March 12, 2004
The distance medley relay rolled to the program's first indoor national title in 13 years, and freshman Tianna Madison walked away with a fifth-place result in the long jump Friday night, as the University of Tennessee women wrapped up the first day of action at the 2004 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in seventh place with 14 points. UCLA and Florida are tied for first with 29 apiece, followed by Georgia (26), Nebraska (23.50), and LSU and Stanford (16).
The Lady Vol DMR, which entered the meet with the nation's fastest time, a school-record 11:03.42 at the Penn State National Open on Jan. 30, certified its status as the nation's best quartet with a victorious 11:06.07 readout at the Randal Tyson Track Center. As they did earlier in the season, sophomore Brooke Novak, junior Dee Dee Trotter, junior Nicole Cook and senior Lindsay Hyatt, respectively, covered the 1200-, 400-, 800- and 1600-meter legs in impressive fashion to enable Tennessee to score its first NCAA points ever in the DMR. Stanford was second in 11:07.15.
With the triumph, Hyatt achieved bookend national titles in the DMR, having won a trophy as a freshman at Stanford in 2000 and now anchoring Tennessee to top honors after
transferring to Rocky Top prior to the 2003-04 school year. She, Cook, Novak and Trotter also pick up All-America acclaim for their work, joining rookie Madison, who did so earlier in
the evening in the long jump.
"That was a great way to end the night, winning a national championship and putting 10 points on the board," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "They ran an excellent race with Brooke not being 100 percent, and Lindsay came back after the mile prelims to run an excellent anchor leg.
"Dee Dee and Nicole really opened up a lead and gave us a chance for victory. All the legs enabled us to win tonight, but Dee Dee broke it open in the 400 (taking UT from second behind Michigan to first place) and Nicole expanded it from there."
Madison was the first to put the Lady Volunteers in the scoring column, supplying four points for a fifth-place finish in the long jump. The rookie from Elyria, Ohio, landed a leap of 20 feet, five inches on her fourth attempt to narrowly place behind fellow freshman Tabia Charles of Miami, who landed a fair mark of 20-5 1/4 on her second try to snare fourth. SEC champ Hyleas Fountain of Georgia also took the NCAA crown in the long jump, as the senior stretched the tape to 21-7 1/4, followed by senior Stephanie Sowell of Northwestern State (La.) at 20-10 1/2 and Nebraska senior Ineta Radevica at 20-7 3/4.
By virtue of her top-eight outcome, Madison became the first Lady Vol indoor All-American in the long jump since Dedra Davis took second in 1994 and the first freshman at Rocky Top to score indoors since Sue Walton took third in the long jump in 1992. Madison also is the first UT scorer in that event since the effort by Davis and is only the third Big Orange woman ever to score and earn A-A distinction in the long jump, joining Davis, Menka Scott (1989) and Sue Walton (1992, 1994).
"It is a great job for a freshman to make All-American in her first national championship meet," Clark said. "She kept her composure and jumped very well. We're all very proud of what she has accomplished."
In the 800-meter preliminaries, Cook looked especially sharp in winning heat one in a career-best time and advancing to Saturday's championship race with the top qualifying mark. The Petersburg, Va., native cruised to a readout of 2:04.33 to finish right in front of LSU's Neisha Bernard-Thomas (2:04.33), just as the Lady Vol standout did in winning the Southeastern Conference Indoor title two weekends ago.
Cook, whose time is the second-fastest run this season by a collegian behind Akron's Beata Rudzinska (2:03.79), charted the sixth-quickest 800 readout ever at Tennessee. The junior became the first UT woman to go that fast since J.J. Clark's sister, Joetta Clark, hit the 2:03.99 mark on Feb. 25, 1983, at The Athletics Congress meet in New York City.
On Saturday, Cook will aim to win the first national title in the 800 meters since Clark's sister claimed the inaugural NCAA crown in 1983. Cook came oh-so-close to victory in 2003, crossing the line second by 6/100ths of a second to UCLA's Lena Nilsson, 2:05.13 to 2:05.19.
"Nicole is tough," Clark said. "She came in here and did what she needed to do to advance to the finals. It doesn't matter who's in your heat, you just get to the finals and go for the championship. She is focused on what she has to do."
Trotter also came up with a sharp performance in the 400-meter dash prelims, turning over the fourth-best time of the trials to win heat five in 51.90. The junior from Decatur, Ga., easily advanced to her first NCAA Indoor final in an individual event, running just off the pace of the SEC trio of Lashinda Demus of South Carolina (51.76), HazelAnn Regis of LSU (51.79) and Novlene Williams of Florida (51.80).
Trotter's mark is the fastest prelim time she has ever run indoors in the 400, and it rates as the second-best time in school history behind the standard of 51.64 she charted on Feb. 29 in finishing fourth at the SEC finals behind that same group of runners.
"Dee Dee looked good in winning her heat," Clark said. "This was her fastest time on a 200 track in the 400 meters. The final looks the same as at the SEC meet, and she's in the fast section, which is where you want to be."
In the 60 meters, one Lady Vol advanced to the finals and one did not. Junior Toyin Olupona managed a second-place finish in heat three and tied for the fifth-fastest of the qualifiers with a 7.30 readout. The product of Orillia, Ontario, Canada, advances to the NCAA Indoor finals of the short sprint for the first time in her career after missing on her previous trip to nationals in 2003.
"Toyin moved on and has a chance to run well and improve her time on Saturday night," Clark said. "She will have to stay focused and execute her race plan."
Unfortunately for Madison, there will be no race on Saturday. The young Ohioan finished fifth in Olupona's heat in 7.47 and wound up 16th overall for the competition.
Others who were in action Friday but did not qualify for the finals were Hyatt (Auburn, Calif.) in the mile run and senior Kameisha Bennett (Dayton, Ohio) and freshman Leslie Treherne (Chesapeake, Va.) in the 800 meters. Hyatt plated a time of 4:44.01 in the first section of the mile prelims, finishing sixth in that heat and 11th overall to just miss the money race by one place.
Bennett and Treherne, meanwhile, suffered disappointment in the second section of the 800 prelims. Treherne fell victim to a false start before the action even began, and Bennett got out fast and appeared to run well early before laboring home in seventh among her heat and 15th overall at 2:12.63.
Final day action begins at 7:35 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday for Tennessee at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
|EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)|
|FRIDAY, MARCH 12|
|Long Jump (Auto: 6.40, Prov: 6.20) 4:00 p.m. CT|
|800m Pre. (Auto: 2:05.65, Prov: 2:09.00)b 4:30 p.m. CT|
|Adv.||Nicole Cook||2:04.03bp! / Won Ht. 1|
|Didn't Adv.||Kameisha Bennett||2:12.63bp / 7th, Ht. 2|
|Didn't Adv .||Leslie Treherne||DQ / False Start, Ht. 2 / 15th|
|400m Pre. (Auto: 52.90, Prov: 54.50)b 5:40 p.m. CT|
|Adv.||Dee Dee Trotter||51.90bp / 1st, Ht. 5 / 4th fastest|
|60m Dash Pre. (Auto: 7.30; Prov: 7.44) 6:15 p.m. CT|
|Adv.||Toyin Olupona||7.30p / 2nd, Ht. 3 / 5th fastest|
|Didn't Adv.||Tianna Madison||7.47p / 5th, Ht. 3 / 16th fastest|
|Mile Pre. (Auto: 4:38.50, Prov: 4:48.40)b 6:45 p.m. CT|
|Didn't Adv.||Lindsay Hyatt||4:44.01bp / 6th, Ht. 1 / 11th fastest|
|DMR Fin. (Auto: 11:15.00, Prov: 11:36.00)b 9:10 p.m. CT|
|1st||Brooke Novak/Dee Dee Trotter/Nicole Cook/Lindsay Hyatt||11:06.07b|
|SATURDAY, MARCH 13|
|800m Fin. (Auto: 2:05.65, Prov: 2:09.00)b 6:35 p.m. CT|
|400m Fin. (Auto: 52.90, Prov: 54.50)b 6:55 p.m. CT|
|Dee Dee Trotter|
|60m Dash Fin. (Auto: 7.30; Prov: 7.44) 7:15 p.m. CT|
|4x400mR Fin. (Auto: 3:34.50, Prov: 3:40.00)b 8:05 p.m. CT|