April 10, 2010
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The 24th-ranked University of Tennessee track & field teams closed out the 44th edition of the Sea Ray Relays with three baton event victories and nearly added a fourth Saturday on the final day of action at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium.
On senior day for 16 members of the squads, the Vols and Lady Vols pulled off a Big Orange sweep of the 4x800-meter relays, while the UT men won the 4x200m event and would have added the 4x1 title as well if not for an exchange zone violation that resulted in a disqualification.
In the women's 4x8, sophomores Ramzee Fondren and Brittany Sheffey and senior Kimarra McDonald set the table for senior Phoebe Wright, who carried the baton to victory in 8:35.46 after winning the 1500 meters individually on Friday. In the men's race, the Vol lineup of freshman Terrance Livingston, sophomore Emerson Peacock, junior Peter Sigilai and sophomore Joe Franklin covered the distance in 7:28.59 to claim first-place accolades.
The Vols added another win to the list in the next event, knocking out a triumph in the 4x200m relay. Seniors Samdi Fraser and Kyle Stevenson, and sophomore Deaundra Dailey moved the stick around the track in good fashion and allowed senior Evander Wells to close the door on a 1:24.10 piece of work. It marked the eighth time in meet history UT had taken the title in that race.
Earlier, in the 4x100m relay, it appeared the Tennessee lineup of Wells, Stevenson, Fraser and sophomore Desmond Brown had easily won that event. A yellow flag was raised into the air on the third exchange, however, negating what would have been a season-best 39.89 clocking.
"We had a men's 4x1 that was disqualified, but they were definitely under 40 seconds again," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "We had a disqualification, and that's something we'll have to work on. We had a good run in the 4x8 and some good efforts in the DMR. I was very happy with the competitiveness and the focus that our teams displayed on the men's and women's side.
"Our women had a very strong mark in the 4x8, with Phoebe anchoring somewhere around 2:04 or 2:05. It was a very strong mark. Her coming back and almost winning the 4x4 with a 52 split and taking the 1500m with one of the fastest times in the country yesterday, she has my vote for athlete of the meet. The marks she ran in every race were national class efforts and she continues to provide output for us when it's time."
Tennessee narrowly missed adding to its victory haul in two more events. With Wright again anchoring after turns from freshman Martinique Octave, sophomore Ellen Wortham and McDonald, the Lady Vol 4x4 logged a 3:36.34 count and came up second to Illinois (3:35.90) despite Wright's impressive 52-second closing split. The UT men, meanwhile, saw their bid for a win in the distance medley relay fall short despite a 9:45.22 mark from Peacock, junior Alan Bachman, Franklin and Sigilai. Alabama held on for the win in 9:44.32.
"I was very happy with Ellen's efforts with the relays and hurdles," Clark said. "It was just a very good meet, and it all started with them being able to focus on the task at hand despite family being here."
Individually, the Vols got a runner-up effort from Brown, who had an outdoor season-best leap of 23-9 in the long jump, and a third-place showing from senior Matt Maloney in the javelin, where he stretched the tape measure to a season best of 226-11. The men's 4x1500m relay combo of freshman Leoule Degfae, senior Mike Brodsky, redshirt freshman Spenser Tipton and sophomore Scott March grabbed third in 16:26.48, while the 4x4 lineup of senior John Hewitt, Dailey, Bachman and Livingston took sixth in 3:11.08.
"We're glad to have Matt Maloney outdoors," Clark said. "Obviously, there's no javelin indoors. He adds to our point total and depth of our team. We welcome him to our team and are happy to see him throwing at his best."
The Lady Vols added a fourth-place and season-best result of 45.87 in the 4x100m relay and a sixth-place finish in the distance medley relay at 12:02.76. The 4x1 lineup included freshman Ashley Harris, Wortham, Octave and freshman Kia Jackson. The DMR, meanwhile, included sophomores Elizabeth Altizer, Charity Honeycutt and Ramzee Fondren, and senior Michele Levy.
Freshman Aslynn Halvorson added a fourth-place finish in the women's Invitational discus, letting loose a season-best fling of 158-4, and junior Holly Kane took fifth in the women's javelin, uncorking a throw of 135-8. For the UT men, redshirt freshman Daniel Porter snared fifth in the 3000m steeplechase in 9:56.32, while senior Brad Holtz was sixth in the Invitational pole vault with a clearance of 16-10 3/4.
"Overall, all three days, I thought the teams performed well," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "They focused well and had a good meet all around. A lot of running and training was going on, and we had a lot of good performances nationally and from an SEC standpoint and some key victories."
In addition to Brodsky, Fraser, Hewitt, Holtz, Maloney, McDonald, Stevenson, Wells and Wright, the other seniors honored in ceremonies before the day's action included Lady Vols Jackie Areson, Janea Grimes, Chardae Hancock, Michele Levy, Jena' Murphy, and Vols Nathan Grace and Chris Kane.
Wells was voted the Tony Wilson Award winner for men's running events, while unattached competitor Annie Alexander was the women's field event winner. Tamika Robinson of Illinois won the women's running events award, and A.G. Kruger picked up his third men's field award.
"Evander was a slam dunk," Clark said. "I just commend him for the effort he's put in over the last few weeks. He's a hard worker in the classroom, in the weight room and on the track. It's starting to pay off, and I'm happy to see that."
Complete results of Saturday's action are attached and available at http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-track/spec-rel/030509aab.html
The Tennessee men and women will be in action at home again next weekend, as they participate Friday and Saturday in the Volunteer Track Classic, hosted by the Knoxville Track Club. Admission is $4.
Saturday UT Women's Results
Distance Medley Relay: 6. Elizabeth Altizer / Charity Honeycutt / Ramzee Fondren / Michele Levy, 12:02.76
4x100mR: 4. Ashley Harris / Ellen Wortham / Martinique Octave / Kia Jackson, 45.87
4x800mR: 1. Ramzee Fondren / Brittany Sheffey / Kimarra McDonald / Phoebe Wright, 8:35.46; 6. Elizabeth Altizer / Charity Honeycutt / Kim White / Michele Levy, 9:22.36
4x400mR: 2. Martinique Octave / Ellen Wortham / Kimarra McDonald / Phoebe Wright, 3:36.34; 14. Kim White / Chanelle Price / Jena' Murphy / Elizabeth Altizer, 3:49.91; 15. Nyosha Bryant / Kia Jackson / Ashley Harris / Kirstyn Sweeney, 3:50.66
Invitational Discus: 4. Aslynn Halvorson, 158-4/48.27m
Javelin: 5. Holly Kane, 135-8/41.35m; 10. Brittany Napoli, 106-5/32.43m; 13. Kirstyn Sweeney, 89-1/27.16m
Shot Put: 23. Laquoya Kelly, 42-2.25/12.86m; 24. Aslynn Halvorson, 41-8.50/12.71m
Long Jump: 17. Kia Jackson, 17-10.25/5.44m (w: -0.5); 18. Ellen Wortham, 17-8/5.38m (w: 1.9)