March 12, 2005
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The top-ranked University of Tennessee women utilized Tianna Madison's school-record effort in the long jump and a UT best in the 200 meters by Courtney Champion to tally 21 points Friday and stand in first place after the first day of the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
In front of a crowd of 5,006, Tennessee tied Texas for the lead in the team standings after the 200 meters and moved into sole possession of first place after the distance medley relay snagged two unexpected points to close out the day. The Longhorns are positioned right behind the Lady Vols with 19 points, followed by Miami (14), Stanford (12), and Florida and Brigham Young (11).
Madison, a sophomore from Elyria, Ohio, became the first Lady Vol in school history to snare a national championship indoors in the long jump. Already the national leader and the co-owner of the school record after jumping 22-feet and a quarter inch/6.71m to win the Southeastern Conference title two weekends ago, Madison stretched the tape to 22-3/6.78m on Friday evening to win by 9 1/4 inches over runner-up Marshavet Hooker of Texas (21-6.25/6.56m). That distance ties Madison with Carol Lewis for the fourth best jump ever registered indoors at the NCAA Championships.
Madison's victorious leap came on her final attempt of the prelims, after she had already registered a then-school-record jump of 22-0.50/6.72m on her second take-off. With the impressive 22-3 measurement in the bag, Madison passed on all three of her attempts in the finals as none of the competitors came close to knocking her out of the lead. Her winning mark moved her past previous UT record-holder Dedra Davis, who had maintained the Lady Vol mark since March 11, 1994.
"I was saying earlier today that I have been patient in my training and have been consistently executing," Madison said. "I am glad that it could all come together today, and I am proud that I could maintain
my focus for so long."
"On my first jump I put a lot of pressure on myself to get a big jump. After that, I just relaxed, remembered all my cues and executed. I let the pressure go and just decided to jump like I have been all season long."
"Tianna Madison showed she is one of the best jumpers in the country, and in U.S. history for that matter," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "She is still young and is still learning, but my hat's off to her for winning an SEC title and now an NCAA championship. It's great for her and great for our program."
In the 200 meters, the Lady Volunteer freshman troika of Champion (Lawrenceville, Ga.), Cleo Tyson (Huntsville, Texas) and LaTonya Loche (Bastrop, La.) combined for nine points and pushed their squad into a tie for first place with Texas with 19. Champion followed up her school-record 23.11 effort at the SEC meet with another sensational UT best, ripping off a sizzling 22.98 readout to place third. Tyson and Loche also rustled up some additional points, securing seventh and eighth places with efforts of 23.39 and 23.45, respectively.
In the DMR, meanwhile, the combination of junior Brooke Novak (Kaukauna, Wis.), junior Patricia Hall (St. Ann, Jamaica), senior Antoinette Gorham (Glenarden, Md.) and sophomore Felicia Guliford (Gallup, N.M.) went into the meet seeded 10th, but the quartet gutted out a season-best 11:15.21 to wind up seventh. That mark ranks as the third-best ever charted by a UT DMR, positioned behind only last year's school-record mark of 11:03.42 and the 2004 NCAA-title-winning effort of 11:06.07.
"It was a gutsy performance by the DMR to scrap for a couple of points that put us into the lead after the first day," Clark said. "It was a great effort all the way around today. Tianna in the long jump, Courtney, Cleo and LaTonya in the 200 meters and a DMR not ranked in the top eight scrapping for points.
Tennessee also set itself up for more points on Saturday. In the 60-meter dash prelims, the Big Orange advanced three women to the finals. Senior Toyin Olupona (Orillia, Ontario, Canada) qualified by winning heat two, zipping to a season-best reading of 7.24 to match national leader Fana Ashby's (Auburn) victorious mark in heat one. Joining Olupona, last year's 60m NCAA runner-up, in the final at 7:15 p.m. Central time on Saturday will be Champion and Madison, who each uncorked career-best offerings. Champion snagged third in heat one in 7.25 and tied for the third-best prelim time, while Madison rolled to a 7.29 count in the same heat to place fifth in that group and sixth-best among the qualifiers.
The day started in disappointing fashion, though, as senior Nicole Cook, the meet favorite and defending NCAA champion, struggled in the 800-meter prelims and was unable to advance to the finals. The Petersburg, Va., native, who strained her right hamstring in practice on Sunday and did not run all week in hopes of being well enough to compete, finished last of eight runners in heat two and wound up 12th overall in 2:08.25.
Cook, who two weeks ago at the Southeastern Conference meet set the collegiate record in the 800m at 2:00.75 on this very track, went out conservatively before rallying on the final lap to briefly take the lead. As she made the final turn toward the finish line, however, the rest of the pack closed in and overtook her 12 meters from the tape as she was unable to find the speed and power necessary to fend them off. Aneita Denton of Arkansas, whom Cook defeated for the SEC title, advances to the finals with the fastest qualifying time at 2:04.70.
"It is amazing that she ran at all today," Clark said of his 10-time All-American. "She didn't run a step all week and was just a warrior the whole way out there today. She did the best she could; she just couldn't open up when she wanted.
"It was a long shot. She warmed up and only did two strides. She said she wanted to give it a shot, and she almost pulled it off. Obviously, it hurts, because it is possibly 10 points, but we're going to put our heads down and run until the meet is over."
In addition to the 60-meter dash finals on Saturday, Tennessee will field a 4x400-meter relay team. The Lady Vols entered the competition ranked fifth with a season-best clocking of 3:33.82.
"We would like to have more weapons, but the situation is what we have," Clark said. "We'll run as hard as we can, look up after the 4x4 and see where we are."
|FRIDAY, MARCH 11|
|Long Jump Final (Auto: 6.40, Prov: 6.10) 4:00 p.m.|
|1st (10 pts)||Tianna Madison||22-3/6.78m!s|
|800m Prelims (Auto: 2:05.65, Prov: 2:09.00)b 4:30 p.m.|
|12th||Nicole Cook||2:08.25bp/8th, ht. 2|
|60m Prelims (Auto: 7.27; Prov: 7.44) 6:15 p.m.|
|Adv.||Toyin Olupona||7.24p/1st. ht. 2|
|Adv.||Courtney Champion||7.25p/3rd, ht. 1|
|Adv.||Tianna Madison||7.29p/5th, ht. 1|
|Cleo Tyson||7.31p!/6th, ht. 1|
|200m Prelims (Auto: 23.30; Prov: 23.90)b 7:20 p.m.|
|Adv||Courtney Champion||23.32pb/1st, ht. 2|
|Adv.||Cleo Tyson||23.45pb/2nd, ht. 4|
|Adv.||LaTonya Loche||23.48!pb/3rd, ht. 4|
|200m Final (Auto: 23.30; Prov: 23.90)b 8:50 p.m.|
|3rd (6 pts)||Courtney Champion||22.98b!s|
|7th (2 pts)||Cleo Tyson||23.39b|
|8th (1 pt)||LaTonya Loche||23.45b!|
|DMR Final (Auto: 11:09.00; Prov: 11:28.00)b 9:10 p.m.|
|7th (2 pts)||Brooke Novak/Patricia Hall/Antoinette Gorham/Felicia Guliford||11:15.21b|
|SATURDAY, MARCH 12|
|60m Final (Auto: 7.27; Prov: 7.44) 7:15 p.m.|
|4x400mR Final (Auto: 3:33.50; Prov: 3:40.00)b 8:05 p.m.|
All Times Listed Are Central Time
b - Banked Track Qualifying Standard, dnf - Did Not Finish, dnr - Did Not Run, f - Facility Record, 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