Lady Vols Win Third SEC Indoor Track & Field Title in Five Seasons

March 1, 2009

Complete Results

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- For the third time in the past five seasons, the University of Tennessee women's track & field team stands atop the league. The second-ranked Lady Volunteers calmly clinched the victory in the second heat of the final event, extinguishing any lingering drama and extending the program's odd-year run of glory at the SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships on Sunday at Nutter Field House.

Needing to finish no worse than fifth, and running in heat two of a three-section final of the 4x400-meter relay, the quartet of Chanelle Price, Brittany Jones, Kimarra McDonald and Phoebe Wright navigated the oval in three minutes, 39.57 seconds to win heat two with a time also faster than any team in heat one. With only four squads running in the final, including second-place LSU, it meant the Tigers could not overtake UT in the team point standings, even if they won the event.

Tennessee's final tally of 111 points gave J.J. Clark's squad SEC Indoor crown number three in a line that started with trophies in 2005 and 2007, as well as the program's sixth-straight top-three finish at the meet. UT also won the inaugural meet in 1984.

LSU, which wound up fourth in the final heat of the 4x4, finished second with 105 points after beating Team Orange for the league trophy in 2008. Arkansas was third with 97, followed by Florida (94), South Carolina (57), Auburn (54), Kentucky (49.50), Ole Miss (32), Mississippi State (28), Alabama (26.50), Georgia (14) and Vanderbilt (5).

"It was an unbelievable effort from our team today," Clark said. "I've never had this many SEC champions. People really pulled out some great performances, and it was a total team effort. We expect Sarah Bowman to go out and do what she did, but you have to do it. Phoebe Wright, Celriece Law, Lynne Layne, Annie Alexander, the DMR - it was just an incredible meet.



"We dug in and got it done. LSU didn't just die and fold, they did some great things. We've battled them before, and we're just happy to come out on top in such a great conference."

After winning nine conference championships in the past three seasons at the SEC Indoor meet, Lady Vol senior Sarah Bowman finally earned the Cliff Harper Trophy, given to the meet's top female point producer. She scored 22.50 this weekend, thanks to victories in the mile and 3000 meters as well as for her anchor contribution on the distance medley relay.

"Every year, I was thinking, maybe I can get that trophy," Bowman chuckled. "Finally, the third time's the charm, and I got it this year. It's not like I come out here working toward winning the high point trophy. It's all about the team and doing the best you can and scoring as many points as you can toward the goal of winning a championship.

"I knew it was a possibility that I could win, but it usually goes to a jumper, sprinter or multi. I guess this year was just my year. That's really exciting, and I'm glad I could contribute toward the win."

Just as she did in the 3K on Saturday night, Bowman seemingly toyed with the field for most of the mile run before leaving the pack behind en route to victory. After running out front with Florida's Charlotte Browning for much of the race, Bowman hit the throttle with about two laps to go and cruised home unchallenged in 4:41.35 to run her total of SEC Indoor individual crowns to a school-record six. After becoming the first woman in league history to win three straight SEC Indoor 3000m races on Saturday night, she duplicated that feat in the mile on Sunday.

Rolanda Bell chipped in six points for a third-place finish in the mile, covering the distance in a career-best 4:46.18. Junior Jackie Areson came home in 4:56.76, but finished out of the points in ninth position. The efforts of Bowman and Bell, though, pushed Tennessee into a tie for the team score lead for the first time at 59 apiece with LSU with seven events remaining.

Later, Bowman concluded her SEC Indoor career with her third victory of the meet and her ninth conference crown at this event. She took the baton after turns from senior Rolanda Bell and freshmen Ellen Wortham and Ramzee Fondren, barely trailing Vanderbilt. After getting her motor cranked up over the first 50 meters, Bowman overtook the Commodore like an avalanche and delivered another resounding triumph. With 15 Olympians and 99 All-Americans having gone through the UT program, Bowman stands atop the list for SEC Indoor trophies with six for individual wins and nine total, counting the relay triumphs.

"Our conference is so tough, she can help us score 30 points and not get the Cliff Harper Trophy," Clark said. "This year, she finally got it, and we were laughing about that, saying 'yeah, you finally got it.' What she means to our program is immeasurable with nine SEC championships indoors and our success within our team and conference.

"Those types of performances are hard to replace. We still have outdoors, so I look forward to that. But, she's been a tremendous anchor for our team, indoors and out."

A pair of former walk-ons, who are now on scholarship, provided Tennessee with incredible wins and important momentum in the 60m hurdles and 800m run. Senior Celriece Law of Denver (Colo.) Montbello High School and Wright, a junior from Signal Mountain, Tenn., and Red Bank High serve as great examples of what hard work can do.

Law started the day for the Lady Vols with a bang in the 60m hurdles. Running in lane four, the three-time conference scorer in this event became only the second UT woman to win the short hurdles indoors, navigating the obstacles in a season-best and NCAA provisional time of 8.16. She joined the great LaVonna Martin (1987, 1988) as the only Big Orange women to triumph in the hurdles at SEC Indoors.

Later, Wright stepped to the plate and belted one out of the park in the 800. She had a tremendous start and maintained the lead throughout the race, impressively out-kicking two-time defending champion LaTavia Thomas of LSU down the stretch. Wright's 2:02.39 effort was a career best by two seconds and tied for the second fastest 800 time ever produced by a Lady Vol. Teammate Chanelle Price, a freshman, kicked in three points toward the 13-point spree with a sixth-place clocking of 2:07.94.

"Celriece Law and Phoebe Wright both walked on to our program, and they are both SEC champions," Clark said. It's unbelievable. I really tip my hat to them for their hard work."

Junior Lynne Layne nearly came up with a victory of her own, coming up a hair short in the 60m dash. Still, she delivered eight huge points to the UT account with a runner-up effort of 7.22 behind LSU's Samantha Henry (7.21). That mark was a career best and automatically qualified Layne for the NCAA Championships.

Layne came back later in the day to produce another second-place finish, this time in the 200m dash. She did so with a personal record 23.53 readout to win the slower of the two heats. Only one other runner, Henry, was better out of the supposed faster heat.

Two late day contributions played a big role in keeping Tennessee in contention for the trophy. Sophomore Annie Alexander came up short of repeating as the shot put champion, but her throw of 54-5 1/2 earned her second place and eight points. Law also delivered more points toward the cause, hustling up six points in the triple jump for a third-place leap of 41-4 1/4. Their contributions, combined with the DMR, put Tennessee into the lead heading into the final event.

Elsewhere, senior Katie Van Horn was sixth in the 5000m in 16:57.09, Areson was ninth in the 5K in 17:10.44 and freshman Ellen Wortham was ninth in the high jump at 5-5 1/4,

Select Lady Vols may compete in a last chance meet next weekend, otherwise, Tennessee will turn its focus toward the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas, on March 13-14.

Sarah Bowman, Tennessee, Women's Mile Run Champion:

  • Became first woman in league history to win three straight SEC Indoor mile run titles. She accomplished the first-ever back-to-back-to back wins in league annals in the 3000m run on Saturday night.
"The mile is my favorite event, so I take it a little more personally. I really just wanted to come out here and leave everything on the track. It's my last go-around at SEC Indoors, so I just wanted to have fun and go for it (the win). I am really proud to be able to accomplish that."

Celriece Law, Tennessee, Women's 60m Hurdles Champion:

  • A former walk-on, she became the first (and only) UT female indoor hurdles winner since LaVonna Martin won the 55mH in 1987 and 1988. Martin went on to two Olympic Games appearances and claimed a silver medal in the 100m hurdles in 1992. "I was happy to make it to the final, but the ultimate goal when you do that is to run your very best race in the final. I knew if I did that, I would be in contention for the championship. It was definitely one of my goals, and I am glad I accomplished it."

    "I can't seem to get LaVonna Martin's name out of my head. It just amazes me that I can be in the same sentence with her. She is an amazing woman and great athlete. Just to be mentioned with her is an honor."

    Phoebe Wright, Tennessee, Women's 800m Run Champion:

    • Former walk-on became the third-ever Lady Vol SEC Indoor 800m winner and is the tenth league champion in that event produced by coach J.J. Clark (He previously coached at Florida). She ran a two-second career best today and posted the No. 2 time ever run indoors by a Lady Vol.
    "It feels great! Even though my times didn't indicate it when I first came to UT, I always thought I was capable of doing something like this. I get up every morning at 6 a.m. and leave campus every night at 6 p.m. after practicing twice during that time period, so it's nice to see the hard work pay off. "

    "I don't feel like I set the tone for our team with this win, I feel like the team set the tone for my race. You can't help but go out there and give it your best after watching Celriece, Lynne, Sarah and Jackie. I just followed what they did."

    Rolanda Bell, Tennessee, First Leg of Women's Distance Medley Relay Champion:

    "Everyone has done her part, and it just makes you want to do your part as well. Our goal was to win and have everyone do their part, so that we could make it easier for Sarah. My personal goal was to hand off the baton in first, and I did. I think everyone executed their plan, and it turned out great."

    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.)
    5th Ellen Wortham 3736!+
    (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)
    14th Jena' Murphy 3177!
    (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)
    Wt. Throw (Auto: 21.00, Prov: 18.75) 11 a.m.
    7th (2 pts.)Annie Alexander52-8/16.05m
    10thLaquoya Kelly50-8/15.46m
    Pole Vault (Auto: 4.20, Prov: 3.95) Noon
    9thAlicia Essex12-9.50/3.90m
    60mH Pre. (Auto: 8.14; Prov: 8.43) 2:50 p.m.
    Adv.Celriece Law8.30p+/1st, ht. 3 (4th)
    16thJená Murphy8.98p/5th, ht. 3
    60m Pre. (Auto: 7.26; Prov: 7.44) 3:30 p.m.
    Adv.Lynne Layne7.29!+/2nd, ht. 3 (5th)
    18thAshley Harris7.65p!/7th, ht. 1
    Mile Pre. (Auto: 4:38.00; Prov: 4:48.00)^ 4:10 p.m.
    Adv.Sarah Bowman4:49.46bp/1st, ht. 1 (1st)
    Adv.Rolanda Bell4:50.94bp/2nd, ht. 1 (2nd)
    Adv.Jackie Areson4:53.13bp/3rd, ht. 2 (7th)
    13thElizabeth Altizer5:06.19bp!/7th, ht. 1
    17thAlly Colvin5:12.07bp!/8th, ht. 2
    Long Jump (Auto: 6.35, Prov: 6.10) 4:45 p.m.
    8th (1 pt.)Lynne Layne19-2.50/5.85m
    11thCelriece Law18-9.25/5.72m
    400m Pre. (Auto: 52.40, Prov: 54.40)^ 4:50 p.m.
    22ndAmanda Alexander57.51pb/3rd, ht. 5
    800m Pre. (Auto: 2:05.40, Prov: 2:09.40)^ 5:35 p.m.
    Adv.Chanelle Price2:07.16bp+/1st, ht. 3 (2nd)
    Adv.Phoebe Wright2:07.60bp+/1st, ht. 1 (3rd)
    12thRamzee Fondren2:12.08bp!/4th, ht. 2
    15thKimarra McDonald2:13.44bp/6th, ht. 1
    24thCharity Honeycutt2:20.07bp!/8th, ht. 1
    25thKim White2:20.32bp!/9th, ht. 2
    26thChelsea Knotts2:21.19bp!/9th, ht. 3
    200m Pre. (Auto: 23.20, Prov: 23.90)^ 6:25 p.m.
    Adv.Lynne Layne23.83bp+/1st, ht. 2 (3rd)
    21stAshley Harris25.08bp!/3rd, ht. 6
    3000m Final (Auto: 9:15.00; Prov: 9:34.00)^ 7:15 p.m.
    1st (10 pts)Sarah Bowman9:21.66b+
    2nd (8 pts.)Jackie Areson9:24.34b!+
    22ndMichele Levy10:30.90b
    High Jump (Auto: 1.85, Prov: 1.78) 11 a.m.
    9thEllen Wortham5-5.25/1.66m
    60mH Final (Auto: 8.14; Prov: 8.43) 1:40 p.m.
    1st (10 pts.)Celriece Law8.16+
    60m Final (Auto: 7.26; Prov: 7.44) 1:55 p.m.
    2nd (8 pts.)Lynne Layne 7.22!*
    Mile Final (Auto: 4:38.00; Prov: 4:48.00)^ 2:15 p.m.
    1st(10 pts.)Sarah Bowman4:41.35b+
    3rd (8 pts.)Rolanda Bell4:46.18b+
    9thJackie Areson4:56.76b
    Triple Jump (Auto: 13.30, Prov: 12.65) 2:30 p.m.
    3rd (6 pts.)Celriece Law41-4.50/12.60m
    Shot Put (Auto: 16.90, Prov: 15.20) 3 p.m.
    2nd (8 pts.)Annie Alexander54-5.50/16.60m+
    16thLaquoya Kelly42-4/12.90m
    800m Final (Auto: 2:05.40, Prov: 2:09.40)^ 3:20 p.m.
    1st(10 pts.)Phoebe Wright2:02.39!*fr
    6th (3 pts.)Chanelle Price2:07.94+
    200m Final (Auto: 23.20, Prov: 23.90)^ 3:40 p.m.
    2nd (8 pts.) Lynne Layne23.53b!+
    5000m Final (Auto: 16:08.00, Prov: 16:45.00)^ 3:50 p.m.
    6th (3 pts.)Katie Van Horn16:57.09b
    9thJackie Areson17:10.44b!
    dnfAlly Colvin
    dnfMichele Levy
    DMR Final (Auto: 11:09.00, Prov: 11:30.00)^ 4:25 p.m.
    1st (10 pts.)Rolanda Bell/Ellen Wortham/Ramzee Fondren/Sarah Bowman 11:23.43b+
    4x400mR Final (Auto: 3:33.00, Prov: 3:40.00)^ 4:55 p.m.
    5th (4 pts.)Chanelle Price/Brittany Jones/Kimarra McDonald/Phoebe Wright 3:39.57b+

    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



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