March 25, 2005
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- On a day where thunderstorms forced the cancellation of at least eight events and caused the postponement of many others, the University of Tennessee women provided a ray of sunshine on an otherwise gloomy Friday at the 62nd-annual Coca-Cola Florida Relays. The Lady Vol 4x200-meter relay combination unleashed a victorious performance, providing UT its second school record in as many days and a facility record at the University of Florida's Percy Beard Track.
The quartet of freshman Courtney Champion (Lawrenceville, Ga.), sophomore Tianna Madison (Elyria, Ohio), freshman Cleo Tyson (Huntsville, Texas) and senior Toyin Olupona (Orillia, Ontario, Canada) rolled around the oval in 1:31.83, holding off South Carolina (1:32.62) and Miami (1:32.96) to claim victory. Their record-setting clocking unseats a 1:33.5 Lady Vol reading in 1995 (Michelle Bookman/Kim Townes/Cheryl Finley/Sue Walton) and a 1:33.10 Percy Beard Track mark, which was recorded by Clemson in 1999 and Florida in 2001. The school mark by the 4x2 group follows junior Ariel Brooks' UT-best hammer throw of 180-2 on Thursday.
In the pole vault, junior Jessica Reust (Knoxville, Tenn.) joined Brooks as a qualifier for the NCAA Mideast Regional, taking fifth with a clearance of 12-5.50/3.80m. Also competing were senior Jessica Andrews (Rockford, Tenn.) and junior Kendra Rhyne (Andersonville, Tenn.), who tied for 12th at 11-5.75/3.50m.
Champion and Tyson came back later in the evening to run the first two legs of the sprint medley relay, which secured a third-place result of 3:46.97. With junior Patricia Hall (St. Ann, Jamaica) and freshman LaTonya Loche (Bastrop, La.) getting the baton for the final two hitches, Tennessee crossed the line right behind runner-up South Carolina (3:46.44). Fielding a team of post-collegiate competitors, Speed Elite grabbed top honors at 3:40.91. UT's time ranks number five all-time in school history.
The 4x1500-meter relay unit is scheduled to compete at a very late hour on Friday night. Those results will be posted with Saturday's action.
Competition on the final day of the Florida Relays is set to start at 9 a.m. For live results, please click on the Lady Vol Web site's link to the meet at www.utladyvols.com.
LADY VOL DAY-BY-DAY RESULTS
4x200mR: 1st, Champion/Madison/Tyson/Olupona (1:31.83sf)
Sprint Medley Relay: 3rd, Champion/Tyson/Hall/Loche (3:46.97)
Pole Vault: 5th, Jessica Reust (12-5.50/3.80m#); 12th, Jessica Andrews and Kendra Rhyne (11-5.75/3.50m)
Hammer Throw: 7th, Ariel Brooks (180-2/54.91ms#); 15th, Shanna Dickenson (155-10/47.51m!); NM, April Thomas.
5000m: 4th, Katie Flaute (17:17.17); 7th, Carly Matthews (17:34.72); 13th, Megan Cauble (18:01.74)