Ellen Wortham ran the 400m leg for UT's DMR.
Jan. 27, 2012
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Lady Vol distance medley relay team didn't waste any time qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships. The Tennessee DMR tandem met the automatic standard Friday night at the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge with one of the fastest clockings in school history.
The quartet of seniors Chanelle Price and Ellen Wortham, junior Nijgia Snapp and senior Brittany Sheffey covered the distance in 11 minutes, 2.74 seconds to card the No. 2 mark in the NCAA this season and the fifth-best readout in school history. It also stands as the top mark ever recorded by a Big Orange tandem in the month of January. That quartet will join senior Annie Alexander, who qualified for NCAAs in the shot put last weekend, at the NCAA meet in Nampa, Idaho, on March 9-10.
Tennessee, which has won four NCAA titles and seven SEC crowns in the DMR under Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark, finished second Friday night behind Oregon, which clocked in at 10:56.31. The squads were the only ones at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium to meet the auto mark of 11:03.50.
The Lady Vols earned eight points, while Florida's six points for third gave the SEC a total of 14 and put the league in second place in the conference showdown. The Pac-12 leads with 15, while the Big 12 is third with four.
"Three days ago, we weren't going to run our strongest lineup down here," Clark said. "At the last minute, we switched it and took advantage of the opportunity to run on this track. I'm glad we did.
"We ran a good race all the way through the last leg. The focus was to compete and qualify, and that's what we did. I believe there will be more in the tank when it's time."
The UT men also ran the DMR, coming away with a fifth-place finish and four points for the SEC. The combination of junior Chris Bodary, senior Deaundra Dailey, freshman Nick Kaiser and redshirt freshman Alex McCandless circled the oval in 10:11.17. The Vols' contribution helped the SEC stand in third place with 12 points after the DMR and 5K on Friday evening. The Big 12 is first with 30, while the Pac-12 scored 15.
"Obviously, we always want to win on both the men's and women's teams," Clark said. "Our guys got some good work in, and we'll keep getting faster as the season goes on. Given some circumstances with our lineup, we did as well as we could for right now, and I'm proud of their efforts."
The meet swings into high gear on Saturday, and the Big Orange will first compete at 12:30 p.m. Central time in the 60m hurdles prelims. For complete information about the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge, please visit UT's Meet Central page at http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-track/spec-rel/012612aal.html.
Distance Medley Relay: 5. Chris Bodary / Deaundra Dailey / Nick Kaiser / Alex McCandless, 10:11.17b
* - NCAA Automatic Mark, ! - Personal Best, ^ - Oversized Track, $ - SEC Record, a - American Record, b - Banked Track, c - Collegiate Record, dnf - Did Not Finish, dq - Disqualified, dnr - Did Not Run, F - Foul, f - Facility Record, fr - Freshman Record, fs - False Start, H - Heptathlon, h - Hand-Timed, mr - Meet Record, nm - No Mark, p - Time Run In Prelims, P - Pentathlon, sr - School Record, u - Undersized Track, w - World Record