May 15, 2004
OXFORD, Miss. - It was a sensational Saturday night for the ninth-ranked University of Tennessee women, as sophomore walk-on Jessica Reust won the pole vault, freshman Tianna Madison seized second in the long jump and junior Elizabeth McCalley took third in the 3000m steeplechase at the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Reust, a product of Knoxville's Farragut High School, tallied ten points and matched her own school record, sophomore Kendra Rhyne (Andersonville, Tenn.) added 2.50 for a sixth-place finish in the vault, Madison tossed in eight for her effort in the long jump and McCalley chipped in six more with her school-record performance, as the Lady Volunteers zoomed into fourth place with 31.50 points. Arkansas surged to the lead with 68 points, followed by Georgia (62.50) and Florida (35). UT sits ahead of Auburn (22.50), South Carolina (21.50), Alabama (19), Kentucky (16), Vanderbilt (16), LSU (14) and Ole Miss (6) heading into the final day.
The Lady Vols also advanced sophomore Brooke Novak (Kaukauna, Wis.) and senior Lindsay Hyatt (Auburn, Calif.) to the finals of the 1500 meters, junior Dee Dee Trotter (Decatur, Ga.) in the 400 meters and Madison in the 100 meters.
"Once again, the team put its best foot forward and showed a big heart, no question," Clark said. "It was a remarkable performance by Jessica Reust, a walk-on, to deliver an SEC title. I'm very proud of her, as I am of Kendra Rhyne, who provided a big PR and some sixth-place points for the team.
"Tianna Madison put herself in a special category. She's a competitor who always comes through when it counts. She's been bothered by some nicks, but she put those behind her and got the job done tonight.
"Elizabeth McCalley also put her best foot forward, smashing the school record by 10 seconds. I can't say enough about how she keeps delivering when she's under pressure."
Entering the competition as the third ranked vaulter in the conference, Reust matched her UT standard of 13-3.50 and defeated SEC leader Fanni Juhasz of Georgia (also cleared 13-3.50) by virtue of fewer misses. An aerospace engineering major who joined the team as a walk-on two seasons ago, Reust becomes the third UT woman to win an outdoor league vault title. She joins 1999 champion Tracy Carrington and 2000 victor Christie Elwin among orange-clads to grace the winner's circle.
Reust was not alone in succeeding for Coach David Job's pole vault corps, as Rhyne soared over a personal-record 12-7.50 to earn a tie for sixth. While Reust made her scoring debut in SEC action, Rhyne followed up her eighth-place showing during the 2004 indoor meet. Classmate Jessica Andrews (Rockford, Tenn.) also achieved a PR, clearing 12-0 for the first time and placing 12th.
In the long jump, Madison uncorked a career-topping leap of 20-9.75 on her final attempt to overtake Alabama's Tasha Pharr and move into the runner-up slot. The rookie from Elyria, Ohio, duplicated her second-place finish during the indoor SEC meet and bettered a wind-aided mark of 20-9.25 that she recorded earlier this season. Tonight's measurement ties Madison for fourth on UT's all-time performers list with Menka Scott. Also competing in the long jump but not scoring were freshman Edra Finley (Mobile, Ala.) in 12th at 18-9 and sophomore Caitlin Ward (Gibsonia, Pa.) in 15th at 16-8.50.
In Saturday's final event, McCalley added to UT's bundle with six crucial points. Her 10:36.39 readout smashed her own school record of 10:46.99 and gave her the best SEC showing of her career in that event after finishing seventh as a freshman and ninth a year ago in Knoxville.
In the first prelim of the evening, Novak and Hyatt moved on to Sunday's finals with solid showings. Novak won heat two in a career-best clocking of 4:21.47, a mark that was the second fastest of the trials. Hyatt, meanwhile, cruised to a 4:21.98 count to place third in heat one and fifth fastest of the qualifiers. Redshirt freshman Mindy Sullivan (Lubbock, Texas) was unable to advance, winding up 17th in a career-best 4:41.79.
After earning a berth in the finals in the 200 meters on Friday night, Trotter made it two-for-two by running the quickest time in the trials of the 400 meters. Her 51.80 readout eclipsed the Ole Miss Track & Field Complex record and moved her on to Sunday's championship race, where she will attempt to repeat her 2003 triumph. The race was her season debut at that distance, so it also earns her a ticket to the Mideast Regional Meet in Baton Rouge, La., on May 28-29.
The final prelim of the evening was the 100-meter dash, and Madison earned a lane in the finals via an 11.56 showing that was good enough for third in heat one and fifth overall. Junior Toyin Olupona (Orillia, Ontario, Canada), however, missed qualifying by one spot, finishing sixth in heat one and 10th overall in a career-best 11.62.
"Advancing Brooke and Lindsay in the 1500 meters, Dee Dee in the 400 meters and Tianna in the 100 meters only adds to a bigger day tomorrow," Clark said. "We were trying to get Toyin in the 100-meter finals. She just missed the cut, but she ran a personal best, which is a move in the right direction after having not done that before at SECs."
The only other result involving Lady Vols included Finley, who placed 17th in the 100m hurdles in 14.71.
On Sunday, Tennessee gets things started at 1 p.m. CT with the javelin throw. UT will also compete in the triple jump, 1500m, 400m, 100m, 800m, 200m, 5000m and the 4x100m and 4x400m relays on the final day of the meet.