April 24, 2003

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Tennessee's distance medley relay charted the fifth-fastest time in school history and came away with a fourth-place finish Thursday afternoon at a gusty, but sun-drenched Franklin Field on day two of the 109th Penn Relays.

Brooke Novak, Dee Dee Trotter, Nicole Cook and Sharon Dickie collaborated on an 11:13.38 effort that was the Lady Volunteers' best at this meet, or anywhere else for that matter, since 1991. That season, Patty Wiegand, Pat Leroy, Alicia Johnson and Jasmin Jones rolled to an 11:09.91 mark in Philadelphia. For the current UT foursome, the mark was also an improvement over their 11:19.19 performance at the Sea Ray Relays in Knoxville on April 12.

Tennessee, which ran in second place for a good part of the race, finished behind the 10:56.67 readout of back-to-back champ North Carolina. Arkansas, fueled by a strong anchor from Christin Wurth, was second in 11:10.78, while hometown school Villanova was third at 11:12.04.

The Big Orange got off to a difficult start as redshirt freshman Novak had to scratch and claw her way to daylight for most of the first two laps. The Kaukauna, Wis., native became trapped on the inside and had to be patient about finding her way out of the bumping pack. After drifting to near the back of the tight field, Novak rallied to seventh and finally escaped the traffic to run free for a lap and hand the baton to Trotter in sixth place with a 1200-meter clocking of 3:28.



Trotter immediately switched on the afterburners, running down the nearest competitor in no time at all to advance Tennessee to fifth place. En route to a 53-second quarter mile, the sophomore from Decatur, Ga., would pass yet another runner before giving Cook the baton in fourth position.

Cook, a sophomore from Petersburg, Va., went right to work on her 800-meter leg, taking aim at Florida State. At the 350-meter mark, the 2003 NCAA half-mile runner-up overtook the Seminole competitor and continued to close the distance on front-running North Carolina. With her 2:04 split, Cook was able to get within about 20 meters of the Tarheels before handing the stick to Dickie in second place

Unfortunately for Tennessee, Dickie was unable to chase down UNC's remarkable Shalane Flanagan despite the UT senior's 4:46 1600-meter leg. Nor was Dickie able to stave off Arkansas's speedy Wurth or third-place Villanova. Looking at the bigger picture, first-year UT Head Coach J.J. Clark found plenty to be happy about.

"We didn't run a great race today, but we still ran a very credible time which was our best of the year," Clark said. "To run the fifth-best time in school history and knock six seconds off our season best in windy conditions like this is quite an accomplishment.

"Obviously, we wanted a better leadoff from Brooke, but the team rallied and ran a great race anyway. The good thing is, Brooke is a freshman and will learn from this and make corrections. We also will have three of the four legs from this relay back for the next two years, so there is great potential for that relay."

Earlier Thursday, junior Janine Tessarzik competed in a pair of throws events but did not have one of her better days. The Altamont, N.Y., native had a pair of fouls and then landed a short, but legal, throw of 118-10/36.22m on her final attempt to place 27th in the college division of the discus. She then competed in the college shot put but did not record a measurable toss.

At 7:15 on Thursday night, the distance carnival will get underway with the women's 3000-meter steeplechase. Sophomore Elizabeth McCalley (Knoxville, Tenn.) will be in action in that race, attempting to improve on the school record of 11:03.38 that she set in finishing seventh at the 2002 SEC Outdoor Championships. McCalley ran 11:19.76 at Penn Relays a year ago, charting what was then a UT standard.

Also competing Thursday night are junior Erin Anderson (Kent, Ohio) in the 3000 meters at 7:45 p.m.; freshman Felicia Guliford (Gallup, N.M.) and juniors Jessica Southers (Ashland, Ky.) and Christy Baird (Knoxville, Tenn.) in the 5000 meters at 7:55 p.m. ; and freshman Katie Flaute (Dayton, Ohio) in the 10,000 meters at 9:30 p.m.


College Discus (150-0/45.72m) 10:00 a.m.
27th Janine Tessarzik 118-10/36.22m

College Shot Put (45-7.25/13.90m) 1:45 p.m.
NM Janine Tessarzik

Distance Medley Champ. (Non-NCAA Event) 4:30 p.m.
4th Brooke Novak/Dee Dee Trotter 11:13.38
Nicole Cook/Sharon Dickie

3000m SC Champ. (10:50(10),11:00(12)) 7:15 p.m.
Elizabeth McCalley

3000m Champ. (Non-NCAA Event) 7:45 p.m.
Erin Anderson

5000m Champ. (17:00.00) 7:55 p.m.
Felicia Guliford
Jessica Southers
Christy Baird

10,000m Champ (Auto: 34:10.00, Prov: 35:15.00) 9:30 p.m.
Katie Flaute


100m Dash Heats (11.80) 2:55 p.m.
Dee Dee Trotter - (alternate entry)

Sprint Medley Champ. (Non-NCAA Event) 5:55 p.m.
Toyin Olupona/Dee Dee Trotter
Antoinette Gorham/Nicole Cook


100m Dash Champ. (11.80) 3:35 p.m.
Dee Dee Trotter - (alternate entry)



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