Feb. 21, 2003
Toyin Olupona posted a career best and an NCAA provisional en route to victory in the 55-meter dash and Christie Elwin won her third pole vault title of the season to lead the Lady Volunteer track and field team Friday at the Tennessee Indoor Classic at Stokely Athletics Center.
After recording the fastest time in the prelims at 7.02, Olupona kicked it up another notch in the finals and blazed to a personal-record clip of 6.90 to hit the tape first just ahead of 6.95 and 6.97 readings from Alabama State's Jennifer Morgan and Tennessee teammate Dee Dee Trotter. With the winning time, the UT sophomore from Orillia, Canada, became the ninth-quickest Lady Vol ever in the 55m dash, rising from her previous PR of 6.94, which came early last season.
As for Trotter, the sophomore from Decatur, Ga., posted back-to-back
career toppers in the 55, charting a 7.04 in the prelims and then the 6.97
in the finals to obliterate her old mark of 7.29. Already a national
provisional qualifier in the 200- and 400-meter dashes, Trotter was just
shy of the 6.94 provisional required in the straight sprint.
In the pole vault, Elwin grabbed the seventh indoor triumph of her career, clearing 12-5.50/3.70m to take top honors. The win wasn't all that the NCAA provisional qualifier had in mind, however, as the senior from Adelaide, Australia, came up just short on three tries at 12-10/3.91m. She barely brushed the bar on her final attempt, dashing what would have been an improvement on her 12-9.50/3.90m school record as well as a new Stokely Athletics Center mark.
In the throws events, the meet was doubly good for junior Janine Tessarzik, as the Altamont, N.Y., product nailed a couple of career-best measurements in the weight throw and shot put, respectively. Tessarzik started the day with a heave of 57-10.50/17.64m to finish as the top collegiate and second overall in the weight throw. If not for a facility-record of 64-11.50/19.80m by former Indiana State standout Jennifer Folz, it would have been Tessarzik who displaced ex-UT standout Diane Slinden as the Stokely Athletics Center record bearer.
In the shot put competition, Folz also took first prize, stretching the tape to 50-2/15.29m. Tessarzik again accepted runner-up accolades, nailing a personal-best throw of 43-11.75/13.40m. It marked the first time in her career that she had eclipsed 42 feet in the shot.
"The meet was exactly what we hoped it would be - a good tune-up for the SEC Championships," said Lady Vol Head Coach J.J. Clark. "The personal bests by Dee Dee Trotter are good indications that she is ready to run fast in the 200 and 400. It was also good to see Janine Tessarzik come up with a one-foot PR in the weight throw and another career best in the shot. Toyin Olupona also continues to show consistency in producing solid improvements in the short sprint."
Elsewhere, sophomore Lauren McNeil (Easton, Pa.) grabbed second in the pole vault with a personal best of 11-7.75/3.55m; sophomore Kendra Rhyne (Andersonville, Tenn.) was third in the vault at 11-1.75/3.40m; junior Kelly Flowers (Westerville, Ohio) was fourth in the high jump at 5-2.50/1.59m; and sophomore Jamie Rebella (Merrill, Wis.), redshirt freshman Jessica Andrews (Rockford, Tenn.) and true freshman Jessica Reust (Knoxville, Tenn.) forged a tie for fourth in the vault at 10-2/3.10m.
It will be a short practice week for the Lady Vols before they travel to Gainesville, Fla., for the SEC Indoor Championships Feb. 28-March 2 at the University of Florida's O'Connell Center. The meet begins with the pentathlon on Friday and concludes on Sunday afternoon.