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Tennessee Breaks Records and Captures A Relay Trifecta at Penn Relays
Penn Relays 4x800m Champions  -  Kimarra McDonald, Chanelle Price, J.J. Clark, Sarah Bowman, Phoebe Wright

Penn Relays 4x800m Champions - Kimarra McDonald, Chanelle Price, J.J. Clark, Sarah Bowman, Phoebe Wright

April 25, 2009

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- With nearly 48,000 fans cheering her on during her final lap Saturday afternoon, Phoebe Wright gave the Franklin Field crowd and Tennessee Head Coach J.J. Clark the kind of performance they wanted to see. The junior from Signal Mountain, Tenn., ran a 2:02.62 anchor split and delivered the Lady Vols their third relay victory of the meet and another American record at the 115th Penn Relays.

Officially, the Tennessee quartet of senior Kimarra McDonald, freshman Chanelle Price, senior Sarah Bowman and Wright produced a winning time of eight minutes, 17.91 seconds to break the previous American, collegiate, meet, facility and school records. The effort enabled the Lady Vols to win three relay events in the same Penn Relays for the third time, joining the 1984 and 2004 squads. It also allowed UT to pull off only the sixth distance triple (victories in the distance medley, 4x1500m and 4x800m relays) in meet history. North Carolina was the last to do it in 2003, and hometown school Villanova accomplished that feat in 1989, 1990, 1995 and 1997.

McDonald started off the show by running a career-best 2:09.14 opening split and delivering the baton to Price just ahead of upstart Maryland-Eastern Shore, which would wind up finishing second in 8:37.56 The 2008 Gatorade High School Female Athlete of the Year took the stick and proceeded to rip into a 2:02.45 turn of her own and destroy any shred of suspense that was present in UT's 4x1500m world record triumph on Friday.

Bowman began her leg with a 50m advantage and cruised twice around the oval in 2:03.70 to set the stage for Wright. The former walk-on ran the first lap with a strong pace and then covered the final 400 meters with a throng of 47,904 spurring her on by standing and cheering as she focused on the finish line and neared the threshold of five records.

As it turned out, she was just under the wire for the 8:19.9 American record, set in 1979 with J.J. Clark's sister Joetta as part of that group. Also falling Saturday were the collegiate, meet and facility marks of Michigan (8:18.78, 2007) and the Lady Vol standard of 8:20.22. That last mark had stood since 1984, when Karol Davidson, Alisa Harvey, Cathy Rattray and Clark won in Philadelphia.

"We went out there to win the race," Clark said. "We know that we have a good team, and we just let it happen. They were very loose after yesterday, and attitudes were good. The quality that they had after two races was very impressive.

"They all looked very fresh and alive. Kimarra had a good leg and ran her fastest split ever at 2:09. After that, it was just a roll. They did a great job, and we're very fortunate we have a group like that."

Clark said the atmosphere in the stadium was just electric, especially with the public address announcer updating the fans on what time Wright would have to run to break records.

"The announcer was trying to help the crowd and make them aware that we were on record pace." "I felt that the crowd was helping Phoebe, but she was already digging in and really did a great job."

In light of the three relay victories this week, Jackie Areson's 5K win and Annie Alexander's improved NCAA-leading mark in the discus in California on Friday night, Clark is pleased with how the outdoor season is shaping up.

"Our team is coming together." "We have to take a breather now and translate this into the SEC meet, the NCAA regional meet and the NCAA meet. I believe it translates well."

The Lady Vols, indeed, are off next weekend, but they return to action at home on May 9, as they host the Tennessee Invitational at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium.

THURSDAY, APRIL 23 AT PENN RELAYS
EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)
(3) Coll. 400mH (Regional: 1:00.82) 10:00 a.m.
33rd Ellen Wortham 1:03.45/5th, ht. 5
48th Amanda Alexander 1:04.73/8th, ht. 1
(12) 4x100m Relay Prelims (Regional: 45.70) 1:00 p.m.
Adv. Celriece Law/Ashley Harris 45.36#/2nd, ht. 4 (7th)
Ellen Wortham/Lynne Layne
(283) Coll. Long Jump (Regional: 19-8.25/6.00m) 4:00 p.m.
12th Lynne Layne 18-10.50/5.75m
19th Celriece Law 18-3/5.56mw
(60) Distance Medley Relay Champ. (Not An NCAA Event) 5:25 p.m.
1st Phoebe Wright/Kimarra McDonald 11:02.11
Chanelle Price/Sarah Bowman
(76) Coll. 5000m (Regional: 16:52.00) 8:30 p.m.
1st Jackie Areson 16:11.71!#
12th Katie Van Horn 16:37.79!#
THURSDAY, APRIL 23 AT PUMPING IRON DISCUS CLASSIC
EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)
Discus A Flight (Regional: 155-2/47.30m) 5 p.m.
4th Annie Alexander 180-9/55.09m#
Discus B Flight (Regional: 155-2/47.30m) 5 p.m.
4th Akeela Bravo 140-5/42.80!#
FRIDAY, APRIL 24 AT PENN RELAYS
EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)
(116) 4x100m Relay Champ. (Regional: 45.70) 1:10 p.m.
5th Celriece Law/Ashley Harris 44.89#
Ellen Wortham/Lynne Layne
(124) 4x1500m Relay Champ. (Not An NCAA Event) 1:30 p.m.
1st Chanelle Price/Phoebe Wright 17:08.34 wrarcrmrfs
Rolanda Bell/Sarah Bowman
(148) 100m Prelims (Regional: 11.75) 3:35 p.m.
Adv. Lynne Layne 11.70p# (w; 1.2)/5th, ht. 2 (9th)
(137) 100mH Prelims (Regional: 13.92) 3:40 p.m.
16th Celriece Law 13.70p# (w: 0.2)/3rd. ht. 1
FRIDAY, APRIL 24 AT UCSD TRITON INV.
EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)
Inv. Hammer (Auto: 5,500; Prov: 5,050) 1 p.m.
23rd Akeela Bravo 156-7/47.74m!
27th Laquoya Kelly 151-1/46.06m
39th Holly Kane 125-9/38.33m
Inv. Discus (Regional: 155-2/47.30m) 5 p.m.
4th Annie Alexander 188-9/57.53m#
45th Akeela Bravo 124-4/37.91m
SATURDAY, APRIL 25 AT PENN RELAYS
EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)
(231) 4x800m Relay Champ. (Not An NCAA Event) 2:00 p.m.
1stKimarra McDonald/Sarah Bowman/Chanelle Price/Phoebe Wright8:17.91arcrmrfrs
SATURDAY, APRIL 25 AT UCSD TRITON INV.
EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)
Javelin (Regional: 142-6/43.45m) 12:30 p.m.
Holly Kane
Brittany Napoli
Inv. Shot Put (Regional: 46-11/14.30m) 6:00 p.m.
Annie Alexander
Laquoya Kelly
Open Shot Put (Regional: 46-11/14.30m) 7:30 p.m.
Akeela Bravo
SATURDAY, APRIL 25 AT WKU INV.
EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)
Pole Vault (Regional: 12-7.50/3.85m) 11 a.m.
Alicia Essex
* All Times Eastern
KEY
# - NCAA Regional Qualifier, * - NCAA Automatic Qualifier, + - NCAA Provisional Qualifier, ! - Personal Record (Outdoors), ar - American Record, cr - College Record, 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, mr - Meet Record, nm - No Mark, p - Prelims, s - School Record (Outdoors), wr - World Record.

 

 

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