Jan. 29, 2005
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Nicole Cook's fantastic third leg on the 4x400-meter relay fueled the Lady Vols to victory in an NCAA-leading time and helped the No. 1-ranked Tennessee women's track & field team close out the Penn State Invitational Saturday afternoon in impressive fashion.
Cook, a senior from Petersburg, Va., grabbed the baton from junior Patricia Hall (St. Ann, Jamaica) with the Big Orange trailing host Penn State by about five meters. The 10-time UT All-American then proceeded to reel in her opponent on the first trip around the oval and ran away from the Nittany Lion runner on lap two en route to a sizzling 51.9 split, handing the stick to freshman anchor Courtney Champion (Lawrenceville, Ga.) with a 15- to 20-meter advantage. Champion capably covered the rest of the distance to hit the tape at 3:34.38, which broke the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track record of 3:36.82 that Florida had held since 2000.
That reading also represents the fastest time in the women's collegiate ranks in 2005, unseating South Carolina's 3:36.39 effort on Jan. 22 by two seconds. With freshman LaTonya Loche (Bastrop, La.) providing a 53.9 leadoff, Tennessee's performance Saturday stands as the third-best in school history behind only last year's NCAA clocking of 3:31.49 and its SEC effort of 3:32.59.
"Our time in the 4x4 shows we have a serious team in that area," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "It's nice to know, with two of the legs being freshmen and another being a junior, that we should have three of these legs back again next year."
Tennessee began the day on the track in impressive fashion, as Cook and Loche clicked off NCAA provisionals and career bests in the 400 meters. Cook, whose specialty is the 800 meters, logged a full-second PR in the 400m en route to a second-place finish of 53.04, while Loche flashed her potential as a 4x400m relay candidate by taking third in 53.89. Those marks rank Cook and Loche second and sixth, respectively, on UT's all-time performers list. Junior Patricia Hall (St. Ann, Jamaica), meanwhile, was sixth in 55.42.
"Nicole showed up big and provided great leadership by running a fast 400m and stepping up big later in the relay," Clark said. "She has been very focused and is helping us develop into a national-caliber team."
Later in the day, sophomore Tianna Madison (Elyria, Ohio) uncorked her career best in heat two of the 200 meters, racing to a 23.92 readout that just missed the provisional cut. Only Penn State freshman Shana Cox was faster, running a 23.48 race in heat one, as she and Madison both topped 2004 U.S. Olympic 4x100m relay alternate and former Nittany Lion standout Connie Moore (23.97). Tennessee rookie Cleo Tyson (Huntsville, Texas) also came through with a personal record, hitting the finish line at 24.04 to take fourth, while classmate Courtney Champion (Lawrenceville, Ga.) was seventh in 24.12. Madison moved to fifth on the UT all-time performers list in the 200m, while Tyson climbed to seventh and Champion stands at eighth.
"We had some solid marks in the 4x4, the sprints and the jumps this weekend," Clark said. "We had some good sprints in the quarter and relay from one of our freshmen (Loche) today, too. We continue to put the pieces together for the SEC and NCAA meets, and this meet was just another step toward that goal."
Elsewhere, junior April Thomas (Albany, Ga.) fashioned a second-place performance in the shot put, carding a best throw of 49-7.75/15.13m, while freshman Shanna Dickenson (Cincinnati, Ohio) also made the finals and took eighth at 42-1.50/12.84m.
In the 800 meters, an orange-clad trio crossed the finish line 2-3-4. Senior Antoinette Gorham (Glenarden, Md.) led the way, claiming runner-up honors in 2:12.85, while sophomores Leslie Treherne (Chesapeake, Va.) and Mindy Sullivan (Lubbock, Texas) were third and fourth in 2:12.87 and 2:13.30, respectively.
The mile run featured four Lady Vols competing, and junior Brooke Novak (Kaukauna, Wis.) recorded the fastest time. Her 4:50.06 readout was good for third place, while sophomore Felicia Guliford (Gallup, N.M.) was sixth in a career-best 4:51.91 and classmate Carly Matthews (Winston-Salem, N.C.) took 13th in a personal-best 5:05.48. Former Lady Vol Lindsay Hyatt grabbed fourth in 4:50.53, while sophomore Megan Cauble (Knoxville, Tenn.) started but did not finish.
In the final distance event of the meet, junior Katie Flaute (Dayton, Ohio) covered the 3000-meter distance in a career-topping 9:46.68 to place seventh, while senior Elizabeth McCalley (Knoxville, Tenn.) ran but did not complete the race.
In other field event action, sophomore Edra Finley (Mobile, Ala.) managed a finish of ninth in the triple jump, landing a top leap of 38-6/11.73m after competing in the pentathlon and finishing sixth on Friday. Junior Caitlin Ward (Gibsonia, Pa.), the third-place finisher in the pentathlon a day earlier, came back Saturday to compete in the high jump, but she was unable to clear the opening height.
Tennessee was originally scheduled to take part in the Husker Invitational next weekend but has opted not to make that trip to Lincoln, Neb. The Lady Vols will now gear up for the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., on Feb. 11-12.
NOTES: Tennessee now owns four Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track records at Penn State, and Head Coach J.J. Clark's wife, Jearl Miles-Clark, owns another...Tianna Madison tied the long jump mark Friday night (20-10.75), and the 4x400m relay ran 3:34.38 today....UT's distance medley relay ran 11:03.42 in 2004, while Dee Dee Trotter also set the 200-meter dash mark at 23.19...Both of those 2004 marks were also UT records...JMC logged a 1:08.71 count in the 500 meters a year ago, a mark that also set the American record...UT sprint coach Caryl Smith Gilbert, who came to the Lady Vols from Alabama, was Penn State's sprint coach from 1997-99.
|SATURDAY, JAN. 29|
|Shot Put (Auto: 16.90, Prov: 15.40) 10 a.m.|
|Triple Jump (Auto: 13.30, Prov: 12.65) 10 a.m.|
|400m (Auto: 52.40, Prov: 54.40)b 11 a.m.|
|800m (Auto: 2:05.65, Prov: 2:09.00)b 1 p.m.|
|High Jump (Auto: 1.84, Prov: 1.78) 2 p.m.|
|Mile (Auto: 4:38.50; Prov: 4:47.00)b 2:05 p.m.|
|200m (Auto: 23.30; Prov: 23.90)b 2:45 p.m.|
|3000m (Auto: 9:16.00; Prov: 9:35.00)b 3:35 p.m.|
|4x400mR (Auto: 3:33.50; Prov: 3:40.00)b 4:20 p.m.|
|1st||LaTonya Loche/Patricia Hall/Nicole Cook/Courtney Champion||3:34.38b+|
|FRIDAY, JAN. 28|
|Pentathlon (Auto: 4,050, Prov: 3,700) (55mH/HJ/SP/LJ/800m) Noon|
|3rd||Caitlin Ward (8.72!/5-2.25!/35-4/18-1.50!/2:28.32)||3,570|
|6th||Edra Finley (8.33!/5-4.50!/26-4.25!/18-2.25/2:41.06!)||3,407!|
|Long Jump (Auto: 6.40, Prov: 6.10) 5:30 p.m.|
|Wt. Throw (Auto: 20.50, Prov: 18.50) 5:30 p.m.|
|Pole Vault (Auto: 4.20, Prov: 3.95) 5:30 p.m.|
|60m Prelims (Auto: 7.27; Prov: 7.44) 6:50 p.m.|
|Adv.||Courtney Champion||7.43p+/1st. ht. 5|
|Adv.||LaTonya Loche||7.45p!/1st. ht. 1|
|Adv.||Tianna Madison||7.46p/1st. ht. 4|
|Adv.||Cleo Tyson||7.49p!/1st, ht. 3|
|Seeded 5000m (Auto: 16:10, Prov: 16:45) 7:20 p.m.|
|DMR (Auto: 11:09.00; Prov: 11:28.00) 8:05 p.m.|
|1st||Nicole Cook/Patricia Hal/Leslie Treherne/Brooke Novakl||11:27.62b+|
|60m Final (Auto: 7.27; Prov: 7.44) 9:00 p.m.|
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