May 9, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- On a damp day at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium, the Lady Vol track & field team managed to dodge the rain drops and add two more regional qualifying marks Saturday at the Tennessee Invitational.
Senior Kimarra McDonald became the fourth UT woman to make the NCAA Mideast Regional field in the 800 meters, covering the distance in a career-best two minutes, 8.43 seconds to finish second. By supplanting her old mark of 2:10.46 from the Sea Ray Relays, she joins senior Sarah Bowman, junior Phoebe Wright and freshman Chanelle Price as qualifiers in that event. McDonald is set to make her first individual regional appearance on May 29-30 in Louisville, Ky. She had already qualified for the meet as part of the 4x400m relay team.
That same quartet actually closed out today's meet by running the 4x4 together outdoors for the first time. The order of Wright, Price, McDonald and Bowman circled the oval four times in 3:43.04 to take first.
Freshman Ellen Wortham, previously a regional qualifier via the 4x100m relay, also notched her first individual NCAA worthy effort of the season. The former Maryville High School standout navigated the 400-meter hurdles in a career-topping 1:00.57 to punch her ticket to the Mideast meet. Her old PR was 1:01.03.
With McDonald's and Wortham's performances, 15 Lady Vols will be making the trek to Louisville for the regional competition. They have earned 23 scoring opportunities in 14 different events. Tennessee will have a chance to improve upon those numbers next weekend, as the squad travels to Gainesville, Fla., for the SEC Outdoor Championships, May 14-17.
Freshman Laquoya Kelly didn't quite make the regional cut, but she did earn a trip to the USA Junior Championships in Eugene, Ore., this summer in the hammer throw. She did so by producing a career-best toss of 159-6 to win the competition. Her previous best was 151-1.
In the sprints, freshman Ashley Harris had her finest day as a Lady Vol. She barely missed the USA Junior qualifying standards in the 100m and 200m dashes, but she took a step forward Saturday toward becoming an SEC-caliber speedster. Her second-place 100m time of 11.85 was a tenth of a second off the regional cut. She won the 200 meters in 24.45. Both marks were 1/100th of a second off the USA Junior cusp.
Senior Annie Alexander led a pack of other Lady Vol victors on the afternoon, taking the discus title with a fling of 180-4. It marked her 12th career discus triumph in 19 tries.
Other first-place outcomes came from Kelly in the shot put (42-1 1/4), sophomore Holly Kane in the javelin at 127-0, junior Michele Levy in the 1500m (4:58.37) and senior Celriece Law in the 100m hurdles (13.61) and long jump (18-3 3/4).
"We had a good day today," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "We got some things accomplished with Ellen Wortham hitting a regional mark in the 400m hurdles and Kimarra McDonald getting one in the 800 meters. It was good to see Laquoya Kelly qualify for USA Juniors in the hammer throw. Ashley Harris also had some PRs in the sprints.
"We had some things going well today. We were just trying to piece some things together and tune up for next week's meet. I think we got that done despite the weather."
|SATURDAY, MAY 9|
|Hammer Throw (Regional: 177-8/54.15m) 10 a.m.|
|Long Jump (Regional: 19-8.25/6.00m) Noon|
|Shot Put (Regional: 46-11/14.30m) 12:45 p.m.|
|Javelin (Regional: 142-6/43.45m) 1:00 p.m.|
|High Jump (Regional: 5-8.75/1.75m) 1:00 p.m.|
|1500m (Regional: 4:27.80) 1:15 p.m.|
|2nd||Katie Van Horn||4:59.24|
|100mH (Regional: 13.92) 1:35 p.m.|
|1st||Celriece Law||13.61# (w: 1.3)|
|400m (Regional: 54.61) 1:55 p.m.|
|100m (Regional: 11.75) 2:10 p.m.|
|2nd||Ashley Harris||11.85! (w: 2.0)|
|3rd||Celriece Law||11.89! (w: 2.0)|
|800m (Regional: 2:09.80) 2:25 p.m.|
|400mH (Regional: 1:00.82) 2:40 p.m.|
|200m (Regional: 23.96) 3:00 p.m.|
|1st||Ashley Harris||24.45! (w: 0.7)|
|Discus (Regional: 155-2/47.30m) 3:30 p.m.|
|4x400m Relay (Regional: 3:42.00) 3:45 p.m.|
|1st||Phoebe Wright/Chanelle Price/Kimarra McDonald/Sarah Bowman||3:43.04|
|2nd||Amanda Alexander/Kim White/Ramzee Fondren/Charity Honeycutt||3:59.11|