May 29, 2005
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Tianna Madison, Cleo Tyson and Patricia Hall claimed individual titles and the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relay units raced to victory as well, as the fifth-ranked University of Tennessee women claimed their first-ever NCAA Mideast Regional team championship Saturday night at Indiana University's Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex.
The Lady Volunteers accumulated 82 points to ascend to the top rung of the award stand after placing seventh in 2003 and second a year ago. LSU, which had won the initial two Mideast crowns, grabbed second this season with 61 points, followed by Michigan (42.50), Ohio State (41.33), Arkansas (40), Auburn (39), Alabama (38), Louisiana Tech (36), Kent State (33) and Illinois (32) rounding out the top ten.
More importantly, however, the Lady Vols qualified seven athletes for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif., on June 8-11. It will be a tall order to fill, but the Lady Vols will take that collection of competitors and attempt to match the NCAA Indoor title they captured in March.
"We advanced some people today,"Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "We tried to get some throwers in and a steeplechaser and 5K runner, but we weren't able to do that. Overall, though, it was a good team effort. We dominated the meet, winning by 21 points, and the team did a great job.
"There are some good teams here - Arkansas, Auburn and LSU from the SEC, just to name a few. We came in, though, and got the job done."Madison, who carried a top measurement of 21-4.75/6.52m into Saturday's final after lightning suspended the competition on day one, saw her third-attempt mark stand up for top honors,
but just barely. LSU's Tina Harris came within three quarters of an inch from delivering Madison her first defeat of the outdoor campaign, stretching the tape to 21-4.25/6.51m on her fifth jump
to take second, just as she did at the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships two weekends ago.
Clearly weakened by a bout with strep throat this week, Madison managed only jumps of 19-9 and 19-4 on her first two attempts Friday night before digging deep for the winning effort. More crucial than the victory, however, is Madison's presence in the top five and an automatic trip to Sacramento for the NCAA meet. The sophomore from Elyria, Ohio, will attempt to make it a perfect sweep of championship events this season, as she claimed SEC and NCAA crowns indoors and seized SEC and Mideast Regional triumphs outdoors.
"Considering how I feel and that I am still recovering from strep throat, I am happy with the outcome," Madison said. "By making it to nationals, I completed my goal for the week."
"The physical part, the workouts and practice have already been done. Now it is just time to fine-tune the mental part. I think rest and a lot of imagery and visualization can get that done for me." Speaking of getting it done, Tennessee will be represented in the 4x100-meter relay at the NCAA Outdoor meet for the first time since 1999. The quartet of freshman LaTonya Loche (Bastrop, La.), freshman Courtney Champion (Lawrenceville, Ga.), senior Toyin Olupona (Orillia, Ontario, Canada) and freshman Cleo Tyson (Huntsville, Texas) circled the oval in 43.74 to hold off runner-up LSU (44.01) and third-place Auburn (44.14). That clocking ranks as the third-best in school history.
Junior Patricia Hall (St. Ann, Jamaica) and Locke were next to earn tickets to Sac-Town, as the Lady Vol speedsters went one-two in the 400-meter dash. Hall edged her Big Orange teammate at the line, 52.79 to 52.95 for the regional title. Locke, though, charted her second career best of the weekend, and the duo combined to produce 18 points for Tennessee and put J.J. Clark's club atop the team standings for the first time on the weekend.
Tyson and Olupona contributed 14 more points in the 100-meter dash and extended UT's lead, as the rookie took second in 11.29 and the senior garnered third with a personal-best reading of 11.37. It topped Olupona's previous PR of 11.40 at this year's Sea Ray Relays.
Tyson came back later in the evening to seize the 200-meter dash in impressive fashion, rocketing around the turn and down the straightaway in 22.91 to hold off LSU's Kelly Baptiste, who had edged her earlier in the 100 meters. Tyson's gold/silver combination in the 200 and 100 meters was just the opposite of her SEC showing two weekends ago, where she won the short sprint and took second in the half-lapper. The rookie's mark tonight was the second fastest of her career (behind a 22.88 at SECs) and the seventh best outdoors by a Lady Vol.
"Cleo Tyson just had a big meet," Clark said. "She won the 200, was second in the 100m and ran on the winning 4x1, so it was just a very big meet for her. Collectively, there was some good sprinting and some sixth-place points in the field events, and they added up also toward our team total." In the final event of the meet, senior Antoinette Gorham's (Glenarden, Md.) gutsy anchor leg delivered UT its fifth triumph of the evening in a season-best 3:31.27. Loche, Hall and Champion preceded her with the baton, and Gorham initially yielded to Auburn closer Tamara Thomas before the Big Orange senior rallied down the home stretch to overtake the fading Tiger runner and help Team Orange improve its 2005 topper by nearly three seconds en route to an NCAA bid.
"She didn't have the race she anticipated in the 800m," Clark said. "I think she let out her frustrations on the 4x4 and had a big leg with a 51 split. That just helps us all the way through." Earlier in the day, Tennessee snagged three points in the shot put and nearly added another qualifier when junior April Thomas (Albany, Ga.) wound up fifth in the shot put. The transfer from Cloud County (Kan.) Community College uncorked a top throw of 51-1.50/15.58m, but she wound up one spot short of NCAA qualifying like teammates Ariel Brooks (hammer) and Jessica Reust (pole vault) on Friday.
UT also got a point in the 800 meters from Gorham, as the senior placed eighth in 2:08.18. While the Lady Vol middle distance runner did not earn an automatic berth to the national meet, she appears a solid candidate to make the field in that event by virtue of her 2:05.30 clocking in the SEC finals, which ranked her seventh heading into the regional meet.
In other events, junior Felicia Guliford (Gallup, N.M.) saw an NCAA berth slip through her fingers over the final three laps of the 5000 meters, as she drifted from the midst of a leading pack of runners to 10th in 16:43.75. Freshman Shanna Dickenson (Cincinnati, Ohio) wound up 12th in the discus throw at 158-2/48.22m, while junior Ariel Brooks (Miami, Fla.) was unable to land a fair mark.
Elsewhere, junior Brooke Novak (Kaukauna, Wis.) was 13th in the 1500 meters in 4:38.43, and senior Elizabeth McCalley (Knoxville, Tenn.), the school record-holder in the 3000-meter steeplechase, closed out her Lady Vol career with a 19th-place run of 10:50.08 in that event.
"We have a good future, with Tianna being a sophomore and the freshmen who scored today," Clark said. Even throughout the team, with Felicia and some others coming back, it is very promising. We lose our seniors in Toyin, Antoinette and Elizabeth, but on the whole everyone comes back, so we'll still be very exciting next year."
|FRIDAY, MAY 27 AT THE NCAA MIDEAST REGIONAL|
|Pole Vault Fin. (Regional: 12-5.50/3.80m) 3 p.m.|
|6th (3 pts.)||Jessica Reust||12-11.75/3.96m|
|Hammer Throw Fin. (Regional: 177-8/54.15m) 3:05 p.m.|
|6th (3 pts.)||Ariel Brooks||189-6/57.75!+|
|4x100m Relay Pre. (Regional: 45.80) 4 p.m.|
|Adv.||LaTonya Loche/Courtney Champion|
Toyin Olupona/Cleo Tyson
|1500m Pre. (Regional: 4:27.80) 4:30 p.m.|
|Adv.||Brooke Novak No Prelim Held/All Entries Advance|
|400m Pre. (Regional: 54.61) 5:30 p.m.|
|Adv.||LaTonya Loche||53.00p!/1st, ht. 1|
|Adv.||Patricia Hall||53.10p/1st, ht. 3|
|100m Pre. (Regional: 11.75) 6 p.m.|
|Adv.||Cleo Tyson||11.47p/1st, ht. 4 (w: -0.5)|
|Adv.||Toyin Olupona||11.48p/2nd, ht. 1 (w: -1.6)|
|12th||Courtney Champion||11.80/2nd, ht. 5 (w: -1.6)|
|22nd||Tianna Madison||12.03/4th, ht. 5 (w: -1.6)|
|Long Jump Fin. (Regional: 19-6.25/5.95m) 6:10 p.m.|
|800m Pre. (Regional: 2:09.80) 6:30 p.m.|
|Adv.||Antoinette Gorham||2:06.73p/2nd, ht. 3|
|Nicole Cook||Did Not Start|
|400mH Pre. (Regional: 60.82) 7 p.m.|
|No Lady Vols Entered|
|200m Pre. (Regional: 23.96) 7:30 p.m.|
|Adv.||Cleo Tyson||23.25p/1st, ht. 2 (w: -0.6)|
|N/A||Courtney Champion||23.96p/4th, ht. 4 (w: -1.1)|
|SATURDAY, MAY 28 AT THE NCAA MIDEAST REGIONAL|
|5000m Fin. (Regional: 16:52.00)) 11 a.m.|
|Long Jump Fin. (Regional: 19-6.25/5.95m) 6:10 p.m.|
|1st (10 pts.)||Tianna Madison||21-4.75/6.52m (w: 0.3)|
|Discus Throw Fin. (Regional: 155-2/47.30m) Noon|
|4x100m Relay Fin. (Regional: 45.80) 5 p.m.|
|1st (10 pts.)||LaTonya Loche/Courtney Champion|
Toyin Olupona/Cleo Tyson
|1500m Fin. (Regional: 4:27.80) 5:15 p.m.|
|400m Fin. (Regional: 54.61) 5:45 p.m.|
|1st (10 pts.)||Patricia Hall||52.79|
|2nd (8 pts.)||LaTonya Loche||52.95!|
|100m Fin. (Regional: 11.75) 6 p.m.|
|2nd (8 pts.)||Cleo Tyson||11.29 (w: -0.4)|
|3rd (6 pts.)||Toyin Olupona||11.37! (w: -0.4)|
|Shot Put Fin. (Regional: 46-11/14.30m) 6 p.m.|
|6th (3 pts.)||April Thomas||51-1.50/15.58m|
|800m Fin. (Regional: 2:09.80) 6:15 p.m.|
|8th (1 pt.)||Antoinette Gorham||2:08.18|
|200m Fin. (Regional: 23.96) 6:45 p.m.|
|1st (10 pts.)||Cleo Tyson||22.91 (w: 0.7)|
|3000mSC Fin. (Regional: 10:52.10) 7 p.m.|
|4x400mR Fin. (Regional: 3:42.00) 8 p.m.|
|1st (10 pts.)||LaTonya Loche/Patricia Hall|
Courtney Champion/Antoinette Gorham