April 11, 2003

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Dee Dee Trotter picked up two NCAA regional qualifying marks, while Christie Elwin and Janine Tessarzik added one each Friday to pace the University of Tennessee women's track & field team on the third day of the Sea Ray Relays at Tom Black Track.

UT's success came on a day where early morning showers gave way by late afternoon to clearing skies and, finally, sunshine. The first 2 1/2 days of the meet had been dampened by steady rain, which hampered competitors in both the heptathlon and decathlon and limited entries in Thursday night's distance races.

Trotter, a sophomore from Decatur, Ga., clocked an 11.77 in the 100-meter dash to place fifth and earn a ticket to the NCAA Mideast Regional in Columbus, Ohio, on May 30-31. An hour-and-a-half later, Trotter zipped to a 23.91 reading in the 200 meters to finish seventh and land her second qualifying mark of the day. It was also her third of the season, following the NCAA confirmation in the 400 meters (53.99) she secured at the season-opening Adidas Raleigh Relays on March 28.

Tessarzik, who was already booked for the Ohio trip with her 169-3/51.58m effort in the hammer throw at last weekend's SEC Challenge, made the grade in the discus on Friday afternoon. The junior from Altamont, N.Y., managed a toss of 150-4/45.82m to place 13th in the invitational division and guarantee herself at least two events in Columbus.



As for Elwin, the senior from Adelaide, Australia, forged a second-place finish in the pole vault with an outdoor season-best clearance of 12-4/3.76m. That improved her previous NCAA regional qualifier of 12-0/3.66m, which she charted at the Adidas Raleigh Relays. Georgia's Kierney Hiteshew traversed the same height as Elwin but won by virtue of fewer misses.

Three of Tennessee's other four vaulters reported in with outdoor career-best heights. That trio included sophomore Jamie Rebella (Merrill, Wis.), who was 14th at 11-2.25/3.41m; freshman Jessica Reust (Knoxville, Tenn.), who was 20th at 10-8.25/3.26m; and redshirt freshman Jessica Andrews (Rockford, Tenn.), who tied for 21st at 10-2.50/3.11m. Redshirt freshman Kendra Rhyne (Andersonville, Tenn.) was unable to clear her opening height.

In the first running event of the day, junior Erin Anderson checked in with a third-place performance of 10:02.90 in the Open 3000 meters. The Kent, Ohio, native was just four seconds off the victorious 9:58.97 pace of Malone's Judy Kocsis.

Elsewhere, Tessarzik was 16th in the hammer throw at 161-8/49.28m; sophomore Antoinette Gorham (Glenarden, Md.) was 29th in the 400m dash at 56.85 and 39th in the 200m dash at 25.93; and sophomore Elizabeth McCalley (Knoxville, Tenn.), junior Christy Baird (Knoxville, Tenn.) and junior Jessica Southers (Ashland, Ky.) were 34th, 35th and 38th in 4:43.04, 4:44.40 and 4:47.97, respectively, in the 1500 meters.

Additionally, junior Christina Billings (Madison, Wis.) and senior Amber Ayub (Knoxville, Tenn.) were 25th and 36th in 64.96 and 76.55, respectively in the 400-meter hurdles; and freshmen Caitlin Ward (Gibsonia, Pa.) and Catherine Wright (Knoxville, Tenn.) were 33rd and 34th in 16.65 and 17.97, respectively, in the 100m hurdles.

"I saw a lot of progress out there today," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "We demonstrated the kind of development we're making with the NCAA regional qualifying marks, the personal records and the season bests. We continue to display improvement each time out, and I like that.

"We will strive to improve each week until we are at the point of competing on a national level. That's my goal for this program, and we will take steps to achieve that meet by meet. It will take some time, but we'll pursue our goals one step at a time."

Former Lady Vol Alisa Harvey led a group of 1500-meter runners with Tennessee ties. Harvey cranked out a 4:27.92 pace in the 1500 meters to place fourth, while ex-UT standout Maureen Ferris was eighth in 4:30.42. Jearl Miles-Clark, wife of J.J. Clark, took 11th in 4:31.41, while J.J.'s sister, Hazel, was 16th at 4:33.13. Both ran that distance as part of their training plan this week.

Other finishers on the day with Lady Vol connections included former UT volunteer assistant coach Aretha Hill, who won the discus for the third-straight season at 177-4/54.06m; ex-Lady Vol All-American Diane Slinden, who was ninth in the discus at 160-4/48.88; and former Indiana State thrower Jennifer Folz, who is coached by Lady Vol assistant Cathrine Erickson and forged a fourth-place effort in the hammer with a sling of 198-5/60.47m. Val Fleming, a graduate assistant with UT's strength staff, took sixth in the javelin with a throw of 158-5/48.29m.

Saturday's action for Tennessee includes Tessarzik in the shot put as well as Lady Vol quartets in the 4x100m, distance medley, 4x200m and 4x400m relays. Women's action begins at 1 p.m. and concludes at 5:20 p.m.



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