March 5, 2005
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- A pair of University of Tennessee women's track & field athletes came up short Saturday at the Virginia Tech Last Chance Invitational in a final attempt to hit automatic qualifying marks for next weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships.
Junior Jessica Reust (Knoxville, Tenn.) and sophomore Felicia Guliford (Gallup, N.M.) travelled to the meet in hopes of snaring the necessary marks to gain entrance to the March 11 and 12 national championship meet in Fayetteville, Ark. Unfortunately, neither was able to hit the automatic standard in her event.
Reust had the first opportunity in the pole vault, but the Farragut High School product managed only a 12-8.75/3.88m clearance and placed third in the competition. That was below her career best of 13-1/3.99m that she established last weekend at the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships. That mark is a provisional qualifying height, but it ranks her only 26th in the nation, which will not get her into the NCAA meet. The automatic height is 13-9.25/4.20m.
As for Guliford, who was a double victor at the SEC meet in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters, her second-place readout of 9:29.75 was a career best, topping her conference effort of 9:34.46. That mark, however, is short of the 9:16.00 clocking that is required for automatic admission into the NCAA meet. Guliford's most-recent performance moves her to 28th on the NCAA provisional qualifying list, which won't be enough to merit an invitation.
After having a big weekend at SECs, Felicia came back and ran the best she could today," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "She gave it all she had today and ran a personal best. I'm proud of what she's done during the indoor season."
Clark and his NCAA qualifiers will head to Fayetteville on Wednesday to take part in the NCAA meet, which will be held at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the University of Arkansas campus.