May 28, 2004
BATON ROUGE, La.
Sophomore pole vaulter Jessica Reust and freshman long jumper Tianna Madison qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships meet with top-five finishes on Friday, and seven other University of Tennessee women moved on to Saturday's finals in their events at the NCAA Mideast Regional at Bernie Moore Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.
Reust, a walk-on from Knoxville's Farragut High School, cleared 12 feet, 10 inches and tied for fourth with four others. She earned the fourth-place finish outright, however, by virtue of fewer missed attempts. Therefore, the sophomore earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Outdoor Championships meet, which will be held June 9-12 in Austin, Texas. Teammate Kendra Rhyne, a sophomore from Andersonville, Tenn., came up short on her attempt to make the national field, clearing 12-4 to place 11th.
For Reust, the appearance at the NCAA meet will be her first, and it marks the second-straight season a Lady Vol coached by David Job has made the elite field. A year ago, Christie Elwin capped her career by earning a trip to Sacramento, Calif., via the regional meet in Columbus, Ohio.
In the final event of the evening, Madison charted a jump of 20-6.50 to nab second place and punch her ticket to Austin. The Elyria, Ohio, native also made the NCAA's indoor gathering in March, placing fifth and earning All-America acclaim. Madison entered tonight's competition with a career best of 20-9.75, which she recorded in placing second at the SEC Championships two weekends ago. On this night, she finished second behind Michigan State's Sherita Williams, who stretched the tape to 20-7.75 to win the event.
Thanks to Reust's fourth-place contribution of five points and Madison's eight, Tennessee stands in sixth place after the first of two days of action with 13 points. Ohio State leads the
way with 22 points, followed by Michigan State (21), LSU (19), Michigan (18) and Arkansas (14) rounding out the top five.
"We advanced seven to the finals and we also had Jessica Reust make her first NCAA meet and Tianna Madison earn a spot in Austin," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "It was a very good day, and we look forward to continuing that roll tomorrow. We are showing a lot of life and spirit late in the season."
In preliminary action in the 400 meters, junior Dee Dee Trotter easily advanced to the finals. The Decatur, Ga., product cruised to a 52.29 readout to easily win heat two and move on to Saturday's money race with the second-best clocking of the preliminary round. LSU's Nadia Davy, who won heat one in 51.85, was the only athlete faster than the Lady Vol standout on Saturday. Hazel-Ann Regis, who defeated Trotter for the SEC title two weekends ago, notched the number-three qualifying mark, headlining heat three in 52.51.
Tennessee added two more qualifiers in the 800 meters, as junior Nicole Cook (Petersburg, Va.) and Kameisha Bennett (Dayton, Ohio) took care of business. Cook won heat three in 2:04.38 and charted the fourth-best time of the trials, while Bennett claimed top honors in heat two and posted the number-eight mark of the prelims in 2:05.70. Cook will aim for her third-consecutive NCAA Outdoor appearance, while Bennett will strive for visit number two and her first since 2002.
Two other Lady Vols ran in the 800m prelims but were unable to advance. Despite logging a career-best 2:08.33, junior Antoinette Gorham (Glenarden, Md.) finished 17th and saw her individual season come to a close. The same occurred with freshman Leslie Treherne (Chesapeake, Va.), who struggled uncharacteristically to a 31st-place outcome of 2:13.41. Because of her season-best time of 2:05.57, which ranks 11th in the country, Clark said there is a chance Treherne could receive an at-large bid to the NCAA meet.
In the 1500-meter prelims, sophomore Brooke Novak and senior Lindsay Hyatt earned opportunities to run for NCAA Championships berths on Saturday. Novak, from Kaukauna, Wis., crossed the line third in heat one and qualified fourth overall in 4:19.70. That mark was just off her two-week-old career best of 4:19.61. Hyatt, meanwhile, was third in heat two and eighth overall in the trials in 4:25.18.
Madison and junior Toyin Olupona each put in career-topping efforts to earn a spot in Saturday's 100-meter dash finals. Madison, boosted by a gust of 5.7 meters per second, zipped to an 11.44 readout to win heat one and advance with the number-three time of the prelims. Olupona, a product of Orillia, Ontario, Canada, gained a berth in the regional championship race by virtue of a PR 11.54 performance that was good enough for second in heat two and seventh overall.
In the final running event of the evening, sophomore Katie Flaute (Dayton, Ohio) took 14th in the 5000 meters in 17:22.96, while senior Jessica Southers (Ashland, Ky.) completed her career by finishing 22nd in 18:10.63.
In addition to those who earned spots in Saturday's finals, junior school record-holder Elizabeth McCalley (Knoxville, Tenn.) is slated to compete in the 3000-meter steeplechase and the 4x400m relay is scheduled to wrap up the meet on Saturday night at 8 p.m. CT.