|
|nm Caitlin Ward (missed at 4-11)|
|Shot Put (Auto: 16.90, Prov: 15.40) 11:00 a.m.|
|1st April Thomas 49-11.25/15.22m!|
|11th Shanna Dickenson 42-4.75/12.92m!|
|400m Final (Auto: 52.40, Prov: 54.40)b 11:00 a.m.|
|4th Patricia Hall 55.34b/1st, ht. 5|
|8th Antoinette Gorham 55.89!b/3rd, ht. 2|
|13th Leslie Treherne 57.25!b/5th, ht. 2|
|Mile Final (Auto: 4:38.50; Prov: 4:47.00)b 12:05 p.m.|
|7th Elizabeth McCalley 5:02.64b/6th, ht.1|
|8th Carly Matthews 5:06.90b!/2nd, ht.2|
|15th Megan Cauble 5:14.11b/5th, ht.2|
|Long Jump (Auto: 6.40, Prov: 6.10) 1:00 p.m.|
|2nd Tianna Madison 20-8.50/6.31m!+|
|6th Edra Finley 18-9.25/5.72m|
|22nd Caitlin Ward 17-5.25/5.31m|
|60m Final (Auto: 7.27; Prov: 7.44) 1:05 p.m.|
|2nd Toyin Olupona 7.50|
|800m Final (Auto: 2:05.65, Prov: 2:09.00)b 1:15 p.m.|
|1st Nicole Cook 2:04.30b*|
|11th Mindy Sullivan 2:16.18b|
|200m Final (Auto: 23.30; Prov: 23.90)b 2:05 p.m.|
|5th Courtney Champion 24.08b|
|6th Cleo Tyson 24.15!b|
|13th LaTonya Loche 24.87!b|
|3000m Final (Auto: 9:16.00; Prov: 9:35.00)b 2:45 p.m.|
|5th Felicia Guliford 9:42.76b|
|7th Brooke Novak 9:54.59b|
|8th Katie Flaute 9:56.63b|
|9th Carly Matthews 9:57.19!b|
|10th Megan Cauble 9:58.87b|
|4x400mR Final (Auto: 3:33.50; Prov: 3:40.00)b 4:15 p.m.|
|2nd Antoinette Gorham/Nicole Cook 3:37.98+b|
|Patricia Hall/Courtney Champion|
|5th LaTonya Loche/Cleo Tyson 3:46.61b|
|Toyin Olupona/Leslie Treherne|
|10th Tianna Madison/Mindy Sullivan 3:54.50b|
|Edra Finley/Brooke Novak|
|60mH Trials (Auto: 8.15; Prov: 8.43) 4:30 p.m.|
|Adv. Edra Finley 9.27p!/5th, ht 5|
|Caitlin Ward 9.61p/5th, ht. 1|
|Catherine Wright 9.62p!/5th, ht. 3|
|Pole Vault (Auto: 4.20, Prov: 3.95) 5:00 p.m.|
|1st Jessica Andrews 11-11.75/3.65m!|
|3rd Jessica Reust 11-5.75/3.50m|
|Wt. Throw (Auto: 20.50, Prov: 18.50) 5:00 p.m.|
|4th April Thomas 56-4.75/17.19m!|
|6th Shanna Dickenson 51-5.75/15.69m!|
|60m Trials (Auto: 7.27; Prov: 7.44) 5:10 p.m.|
|Adv. Tianna Madison 7.40p+/1st, ht. 3|
|Adv. Courtney Champion 7.42p+/1st, ht. 5|
|Adv. Toyin Olupona 7.44p+/1st, ht. 2|
|Adv. LaTonya Loche 7.54p!/3rd, ht. 1|
|60mH Semis (Auto: 8.15; Prov: 8.43) 7:05 p.m.|
|15th Edra Finley 9.24p!/8th, ht. 1|
|60m Semis (Auto: 7.27; Prov: 7.44) 7:20 p.m.|
|Adv./Scr. Courtney Champion 7.35p!+/1st, ht. 2|
|Adv./Scr. Toyin Olupona 7.39p+/3rd, ht. 1|
|Adv./Scr. Tianna Madison 7.42p+/2nd, ht. 2|
|LaTonya Loche 7.54p!/5th, ht. 2|
|Adv./Scr.: Qualified for finals but scratched/will run 200m Saturday|
|DMR Final (Auto: 11:12.50; Prov: 11:32.20)b 8:20 p.m.|
|4th Mindy Sullivan/Antoinette Gorham 11:36:64b|
|Nicole Cook/Katie Flaute|
|5th Elizabeth McCalley/Caitlin Ward 11:46.83b|
|Leslie Treherne/Felicia Guliford|
|b - Banked Track Qualifying Standard, dnf - Did Not Finish, dnr - Did Not Run, f - Facility Record, m - Meters, mr - Meet Record, nm - No Mark Recorded, p - Prelims, s - School Record (Indoors), u - Undersized Track Qualifying Standard, * - NCAA Automatic Qualifier, + - NCAA Provisional Qualifier, ! - Personal Record (Indoors), ^ - Oversized Track Qualifying Standard|