Jan. 30, 2004
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.
The distance medley relay shattered the school record and the NCAA automatic qualifying mark, and freshman Tianna Madison soared to victory and a provisional measurement in the long jump, pacing the eighth-ranked University of Tennessee women's track & field team Friday night at the Penn State National Open.
Responsible for the sensational DMR showing of 11:03.42 were sophomore Brooke Novak (Kaukauna, Wis.), who led off with a 3:23 effort in the 1200 meters; junior Dee Dee Trotter (Decatur, Ga.), who steamed to a 52 leg in the quarter; junior Nicole Cook (Petersburg, Va.), who knocked out a 2:05 count in the 800; and senior Lindsay Hyatt, who sealed the deal with a 4:41 readout in the 1600-meter closer.
The Big Orange collaboration, which was running together for the very first time, laid waste to a school record of 11:18.58 (Valerie Bertrand/Shawn Moore/Gina Wilbanks/Alisa Harvey) that had stood since the 1987 SEC meet. It also obliterated the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track record of 11:15.92, which was posted by a West Virginia quartet in 2000.
To put UT's distance medley race into perspective, the blazing time it posted here in week three of the season would have been good enough for second place at last year's NCAA Championships meet. Only North Carolina's 11:00.20 would have been better.
"It is a very talented group, and they ran very fast tonight," Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "I have to say they ran faster than I had anticipated. That is a time that could do
very well at nationals, and considering they ran by themselves tonight, it was an excellent performance."
Adding to the impressive DMR showing by Clark's squad was a 'B' tandem, which finished second in 11:38.91 and bagged the eighth-best reading in the program's duration. Running with that unit were senior Jessica Southers (Ashland, Ky.), junior Antoinette Gorham (Glenarden, Md.), senior Kameisha Bennett (Dayton, Ohio) and junior Elizabeth McCalley (Knoxville, Tenn.).
In the long jump, Madison uncorked a season-best leap of 20 feet, 5 3/4 inches (6.24 meters) to notch an NCAA provisional measurement and chart the fifth-best mark in the country this season. Despite opting out of the long jump finals to focus on the 60-meter dash finals, the Elyria, Ohio, product wound up winning the competition with a leap that ranks her fourth on the UT all-time performers list and first in the Southeastern Conference in 2004. Fellow rookie Edra Finley (Mobile, Ala.) stretched the tape to 18 feet, 3 1/4 (5.57m) on her first attempt and finished 11th.
"It was good to see Tianna come around and show what she could do in the long jump," Clark said. "She has very good composure for a freshman, and I look forward to seeing her do even greater things in the future."
In the finals of the 60-meter dash, Tennessee fared well, but the late night race (9:45 p.m.) did not induce the intended results from any of the competitors. Madison covered the distance in a provisional 7.41 to finish as the fastest collegiate competitor and second overall to Nike's Rachelle Boone, who won in 7.32. Taking third overall was junior Toyin Olupona (Orillia, Ontario, Canada), who also met the provisional standard in 7.43. Trotter made the finals, but the coaching staff opted to hold her out after her ferocious 400 on the DMR.
The finals were pedestrian in comparison to the preliminary round of the 60 meters. Madison, Olupona and Trotter all won their heats in convincing fashion, with the first two reeling off times that met the NCAA provisional standard. Trotter was the first to advance to the finals, doing so in a career-best 7.49 to claim heat two. Madison was the next to qualify for the money race, zipping to a personal-record 7.38 to take heat six and wow the crowd with the fastest time of the prelims. Finally, Olupona nearly matched Madison's output, cruising to a 7.39 count to finish first in heat eight.
Sophomore Caitlin Ward began the day in a very positive manner for Tennessee, as she registered career bests in all five events en route to a second-place finish in the pentathlon. Ward, from Gibsonia, Pa., finished with a personal-record score of 3,650 points, just missing the NCAA provisional mark of 3,700 for an event that is returning to the national championship meet this season. That tally also moved her from fifth to fourth on the school's all-time performers list.
After opening with a sixth-place time of 9.36 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles, Ward came back to take second in the high jump, with a top clearance of five feet, 1.75 inches (1.57m), and was the runner-up in the shot put at 37 feet and a half inch (11.29m). She then closed out the competition with victories in the final two events, winning the long jump at 17 feet, 11 inches (5.46m) and taking the 800 meters with a 2:20.95 clocking.
"Caitlin Ward had an outstanding performance, achieving PRs in every event," Clark said. "She was only 50 points off the NCAA provisional, and she demonstrated she has an opportunity to medal at conference if she keeps improving the way she showed today. She had an excellent meet."
Even a former Lady Vol got into the successful act, as 2003 alum and current track & field graduate assistant Sharon Dickie ran the 5000 meters unattached and left the field behind en route to victory. Her 16:26.2 clocking was a lifetime best, replacing the 16:28.19 mark she posted in finishing eighth at the 2001 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Saturday's slate will feature UT competing in nine events, beginning at 10 a.m. and concluding around 6:30 p.m.
|EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)|
|FRIDAY, JAN. 30|
|Pentathlon (Auto: 4,050; Prov: 3,700) 1:30 p.m.|
|60mH (6th/9.36!), HJ (2nd, 5-1.75/1.57m!), SP (2nd, 37-3.75/11.37m!), LJ (1st, 17-11/5.46m!), 800m (1st, 2:20.95!)|
|Long Jump (Auto: 6.40, Prov: 6.20) 5:30 p.m.|
|60m Dash Trials (Auto: 7.30; Prov: 7.44) 6:55 p.m.|
|Qualifier||Tianna Madison||7.38!+/1st, ht. 6|
|Qualifier||Dee Dee Trotter||7.49p!/1st, ht. 2|
|Qualifier||Toyin Olupona||7.39+/1st, ht. 8|
|DMR (Auto: 11:15.00, Prov: 11:36.00)b 8:30 p.m.|
|60m Dash Finals (Auto: 7.30; Prov: 7.44) 9:35 p.m.|
|dnr||Dee Dee Trotter|
|SATURDAY, JAN. 31|
|Shot Put (Auto: 16.50, Prov: 15.20) 10:00 a.m.|
|Triple Jump (Auto: 13.30; Prov: 12.65) 10:00 a.m.|
|3000m (Auto: 9:16.00, Prov: 9:35.00)b 10:40 a.m.|
|High Jump (Auto: 1.84, Prov: 1.78) 2:00 p.m.|
|Pole Vault (Auto: 4.20, Prov: 3.95) 2:00 p.m.|
|800m (Auto: 2:05.65, Prov: 2:09.00)b 2:15 p.m.|
|Mile (Auto: 4:38.50, Prov: 4:48.40)b 3:45 p.m.|
|200m (Auto: 23.50, Prov: 24.00)b 4:40 p.m.|
|Dee Dee Trotter|
|4x400mR (Auto: 3:34.50, Prov: 3:40.00)b 6:20 p.m.|
* - NCAA Automatic Qualifier, + - NCAA Provisional Qualifier, ! - Personal Record (Indoors), ^ - Oversized Track Qualifying Standard, b - Banked Track Qualifying Standard, dnf - Did Not Finish, dnq - Did Not Qualify For Finals, dnr - Did Not Run, f - Facility Record, nm - No Mark Recorded, p - Prelims, s - School Record (Indoors), u - Undersized Track Qualifying Standard