April 11, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The fifth-ranked University of Tennessee women's track & field team didn't let a 3 1/2 hour weather delay hamper its effort Friday at the 43rd-annual Sea Ray Relays. The Lady Vols persevered, winning five events and adding five new NCAA regional qualifying marks at rain-soaked Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium.
Tennessee tallied wins in the 3000m, 100m hurdles, pole vault, 400m dash and 200m dash and carded fresh NCAA regional marks in the 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 meters and improvements in the 100m, 100m hurdles, pole vault and 800m. The victory total tied UT's program-best tally of five Sea Ray Relays triumphs, matching the Big Orange's efforts in 1981, 1982, 1985 and 2008. Saturday will offer the Lady Vols a chance to improve upon that sum.
Friday's action was halted at 4:13 p.m. Eastern Time due to a band of severe thunderstorms moving into the area. That weather system had been responsible for spawning tornados in middle Tennessee earlier in the day. When the weather cleared, action resumed at 7:45 p.m., but not before the meet had endured a severe weather delay for the third consecutive year.
Junior Jackie Areson got the Lady Vols started in fine fashion on day three of the meet, winning the open 3000 meters in nine minutes, 42.29 seconds. She was the first UT winner in this event since Patty Wiegand in 1990 and the fourth overall Big Orange Sea Rays 3K victor of all time. Brenda Webb also won the race for the home team in 1978 and 1980.
Senior Celriece Law collected Tennessee's next victory, winning the 100-meter hurdles for the second straight season. Her 13.23 clocking was a career best and an improvement in her NCAA regional qualifier. She joins former Lady Vol Olympians Benita Fitzgerald (1980, 1981, 1983) and LaVonna Martin (1986, 1988) as multi-time Sea Rays winners in the hurdles.
Senior pole vaulter Alicia Essex picked up UT victory number three on the afternoon, sailing over the bar at 13-7 1/4 to chart a career best and regional qualifying mark for the second straight weekend. She became the second Lady Vol vaulter to triumph at Sea Rays, following in the footsteps of 1997 winner Leslie Henley. Her mark is the second best ever by a Big Orange woman.
In the 400 meters, junior middle distance standout Phoebe Wright was supposed to be getting in some speed work to make her better in the 800. She did just that and more, clocking a season-best and new NCAA regional qualifying mark of 54.43 to win the event. Her three-second personal-best time enabled her to become Tennessee's fourth overall winner in the 400 at Sea Rays and its first victor since Ilrey Oliver in 1985. The other winners were Cathy Rattray in 1982 and Delisa Walton in 1981.
In the 200 meters, junior Lynne Layne claimed her second Sea Ray Relays individual title, covering the distance in in a new NCAA provisional qualifying readout of 23.87. It was her second meet victory in three seasons, as she won the 100m in 2007. Freshman Ashley Harris was ninth in 24.82.
Layne came close to capturing her second win of the day and her second Sea Rays 100m-dash crown, settling for runner-up honors as Charlotte's Lamarra Currie overtook her in the last 10 meters. Currie covered the distance in 11.25, while Layne was right with her at 11.28 with a 3.7 meters per second wind at their back. Law was seventh in 11.73, joining her teammate in meeting the regional standard - Layne for the second time and Law for the first occasion in this event.
"We performed well, I thought," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "I saw progress from last week, and that's what I am looking for. Alicia Essex getting a personal best and just missing the school record in windy conditions, and we had people all over the board doing well.
"Phoebe Wright winning the 400 out of heat two with a PR, Jackie Areson taking the 3K with a PR, seeing Lynne Layne win the 200 and Celriece the hurdles. People were moving in a positive direction throughout the entire day."
In the 800 meters, freshman Chanelle Price improved her season best by two seconds, taking third in 2:05.54 behind Knoxville Elite's Treniere Clement (2:04.23) and Indiana's Molly Beckwith (2:04.38). Senior Sarah Bowman was fourth in 2:05.73 to earn her third different NCAA regional mark of the campaign. She's also qualified in the 1500m and 5K. Senior Kimarra McDonald had a PR of 2:10.18 to finish ninth.
"We're doing a good job," Clark said of the 800. "Chanelle ran tough as nails and had a good finish. Sarah didn't necessarily have her best race, but you learn as you go. I'm very proud of both of their efforts, and you're going to see some good things in the future from each of them."
Senior Rolanda Bell added the final new regional mark of the day in the 1500 meters. She navigated the race in 4:24.84 to place fourth. Classmate and long distance standout Katie Van Horn was 12th in career-best 4:31.96.
Elsewhere, freshman Ellen Wortham tied for ninth in the high jump at 5-5 and came back later in the evening to place ninth in the 400m hurdles in 1:02.55. Senior Amanda Alexander was 11th in a career-best 1:03.13.
Saturday will feature senior recognitions for both the UT women's and men's teams, beginning at 12:15 p.m. The first event of the day, however, will be the men's open hammer at 10:15 p.m.
For information on the Sea Ray Relays, including a time schedule and entries, please go to http://www.utladyvols.com/sports/w-track/spec-rel/030509aaa.html. The results page is http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-track/searay/09/.
|THURSDAY, APRIL 9|
|EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)|
|Open Hammer (Auto: 5,500; Prov: 5,050) 8 p.m.|
|FRIDAY, APRIL 10|
|EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)|
|Open 3000m (Not An NCAA Event) 12:35 p.m.|
|High Jump (Regional: 5-8.75/1.75m) 1:00 p.m.|
|Pole Vault (Regional: 12-7.50/3.85m) 1:00 p.m.|
|100mH (Regional: 13.92) 2:00 p.m.|
|1st||Celriece Law||13.23!# (w: 1.6)|
|100m (Regional: 11.75) 2:45 p.m.|
|2nd||Lynne Layne||11.28w# (w: 3.8)|
|7th||Celriece Law||11.73w# (w: 3.9)|
|10th||Ellen Wortham||11.88w (w: 4.9)|
|14th||Ashley Harris||11.99w (w: 3.9)|
|22nd||Chardae Hancock||12.08w (w: 4.9)|
|Open Discus (Regional: 155-2/47.30m) 2:45 p.m.|
|400m (Regional: 54.61) 3:35 p.m.|
|400mH (Regional: 1:00.82) 7:45 p.m.|
|200m (Regional: 23.96) 8:30 p.m.|
|1st||Lynne Layne||23.87# (w: 0.2)|
|9th||Ashley Harris||24.82 (w: 0.6)|
|25th||Amanda Alexander||26.07! (w: -0.6)|
|26th||Chardae Hancock||26.10! (w: -0.6)|
|800m (Regional: 2:09.80) 9:20 p.m.|
|1500m (Regional: 4:27.80) 9:50 p.m.|
|12th||Katie Van Horn||4:31.96!|
|Inv. 5000m (Regional: 16:52.00) 10:20 p.m.|
|Javelin (Regional: 142-6/43.45m) 10:20 p.m.|
|SATURDAY, APRIL 11|
|EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)|
|Inv. Discus (Regional: 155-2/47.30m) 12:45 p.m.|
|Distance Medley Relay (Not An NCAA Event) 1:20 p.m.|
|Possibility A: Sarah Bowman/Brittany Jones/Chanelle Price/Phoebe Wright|
|Possibility B: Jackie Areson/Rolanda Bell/Kimarra McDonald/Ellen Wortham|
|Long Jump (Regional: 19-8.25/6.00m) 1:30 p.m.|
|4x100m Relay (Regional: 45.70) 2:00 p.m.|
|Possibilities: Ashley Harris/Chardae Hancock/Brittany Jones/Celriece Law/Lynne Layne|
|Shot Put (Regional: 46-11/14.30m) 2:30 p.m.|
|4x800m Relay (Not An NCAA Event) 3:20 p.m.|
|Possibilities: Jackie Areson/Rolanda Bell/Kimarra McDonald/Kim White/Ramzee Fondren|
|4x200m Relay (Not An NCAA Event) 4:00 p.m.|
|Possibilities: Lynne Layne, Celriece Law, Ashley Harris, Brittany Jones, Ellen Wortham, Chardae Hancock|
|4x1500m Relay (Not An NCAA Event) 4:40 p.m.|
|Possibilities: Jackie Areson/Rolanda Bell/Sarah Bowman/Phoebe Wright|
|4x400m Relay (Regional: 3:42.00) 5:25 p.m.|
|Possibility A: Brittany Jones/Chanelle Price/Ellen Wortham/Phoebe Wright|
|Possibility B: Rolanda Bell/Ramzee Fondren/Kimarra McDonald/Kim White|
|* All Times Eastern|
|# - NCAA Regional Qualifier, * - NCAA Automatic Qualifier, + - NCAA Provisional Qualifier, ! - Personal Record (Outdoors), dnf - Did Not Finish, dnq - Did Not Qualify, dnr - Did Not Run, dns - Did Not Start, dq - Disqualified, f - Facility Record, fs - False Start, h - Hand Times, nm - No Mark, p - Prelims, s - School Record (Outdoors).|