Feb. 28, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- University of Tennessee freshman Ellen Wortham used a 12-second indoor personal best in the 800 meters to propel her from ninth to a fifth-place overall finish in the pentathlon Friday night at the SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships at Nutter Field House.
Wortham, who would have been shut out of earning points for her team in the ninth position, turned in a crucial performance of two minutes, 20.11 seconds in the 800. It enabled the Maryville High School product to finish second in that race and wind up the five-event competition in fifth place with a career-best and NCAA provisional point total of 3,736 points. That effort was good for four points for the Lady Vols, the No. 2 team in the nation and also one of the favorites to win this meet.
"She was ranked fifth coming in, but I knew there were a lot of teams that did not compete their pentathletes during the year," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "She was sitting in ninth coming into the last event and ran a huge 800, which gave her an opportunity to score big points for her team. I was very proud of her effort and the fact as a freshman she could come in and handle the pressure of the SEC.
"It was a job well done, and it gets us on the board on the first day, which is not normally our forté. We'll take it."
Junior Jena' Murphy, meanwhile, finished sixth in the 800m in 2:28.70. That effort contributed to a career-best point total of 3,177 that was good for 14th place. Kentucky's Ashley Trimble scored 3991 points to take first and help the host Wildcats tie Mississippi State for the day one lead with 13 points.
Wortham and Murphy each rolled to career bests in the opening event, the 60-meter hurdles. Wortham zipped through the obstacles in heat one in 8.81 seconds to finish seventh and collect 950 points, while Murphy posted an 8.91 readout to wind up eighth with 929 points. They had entered with previous personal records of 8.99 and 9.09, respectively.
In the high jump, Wortham just missed topping her career best of five feet, 7 3/4 inches, but she did chart her finest clearance in a pentathlon. She sailed over 5-7 to nab second-place honors in the event and 855 points to move into third place overall after two events with 1805 points. Murphy, meanwhile, achieved her first career clearance in the high jump, making it over the bar at 4-8 1/4 to accrue 544 points. Her total of 1473 points left her in 14th position.
In the shot put, Wortham and Murphy again posted personal-record marks, but their efforts dropped them in the overall standings. Murphy stretched the tape to 29-4 to collect 460 points and place 15th, while Wortham took 16th at 28-11, good for 452 points. After three events, Wortham stood in ninth with 2257 points, while Murphy was 17th with 1933.
In event four, the long jump, Wortham secured 10th place with a leap of 17-6 3/4, tallying 657 points to remain at ninth in the standings with 2914 points. Murphy, meanwhile, charted a career best of 16-1 1/2 to finish 13th in the long jump with 535 points. She moved to the final event in 14th place with 2468 points.
The Lady Vols swing into full action on Saturday, with competition beginning at 11 a.m. The meet concludes on Sunday.
|FRIDAY, FEB. 27|
|Pentathlon (Auto: 4,050; Prov: 3,700) 4:30 p.m.|
|(60mH/HJ/SP/LJ/800m - last event at 10:25 p.m.)|
|(7th/8.81!/950; 2nd/5-7/1.70m/855; 16th/28-11/8.81m!/452; 10th/17-6.75/5.35m/657; 2nd/2:20.11!/822)|
|(8th/8.91!/929; 17th/4-8.25!/1.43m/544; 15th/29-4!/8.94m/460; 13th/16-1.50!/4.91m/535; 6th/2:28.70b/709)|
|SATURDAY, FEB. 28|
|Wt. Throw (Auto: 21.00, Prov: 18.75) 11 a.m.|
|Pole Vault (Auto: 4.20, Prov: 3.95) Noon|
|60mH Pre. (Auto: 8.14; Prov: 8.43) 2:50 p.m.|
|60m Pre. (Auto: 7.26; Prov: 7.44) 3:30 p.m.|
|Mile Pre. (Auto: 4:38.00; Prov: 4:48.00)^ 4:10 p.m.|
|Long Jump (Auto: 6.35, Prov: 6.10) 4:45 p.m.|
|400m Pre. (Auto: 52.40, Prov: 54.40)^ 4:50 p.m.|
|800m Pre. (Auto: 2:05.40, Prov: 2:09.40)^ 5:35 p.m.|
|200m Pre. (Auto: 23.20, Prov: 23.90)^ 6:25 p.m.|
|3000m Final (Auto: 9:15.00; Prov: 9:34.00)^ 7:15 p.m.|
|SUNDAY, MARCH 1|
|High Jump (Auto: 1.85, Prov: 1.78) 11 a.m.|
|60mH Final (Auto: 8.14; Prov: 8.43) 1:40 p.m.|
|60m Final (Auto: 7.26; Prov: 7.44) 1:55 p.m.|
|Mile Final (Auto: 4:38.00; Prov: 4:48.00)^ 2:15 p.m.|
|Triple Jump (Auto: 13.30, Prov: 12.65) 2:30 p.m.|
|400m Final (Auto: 52.40, Prov: 54.40)^ 2:35 p.m.|
|Shot Put (Auto: 16.90, Prov: 15.20) 3 p.m.|
|800m Final (Auto: 2:05.40, Prov: 2:09.40)^ 3:20 p.m.|
|200m Final (Auto: 23.20, Prov: 23.90)^ 3:40 p.m.|
|5000m Final (Auto: 16:08.00, Prov: 16:45.00)^ 3:50 p.m.|
|Katie Van Horn|
|DMR Final (Auto: 11:09.00, Prov: 11:30.00)^ 4:25 p.m.|
|4x400mR Final (Auto: 3:33.00, Prov: 3:40.00)^ 4:55 p.m.|
All Times Eastern
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