Jan. 24, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The fourth-ranked University of Tennessee women won eight events to No. 1 Texas A&M's seven, but the Aggies outscored the Lady Vols, 83-69, Saturday afternoon to win a dual meet in the inaugural event held at the Gilliam Indoor Track & Field Stadium at McFerrin Athletic Center.
With a partisan 3,016 fans looking on, including 927 A&M students, the Lady Vols gave a good account of themselves, sweeping all four of the distance events and capturing first in the shot put, weight throw, pole vault and high jump. Along the way, Head Coach J.J. Clark's squad charted an NCAA automatic qualifier and three new provisional marks to boot in UT's first stab at a dual meet in 13 years.
"I thought it was a better performance for us than at Kentucky last weekend," Clark said. "We had some good marks and some people qualify automatically and provisionally for the NCAA meet. Other youngsters put themselves in better positions to get provisionals later on. We just have to stay positive and keep pressing forward."
Reigning SEC Athlete of the Week Sarah Bowman got the Lady Vols off to a rousing start, running away from the field en route to victory in the mile and knocking out an NCAA automatic qualifying mark of four minutes, 35.35 seconds. That effort was just one tenth of a second off the Lady Vol record and gave the senior from Warrenton Va., her second NCAA auto clocking of the young campaign to go along with the 9:11.31 3K time she posted last weekend. Saturday's performance by Bowman is the best in the NCAA thus far in 2009 and goes down as the first national qualifying performance ever produced on the A&M track.
"Sarah looked good, and she looked very comfortable out there," Clark said. "She wanted to hit an auto mark and run right under 4:40, and she hit 4:35. She's off to a good start. We look forward to the rest of the season with her."
Also scoring in the mile for UT, which swept first through fifth places, was junior Jackie Areson (Delray Beach, Fla.) in second with a provisional of 4:47.90. Senior Rolanda Bell (Laurelton, N.Y.) was third in 4:52.00, followed by freshmen Chanelle Price (Easton, Pa.) in fourth at 4:56.33 and Elizabeth Altizer (Bartlett, Tenn.) in fifth at 5:10.42. UT grabbed eight points, based upon a 5-3-2-1 scoring format that also limited each team to two scorers.
Tennessee also dominated in the 800 meters, where junior Phoebe Wright (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) cruised to a career best and near NCAA auto mark of 2:05.71 to hit the line first and lead another eight-point barrage. In addition to Wright's NCAA-leading and provisional performance, sophomore Brittany Sheffey (Bellport, N.Y.) kicked in three more by taking second in 2:15.59 in a race where Team Orange swept first through fourth places.
"Phoebe came in and ran a personal best; it was very tough," Clark said. "She also looked good. Just missing the auto mark shows she is ready and moving in the right direction for the end of the season. That's what we shoot for."
Clark's squad completed a sweep of the individual distance events when senior Katie Van Horn (Glendora, N.J.) captured the 5000 meters in 17:12.17. Van Horn, who won the third indoor 5K race of her career, jockeyed back and forth for the lead with the Aggies' Christina Munoz several times during the race before making the decisive move to the front with 300 meters to go. Freshman Ally Colvin (Maryville, Tenn.) generated another point for fourth in 18:11.11.
The Big Orange added the cherry on top of the distance decadence and captured its final victory of the meet by winning the distance medley relay in 11:47.40. Carrying the baton for Team Orange were Areson, Price, Bowman and Sheffey. UT's "B" unit of Bell, senior Kimarra McDonald (Lumberton, N.J.), Altizer and junior Michele Levy (Rockville, Md.) finished second in 12:25.67.
Earlier, in the pole vault, senior Alicia Essex (Purcellville, Va.) came through with her second triumph in as many weeks. She did so impressively, clearing a career-best and NCAA provisional height of 13-0 3/4. That mark is the third best clearance ever recorded by a Lady Vol, ranking behind Christie Elwin's 2003 effort of 13-2 1/4 and Jessica Reust's 2005 flight of 13-01.
Sophomore Annie Alexander (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) came through with a pair of victories. First, in the shot put, she ripped out an NCAA provisional throw of 54 feet, 6 3/4 inches on her first throw of the competition to help UT score seven in that event. Freshman Laquoya Kelly (Nashville, Tenn.) made a contribution to the Big Orange's bottom line by taking second with a personal-record toss of 44-7.
Alexander also added a win in the weight throw, tossing the implement 54-7 1/2 to collect five points. Kelly, meanwhile, had a toss of 46-6 to take fourth and add another point.
"Annie is definitely showing consistency, and coach (John) Frazier is excited and believes she is close to popping a big one," Clark said. "Her coming in and winning the shot and weight today was good for her and for our team. Also, Laquoya (Kelly) getting a PR in the shot and scoring for us in both events is good stuff for our program."
Tennessee's seventh individual triumph of the meet came in the high jump, where freshman Ellen Wortham (Maryville, Tenn.) cleared the bar at a career-best 5-6 1/2 to take first.
The Lady Vols also collected five points in the 60m hurdles. Senior Celriece Law (Denver, Colo.) rolled down the track to take second in 8.56, while Wortham was third in 9.19. Junior Jená Murphy (Memphis, Tenn.) was seventh in 10.74. Law came back later to chip in two points in the long jump with a leap of 17-9.
In the sprints, junior Lynne Layne (New Rochelle, N.Y.) registered her initial provisional of 2009, breaking up the Aggie sprint juggernaut with a runner-up readout of 7.41. Also contributing to the UT four-point effort in the short sprint was freshman Ashley Harris (Austell, Ga.) in eighth with a PR of 7.83.
Layne came back later in the afternoon to finish fifth in the 200 meters in 24.64, while senior Amanda Alexander (Nashville, Tenn.) chipped in a point for seventh with a PR of 25.74. Alexander also kicked in two points earlier in the day in the 400m, where she placed fourth in a career-best 57.36.
Tennessee closed out the meet by taking second in the 4x400m relay in 3:48.59. Wortham, Wright, freshman Ramzee Fondren (Detroit, Mich.) and Layne moved the stick around the oval for UT, with Wright running a particularly inspired leg and putting the Lady Vols into the lead after the second leg.
"Lynne Layne and Celriece Law looked better today in the sprints and hurdles," Clark said. "I was very happy to see that. Alicia Essex showed her consistency in the vault and had a PR, and Ellen Wortham got a PR and a win for us in the high jump.
"These are exciting things, and we'll need all these folks contributing to the effort for us to do well later this season at the conference meet."
The Lady Vols will return to action next weekend, as they compete in the Penn State National Invitational on Friday and Saturday. Some members of the UT squad will make a return trip to College Station later this season, as the NCAA Indoor Championships are hosted by Texas A&M on March 13-14.
|SATURDAY, JAN. 24|
|EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)|
|Mile (Auto: 4:38.00; Prov: 4:48.00)b 2:00 p.m. CT|
|1st (5)||Sarah Bowman||4:35.35b!*|
|2nd (3)||Jackie Areson||4:47.90b+|
|Shot Put (Auto: 16.90, Prov: 15.20) 2:00 p.m. CT|
|1st (5)||Annie Alexander||54-6.75/16.63m+|
|3rd (2)||Laquoya Kelly||44-7/13.59m!|
|Pole Vault (Auto: 4.20, Prov: 3.95) 2:00 p.m. CT|
|1st (5)||Alicia Essex||13-0.25/3.98m!+|
|Long Jump (Auto: 6.35, Prov: 6.10) 2:00 p.m. CT|
|4th (2)||Celriece Law||17-9/5.41m|
|60mH (Auto: 8.14; Prov: 8.43) 2:25 p.m. CT|
|2nd (3)||Celriece Law||8.56|
|3rd (2)||Ellen Wortham||9.19|
|400m (Auto: 52.40, Prov: 54.40)b 2:35 p.m. CT|
|4th (2)||Amanda Alexander||57.36b!|
|60m (Auto: 7.26; Prov: 7.44) 3:00 p.m. CT|
|2nd (3)||Lynne Layne||7.41+|
|8th (1)||Ashley Harris||7.83!|
|800m (Auto: 2:05.40, Prov: 2:09.40)b 3:15 p.m. CT|
|1st (5)||Phoebe Wright||2:05.71b!+|
|2nd (3)||Brittany Sheffey||2:15.59b|
|Wt. Throw (Auto: 21.00, Prov: 18.75) 3:15 p.m. CT|
|1st (5)||Annie Alexander||54-7.50/16.65m!|
|4th (1)||Laquoya Kelly||46-6/14.17m|
|High Jump (Auto: 1.85, Prov: 1.78) 3:15 p.m. CT|
|1st (5)||Ellen Wortham||5-6.50/1.69m!|
|Triple Jump (Auto: 13.30, Prov: 12.65) 3:15 p.m. CT|
|200m (Auto: 23.20, Prov: 23.90)b 3:25 p.m. CT|
|5th (2)||Lynne Layne||24.64b|
|7th (1)||Amanda Alexander||25.74b!|
|DQ||Ashley Harris||(25.38b)Lane Violation|
|5000m (Auto: 16:08.00, Prov: 16:45.00)b 3:45 p.m. CT|
|1st (5)||Katie Van Horn||17:12.17b|
|4th (1)||Ally Colvin||18:11.11b!|
|DMR (Auto: 11:09.00, Prov: 11:30.00)b 4:20 p.m. CT|
|1st (5)|| Jackie Areson/Chanelle Price|
Sarah Bowman/Brittany Sheffey
|2nd|| Rolanda Bell/Kimarra McDonald|
Elizabeth Altizer/Michele Levy
|4x400mR (Auto: 3:33.00, Prov: 3:40.00)b 4:45 p.m. CT|
|2nd (3)|| Ellen Wortham/Phoebe Wright|
Ramzee Fondren/Lynne Layne
|4th|| Charity Honeycutt/Ashley Harris|
Chelsea Knotts/Jená Murphy
|KEY: b - Banked Track Qualifying Standard, dnf - Did Not Finish, dnr - Did Not Run, f - Facility Record, fts - Flat Track Qualifying Standard, 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|