March 11, 2012
NAMPA, Idaho -- The Tennessee women's 4x400-meter relay team came through with a season-best time when it mattered most to card a sixth-place finish Saturday night at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.
In the final event of the meet at Jacksons Indoor Track, the Lady Vol 4x4 gutted out a readout of three minutes, 34.13 seconds to win heat one with the No. 7 time ever recorded by a Big Orange tandem. The quartet of Ellen Wortham, Brittany Jones, Kianna Ruff and Martinique Octave, bolstered by 53.00 and 52.29 splits on the first two legs, then had to wait until the next two heats were completed to see their final place.
The three points acquired by the relay put UT on the scoreboard in a tie for 48th place. Oregon won the women's crown with 49 points, while Florida took the men's trophy with 52.
"It obviously wasn't the meet we wanted to have, but we ended up on a good note," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "We came home with some All-Americans, and that's what we have to focus on right now. I tip my hat to Ellen, who led off very well, and to our entire team. They just kept it going right after Ellen led it off and were able to earn All-America status.
"Obviously, we have to put this (meet) behind us, go back home now and reboot. Recruiting is very important for us at this point. We look forward to the outdoor season and the future and to the getting back up on the board where we should be."
Earlier in the evening, in the women's shot put, Annie Alexander finished 12th with a toss of 53-0 1/4. She had entered the competition ranked third with a season best and UT record mark of 58-1, which she posted at the Auburn Invitational on Jan. 21.
The track & field teams are off next weekend before beginning the outdoor campaign with meets on March 23-24. The majority of the team will be at the SEC/Big 10 Challenge in Starkville, Miss., on Friday, while select distance runners will be at the Stanford Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
Distance Medley Relay Final: 11. Nijgia Snapp / Brittany Jones / Kianna Ruff / Brittany Sheffey, 11:26.02b
800m Prelims: dna. Chanelle Price, 2:05.95bp/5th, ht. 2 (9th)
400m Prelims: dna. Ellen Wortham, 54.20bp/3rd, ht. 2 (14th)
Shot Put Final: 15. Matthew Hoty, 59-10.50/18.25m
Pole Vault Final: 16. Chase Brannon, 17-4.50/5.30m
* - NCAA Automatic Mark, ! - Personal Best, ^ - Oversized Track, $ - SEC Record, a - American Record, adv. - Advanced to next round, b - Banked Track, c - Collegiate Record, dna - Did Not Advance, dnf - Did Not Finish, dq - Disqualified, dnr - Did Not Run, F - Foul, f - Facility Record, fr - Freshman Record, fs - False Start, H - Heptathlon, h - Hand-Timed, mr - Meet Record, nm - No Mark, p - Time Run In Prelims, P - Pentathlon, sr - School Record, u - Undersized Track, w - World Record