April 24, 2004
What a weekend for the University of Tennessee women's track & field team. After rolling to victories in the distance medley and sprint medley relays on the first two days, the Lady Volunteers closed out their stellar stay at the 2004 Penn Relays in dramatic fashion. Their runaway triumph in the 4x800-meter Championship of America Saturday afternoon before a sun-drenched crowd of over 40,000 at Franklin Field delivered the school its second-ever relay hat trick at the 110-year-old meet.
Giving it everything she could muster on a 2:01.3 meet-record-tying anchor leg, junior Nicole Cook appeared to stumble just before the finish and actually fell across the line and to the ground, putting an exclamation point on a sensational weekend for the Big Orange women. Along with freshman Leslie Treherne, senior Kameisha Bennett and sophomore Brooke Novak, Cook helped Tennessee win its first 4x800m relay in Philly since 1984 in a time of 8:21.13. That clocking came up just short of eclipsing a 20-year-old collegiate, Penn Relays and school record of 8:20.22, which is held by the UT combination of Karol Davidson, Kathi Harris, Cathy Rattray and Joetta Clark.
In winning by nearly 12 seconds over runner-up Auburn (8:32.94) and by 13 seconds over third-place Arkansas (8:34.13), Tennessee's time rates third in Penn annals behind the
1984 UT record and the 8:20.66, 1984 runner-up effort of Villanova. Today's remarkable output also ranks second in Lady Vol lore behind the 1984 squad, which won its
fourth-straight Penn Relays 4x8 that season.
"Our team really showed up and ran some very good splits today," Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "It is a very special day for this team to win its first 4x8 since 1984 and to see Joetta, who presented the championship relay wheel and watches to us, be inducted into the Penn Relays Wall of Fame. It really put the finishing touches on a weekend where we have made a big impression here and received outstanding coverage by the Philadelphia-area media and various track & field publications."
Treherne led off for the Orange and White and stayed in a group of four teams in the lead pack for the first 600 meters. As the rookie from Chesapeake, Va., attempted to go around runners from Wake Forest, Auburn and Arkansas as they made the turn down the stretch, she appeared to get caught up in someone's feet and nearly went down. To her credit, though, she maintained her balance and delivered the baton safely to the awaiting Bennett with UT still in fourth position after a 2:09.4 opener. "Leslie, our freshman, nearly went down," Clark said. "She collected herself, though, and still ran a 2:09."
As she did on Friday in helping Tennessee to the sprint medley title, Bennett ran with a mission. The Dayton, Ohio, product went out blazing and made up a 10-15 meter gap within the first 100 meters of her first lap. From then on, Bennett and the Lady Vols led, and the outcome was never in question.
Still, after Bennett ran her 2:04.5 second leg, Novak extended Tennessee's lead another five meters by rolling to a career-best 2:05.9 split. The talented 1500 and 3000-meter standout from Kaukauna, Wis., then put the race in the hands of 2004 NCAA Indoor 800m champion Nicole Cook, who simply left the rest of the field in her wake. The 2:01.3 anchor split by the Petersburg, Va., native tied for the best in Penn Relays history, along with Debbie Grant and Patty Bradley of Villanova, who achieved that time in 1987 and 1984, respectively. Cook also dropped Joetta Clark's 2:01.6 in 1982 to number four on the meet list for 800 splits.
"Nicole was going for it," Coach Clark said. "She was trying to break those records, and she gave it her best. I am very proud of her and the whole team."
The 4x8 victory marks the fifth overall by Tennessee at the Penn Relays and brings UT's overall relay victory tally to 11. It personally gives Coach Clark four victories in the 4x8, as he steered Florida to titles at Franklin Field in 1999, 2001 and 2002.
The Lady Vols got to enjoy a special treat afterward, as comedian, Penn Relays court jester and master's division 100m dash participant Bill Cosby jumped into a UT group photo on the victory stand. Cosby also hammed it up with Assistant Coach Caryl Smith and Penn Relays Wall of Famer Joetta Clark and her daughter. Pictures are included in a photo gallery that accompanies this story on the track & field subpage at www. utladyvols.com.
The Big Orange women will return to Knoxville Saturday night and will rest briefly before heading out to Tom Black Track for the Knoxville Invitational on Sunday. Women's field events action begins at 9:30 a.m. with the hammer throw, while races on the track get underway at 1:55 p.m. with the 100-meter dash. The meet is expected to conclude around 5 p.m.
JOETTA CLARK INDUCTED INTO PENN RELAYS WALL OF FAME:
Lady Vol track & field legend Joetta Clark (Columbia (N.J.) Maplewood H.S./Tennessee/Athletics West/Footlocker) was inducted into the Penn Relays Wall of Fame in a banquet Friday night in Philadelphia and was recognized along with Carl Lewis (Willingboro (N.J.) H.S./Houston/Santa Monica Track Club), Les MacMitchell (George Washington (N.Y.) H.S./NYU) and Bill Woodhouse (Abilene Christian) at Franklin Field on Saturday afternoon. Their plaques were unveiled at the north end of the stadium. Clark joins fellow Lady Vols Benita Fitzgerald and Cathy Rattray, who where inducted in 1995 and 2000, respectively. Men's standout Reggie Jones is a 1998 inductee.
|THURSDAY, APRIL 22 AT THE PENN RELAYS|
|(LADY VOL EVENT SCHEDULE/RESULTS)|
|EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)|
|Dist. Medley Relay-Champ. (Not An NCAA Event) 4:45 p.m.|
|1st||Brooke Novak/Dee Dee Trotter/Nicole Cook/Lindsay Hyatt||10:59.35|
|5000m-Champ. (Regional: 16:56.43) 8:40 p.m.|
|10,000m-Champ. (Auto: 34:10.00, Prov: 35:15.00) 10:30 p.m.|
|FRIDAY, APRIL 23 AT THE PENN RELAYS|
|100m Prelims (Regional: 11.78) 2:55 p.m.|
|10th||Tianna Madison||11.61w# (w: +3.3)/3rd, ht. 3/DNQ|
|15th||Toyin Olupona||11.74w# (w: +3.3)/7th, ht. 3/DNQ|
|16th||Dee Dee Trotter||11.80 (w: +1.6)/4th, ht. 2/DNQ|
|Sprint Medley Relay - Champ (Not An NCAA Event) 6:10 p.m.|
|1st||Tianna Madison/Toyin Olupona/Dee Dee Trotter/Kameisha Bennett||3:41.78crfms|
|SATURDAY, APRIL 24 AT THE PENN RELAYS|
|4x800m-Champ. (Not An NCAA Event) 1:10 p.m.|
|1st||Leslie Treherne/Kameisha Bennett/Brooke Novak/Nicole Cook||8:21.13|
Event 233, Saturday, 1:10 pm CW 4x800m Championship of America Quotes & Notes
1 8:21.13 Tennessee *Leslie Treherne, Kameisha Bennett, Brooke Novak, Nicole Cook 2 8:32.94 Auburn *Kareem Gayle, Sarah Reese, Spring Danson, Caitlin Reese 3 8:34.13 Arkansas *Erica Sigmont, Aneita Denton, Shannon Spaulding, Londa Bevins 4 8:34.14 Georgetown *Sabine Knothe, Maura McCusker, Kelley Otstott, Treniere Clement 5 8:34.79 Wake Forest *Anna Sherman, Hanna Bremler, Shanua Danos, Nikeya Green 6 8:34.97 Louisiana State *Whitney Mitchell, Ruth Nanyinza, Tanya Osbourne, Neisha Bernard-Thomas 7 8:39.77 Kentucky *Caity Phillips, Brooke Patterson, Candace Leep, Beth Heimann 8 8:45.05 Duke *Sally Meyerhoff, Shannon Rowbury, Meaghan Leon, Lauren Matic 9 8:47.09 Essex CC (NJ) *Althea Chambers, Gorgeous Harper, Willette Miller, Keisha McKenzie 10 8:47.76 Yale *Vanessa Mazandi, Vanessa Everdine, Rebecca Dickens, Rebecca Hunter 11 8:54.42 Princeton 12 8:56.21 Kent State 13 9:01.50 Pittsburgh 14 9:01.88 Maine 15 9:16.02 Cal State Northridge 16 9:34.99 Rutgers
University of Tennessee Quick Quotes
"This is the first year Ive seen a crowd this big at Penn. This crowd is amazing. This has been the best Penn Relays for me. By far the most exciting. Im so happy to be running for the best coach in the country; he is the best coach to run for and to run for such a great team. People are coming up to me and asking for autographs because they see the Tennessee uniform. It's a great feeling."
"This is a great feeling. Its been a long time since Tennessee has done so well here. We knew this was a big event and we showed everyone what we had. Theres a lot of enthusiasm here with our team this year."
"This is my fifth year with Tennessee and the first time I have ever won anything at the Penn Relays. I had never won anything here before this weekend. Id like to thank God and Im very happy to be here and ecstatic that we won today."
|SUNDAY, APRIL 25 AT THE KNOXVILLE INVITATIONAL|
|(WOMEN'S EVENT SCHEDULE)|
|EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)|
|Hammer Throw (Regional: 173-4/52.84m) 9:30 a.m.|
|Discus (Regional: 152-10/46.58m) 10:45 a.m.|
|Javelin (Regional: 139-9/42.61m) Noon|
|Shot Put (Regional: 46-8.75/14.24m) 12:45 p.m.|
|Pole Vault (Regional: 12-3.50/3.75m) 1:45 p.m.|
|100m (Regional: 11.78) 1:55 p.m.|
|Long Jump (Regional: 19-5.50/5.93m) 2:00 p.m.|
|1500m (Regional: 4:29.12) 2:10 p.m.|
|100m Hurdles (Regional: 13.95) 2:35 p.m.|
|200m (Regional: 23.96) 2:55 p.m.|
|High Jump (Regional: 5-8/1.73m) 3:20 p.m.|
|800m (Regional: 2:10.29) 3:45 p.m.|
|400m (Regional: 54.61) 4:20 p.m.|
Lady Vol Competitors Have Not Been Determined