Feb. 14, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The second-ranked University of Tennessee women entered the Tyson Invitational with Head Coach J.J. Clark feeling really good about his team's abilities thus far in the middle distance, distance and throws events. After watching his sprinters and jumpers perform at the Randal Tyson Track Center the past two days against a field that included 11 of the nation's top-25 teams, Clark will leave the Natural State feeling a whole lot better about those areas.
Senior Celriece Law (Denver, Colo.) delivered the biggest statement on Saturday, zipping through the final of the 60-meter hurdles in a season-best 8.18 seconds to card a second-place finish behind current NCAA leader Tiffany Ofili of Michigan (8.14). Law's mark, the fourth fastest ever run by a Lady Vol, was just off the NCAA auto mark of 8.14 and moved her to No. 1 in the SEC and No. 7 nationally this season. She's never run this fast this early during her entire career.
"I could see she was coming along as the weeks have gone by," Clark said. "She was running very well at the Armory last weekend before clipping a hurdle. Her PR in the 60m dash yesterday was a nice indicator of what she was capable of, and she had good momentum coming into today's 60-meter hurdle final. She looked great, and it's a big positive to see her back on the national scene."
Law also got in her first competitive work of the season in the triple jump on day two, uncorking a leap of 41 feet, 6 1/2 inches to place ninth. Her effort ranks her third in the SEC this season and gives Tennessee yet another event with potential for heavy points at the conference meet in a season where the Lady Vols seem to have nearly every base covered.
After lowering her 60m dash time to 7.33 and moving into the nation's top six on Friday, junior Lynne Layne produced her first NCAA 200m provisional of 2009 on Saturday. Her 23.78 readout was good for fourth place and moved her to fourth on the SEC top times list. Layne also has never run this fast at this point in the season.
"Lynne had a great weekend," Clark said. "She came alive in the 60m dash last night, which is a big help to our team. She looked great in the 200m today, and that gives us more power as we head toward the championship meets. Individually, it also gives her a chance to achieve her personal goals. I'm proud of how she's turned it around in such a short period of time."
Sophomore Annie Alexander continued her dominant ways in the shot put, claiming victory for the fourth straight weekend after opening the campaign with a runner-up finish. Her heave of 54-2 1/2 was far enough for top honors today, as she collected the seventh indoor shot victory of her career (in 12 tries) and her 20th total first-place finish. She also has indoor triumphs in the weight throw and discus and has tallied nine wins in the discus and two in the shot outdoors.
A pair of Lady Vols with provisional marks in two different events on Friday came back on Saturday to post career-best readouts in the 800m. Senior Rolanda Bell (Laurelton, N.Y.) grabbed fifth today in 2:10.32, about a second shy of the provisional standard, after taking fourth in 4:46.62 in the Olympic Development mile last night. Junior Jackie Areson, meanwhile, posted a readout of 2:12.48 to place 11th today. She was fourth in the Invitational 3000m on Friday night with a nine-second personal best of 9:31.35.
Elsewhere, senior Alicia Essex (Purcellville, Va.) tied for eighth in the Invitational section of the pole vault at 12-9 1/2, the 4x400m relay combination of freshman Chanelle Price (Easton, Pa.), junior Phoebe Wright (Signal Mountain, Tenn.), senior Sarah Bowman (Warrenton, Va.) and senior Kimarra McDonald (Lumberton, N.J.) placed eighth with a season best of 3:42.54, and freshman Ellen Wortham (Maryville, Tenn.) snagged 12th in the Championship division of the high jump with a clearance of 5-5 3/4.
"It was our best meet this season by far," Clark said. "School records, autos and provisionals in the distances, provisionals in the sprints, jumps and throws, and wins in the shot and 800m this weekend. We really had some solid marks in the sprints and hurdles. What better time than now to do it as we head into the championship portion of our season."
That segment of the 2009 slate begins on Feb. 27-March 1, as the Lady Vols travel to Lexington, Ky., to take part in the SEC Indoor Championships at Nutter Field House. The UT women won the league indoor meet in 2007 and 2005 and were runners-up in 2008 and 2004 under Clark.
|FRIDAY, FEB. 13|
|EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)|
|Coll. Long Jump (Auto: 6.35, Prov: 6.10) Noon|
|60m Pre. (Auto: 7.26; Prov: 7.44) 1 p.m.|
|Adv.||Lynne Layne||7.50p/1st, ht. 4|
|28th||Celriece Law||7.67p!/3rd, ht. 2|
|44th||Janea Grimes||8.23p/8th, ht. 3|
|400m Pre. (Auto: 52.40, Prov: 54.40)b 2 p.m.|
|60mH Pre. (Auto: 8.14; Prov: 8.43) 3:20 p.m.|
|Adv.||Celriece Law||8.33p+/1st, ht. 6 (4th)|
|29th||Ellen Wortham||8.99p!/5th, ht. 4|
|Oly. Dev. 800m (Auto: 2:05.40, Prov: 2:09.40)b 4:10 p.m.|
|Oly. Dev. Mile (Auto: 4:38.00; Prov: 4:48.00)b 4:30 p.m.|
|60m Final (Auto: 7.26; Prov: 7.44) 4:45 p.m.|
|Inv. 3000m (Auto: 9:15.00; Prov: 9:34.00)b 9:45 p.m.|
|5th||Katie Van Horn||9:33.86b+|
|Inv. Mile (Auto: 4:38.00; Prov: 4:48.00)b 10:20 p.m.|
|SATURDAY, FEB. 14|
|EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)|
|Ch. Pole Vault (Auto: 4.20, Prov: 3.95) 10:30 a.m.|
|Shot Put (Auto: 16.90, Prov: 15.20) 1 p.m.|
|Coll. 800m (Auto: 2:05.40, Prov: 2:09.40)b 1:05 p.m.|
|200m (Auto: 23.20, Prov: 23.90)b 1:40 p.m.|
|60mH Final (Auto: 8.14; Prov: 8.43) 3:30 p.m.|
|Ch. Triple Jump (Auto: 13.30, Prov: 12.65) 3:45 p.m.|
|Ch. High Jump (Auto: 1.85, Prov: 1.78) 4:30 p.m.|
|4x400mR Fin. (Auto: 3:33.00, Prov: 3:40.00)b 5:10 p.m.|
|8th|| Chanelle Price/Phoebe Wright|
Sarah Bowman/Kimarra McDonald
|DQ|| Amanda Alexander/Ellen Wortham|
Kim White/Chelsea Knotts
|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|