March 8, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind.
Lady Vol Dee Dee Trotter improved her NCAA Championship hopes with a lifetime best in the 200-meter dash, and teammate Toyin Olupona posted a season-best time in the 60 meters Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational. Trotter, a sophomore from Decatur, Ga., rolled to a career-topping pace of 23.59 and finished second to Miami's Lauryn Williams (23.53). More importantly, Trotter may have earned her second-straight trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships, which will be held March 14-15 at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark. She must wait until Monday night to receive official confirmation.
The reading was an improvement over Trotter's previous 2003 superlative of 23.82, which she produced on Feb. 15 at the Armory Collegiate Invitational. It moved her from 20th on the NCAA qualifying list to No. 13. The time is the ninth-fastest ever by a Lady Vol in that event and is an improvement over Trotter's old PR of 23.78, which came Feb. 23, 2002, at the SEC Indoor Championships.
As for Olupona, the Orillia, Canada, native clicked off a 7.44 count in the prelims and then put a season-best 7.38 on the board in the finals
to also take second behind the Hurricanes' Williams (7.29). The time was Olupona's fastest at that distance as a Lady Vol, but it
did not improve her 20th-place national ranking which results from a 55m dash time that converts to a 7.37 in the 60. So, she will dwell on
the NCAA's so-called bubble until she receives word Monday night.
Impressively, for the sophomore, the 7.38 puts her third on the UT all-time performers list in the 60m behind only Kelli White (7.24) and Heather Sumpter (7.37). It also ranks as the 11th-fastest 60 ever run by a Tennessee woman. For UT Head Coach J.J. Clark and his NCAA hopefuls, Monday's day of waiting will be nail-biting time. "The mark Dee Dee ran should get her into the NCAA Championships," Clark said. "I am very pleased to see her record a personal best and put herself into position to earn a second-straight trip to the national meet. She's been training very hard, and the hard work is paying off.
"Toyin has been very consistent, and hopefully her mark will hold up, too. She definitely has gone to a new level in her performance this season, and I hope she will be rewarded with a trip to NCAAs." If both advance, they will join fellow sophomore Nicole Cook, who automatically qualified in the 800 meters with a 2:06.11 reading in the prelims of the SEC Championships. The Petersburg, Va., product placed ninth at last year's indoor national meet and picked up All-America honors.
Senior pole vaulter Christie Elwin also appears to be in contention for a trip, having cleared a school-record and personal-best height of 13-2.25/4.02m at last weekend's SEC meet. The Adelaide, Australia, native ranks 15th on the NCAA's most recent qualifying list.
|EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)|
|60m Trials (Auto: 7.30; Prov: 7.44) 12:20 p.m.|
|60m Finals (Auto: 7.30; Prov: 7.44) 1:20 p.m.|
|200m (Auto: 23.50, Prov: 24.00) ^ 2:45 p.m.|
|2nd||Dee Dee Trotter||23.59!+|
b - Banked Track Qualifying Standard
DNF - Did Not Finish
DNQ - Did Not Qualify
DNR - Did Not Run
DNS - Did Not Start
f - Facility Record
h - Hand Times
NH - No Height
NM - No Mark
p - Prelims
sr - School Record (Indoors)
u - Undersized Track Qualifying Standard
* - NCAA Automatic Qualifier
+ - NCAA Provisional Qualifier
! - Personal Record (Indoors)
^ - Oversized Track Qualifying Standard