April 25, 2003

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Mark down 2004 as the year the University of Tennessee women's track & field team brings home its first sprint medley relay title from the Penn Relays. After finishing third a year ago, the Lady Vols improved to second place in 2003, just missing the SMR championship by 29/100ths of a second on Friday at Franklin Field.

Despite a valiant effort from sophomore Nicole Cook on the anchor leg, UT fell just short of LSU's victorious 3:44.68 result. The Big Orange, meanwhile, navigated the 1600 meters in 3:44.97, followed by Texas in third at 3:45.48 and Florida in fourth at 3:46.31.

With Toyin Olupona (Orillia, Canada) and Antoinette Gorham (Glenarden, Md.) handling the 200-meter legs, Dee Dee Trotter (Decatur, Ga.) the 400-meter role and Cook the 800-meter closer, the all-sophomore unit posted the third-fastest SMR reading in school history. That performance supplanted the 3:48.01 charted at last year's Penn Relays by Gorham, Trotter and Cook with Kameisha Bennett running the 400m leg.



With all four contributors possessing two more years of eligibility, the school record appears to be easily within reach. That mark, a 3:43.55 pace set by Michelle Bookman, Tisha Prather, Tonya Lee and Jasmin Jones, was set on April 26, 1991, also at the Penn Relays. The number two mark dates back to April 29, 1988, when Tara Coleman, Robin Benjamin, LaVonna Martin and Jones rolled to a 3:44.33 count in Philly.

"I am very proud of what we did today," first-year UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "Everyone ran an excellent leg, and I think we surprised some people by how we did against some very strong teams. With such a young group, we look forward to being around a while and coming back the next two years and trying to win the school's first Penn Relays sprint medley title."

Through legs by Olupona, Gorham and Trotter, the Lady Vols remained in fourth position behind Texas, LSU and Florida in that order. With her squad in striking distance after Trotter's 51.7 quarter split, Cook made her first move with 350 meters remaining by overtaking Florida. After moving up on the Longhorns and Tigers, Cook attempted to pass on the outside, but LSU's Neisha Bernard-Thomas also had the same thing in mind.

The two charged past Texas's Evelyn Dwyer and battled down the home stretch side by side. As in last year's duel to the finish, LSU barely crossed the line first, this time edging UT, rather than Florida and the Lady Vols as they did a season ago.

Earlier in the day, Trotter turned in her fastest 100-meter dash time of the campaign, throwing an 11.72 readout on the scoreboard to earn a ticket to Saturday's championship race. That clocking was fourth in heat one and tied for the eighth-best of the prelims. It is also an improvement over her 11.77 output at the Sea Ray Relays on April 11.

The three-event qualifier for the NCAA Mideast Regional will run at 3:35 p.m. and attempt to join Kelli White (1999) and Heather Sumpter (2000) among Lady Vols who have won straight sprint crowns at Franklin Field. Trotter will try to do so as she lines up for only the fifth 100m dash of her collegiate career.

"We have made an impressive showing here this week by finishing second in the sprint medley, fourth in the distance medley relay and getting someone to the finals of the 100-meter dash. It is great to make an impact at the Penn Relays like we have, and that is something we hope to continue and improve upon in the years to come."


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 (10:50(10),11:00(12)) 7:15 p.m.
14th Elizabeth McCalley 11:28.28

3000m Champ. (Non-NCAA Event) 7:45 p.m.
34th Erin Anderson 10:31.35

5000m Champ. (17:00.00) 7:55 p.m.
18th Felicia Guliford 16:52.97!#
41st Christy Baird 18:08.38

5000m Oly Dev. (17:00.00) 7:55 p.m.
26th Jessica Southers 17:29.30

10,000m Champ (Auto: 34:10.00, Prov: 35:15.00) 9:30 p.m.
22nd Katie Flaute 36:30.89


100m Dash Heats (11.80) 2:55 p.m.
Adv. Dee Dee Trotter 11.72#

Sprint Medley Champ. (Non-NCAA Event) 5:55 p.m.
2nd Toyin Olupona/Antoinette Gorham 3:44.97
Dee Dee Trotter/Nicole Cook


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



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