April 10, 2003
Katie Flaute was the only competitor in action Thursday night for the University of Tennessee women's track & field team. The freshman from Dayton, Ohio, made it a successful home debut, recording a career best and placing 10th in the Sea Ray Relays Invitational 5000 meters at a damp and chilly Tom Black Track.
Flaute finished in 17:36.13 and ranks third on the team this season behind redshirt freshman Brooke Novak (Kaukauna, Wis.) in 17:12.59 and fellow true freshman Felicia Guliford (Gallup, N.M.) in 17:24.89. Michigan's Rebecca Walter claimed the 2003 Sea Ray 5K title, covering the distance in a regional-qualifying 16:38.18. Casey Owens of Southwest Missouri State also met the regional standard, doing so in 16:56.97 on a night where temperatures dropped into the low 40s and a steady rain gave way to a light drizzle.
"I thought Katie ran well tonight," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "She ran tough and outkicked people down the stretch, so I
think it was a pretty good start for her. She had a personal best tonight, and if you keep running PRs, sooner or later it is going to
mean something big.
"The regional qualifying mark is 17:00, and tonight she ran 17:36. She'll run the 5K again at Penn Relays and see how close she can get. You have to remember she is only a freshman, and she will just keep getting better."
In other events on day two, former Stephen F. Austin standout Jennifer Hoppe, competing unattached in the heptathlon, placed second in the long jump (19-6.25/5.95m) and javelin throw (119-8/36.47m) and won the 800 meters (2:23.97) to overcome day one leader Hyleas Fountain of Georgia. After scoring 3302 on the first day, Hoppe bounced back with 2204 Thursday to tally a victorious 5506.
Fountain led with 3396 points on Wednesday but managed only 1886 and wound up second at 5282. The 2003 Southeastern Conference indoor pentathlon champion started the second day of competition with a win in the long jump (19-8/5.99m). She finished up by taking fifth in the javelin (92-8/28.25m) and eighth in the 800m (2:38.03).
In the Invitational 3000 meters, Catherine Berry of Asics rolled to a six-second victory in 9:24.33. It marked the third-consecutive year the former East Tennessee State standout claimed the 3K title at the Sea Ray Relays. Briana Shook of Toledo and Lindsey Gallo of Michigan were second and third in 9:30.33 and 9:30.34, respectively.
Thursday's action was wrapped up by a victory in the 10,000 meters from Sara Vergote of Toledo. She circled the newly-resurfaced Tom Black oval in 35:54.46 to easily hold off unattached runner Karen Lutes, who was second in 36:36.84.
After having only one competitor during the first two days, the Lady Volunteers will be at full strength on Friday. Junior Janine Tessarzik (Altamont, N.Y.) will get the morning started with back-to-back entries in the hammer throw and discus at 9 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., respectively. Tessarzik produced the second-best throw in school history last weekend and met the NCAA regional qualifying standard with a heave of 169-3/51.58m.
Events to watch include the pole vault, where senior Christie Elwin (Adelaide, Australia) will attempt to improve her school record; the 200m dash, where sophomores Toyin Olupona (Orillia, Canada) and Dee Dee Trotter (Decatur, Ga.) should be among the favorites; and the 1500 meters, where Clark's wife, Jearl Miles-Clark, and his sister, Hazel Clark, will compete alongside Lady Vols Christy Baird (Knoxville, Tenn.), Elizabeth McCalley (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Jessica Southers (Ashland, Ky.).
Miles-Clark and Clark joined Joetta Clark (sister of J.J. and Hazel) to form the American 800m contingent at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Miles-Clark is also the defending U.S. outdoor champion in the 400 meters. She possesses Sea Ray titles in the 200m (1997), 400m (2001), 800m (2002), while Hazel claimed SR crowns in the 800m (1998, 2001).