UT's Alexander Earns NCAA Discus Bid at Mideast Regional
Jackie Areson

May 29, 2009


LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Tennessee's Annie Alexander came up with a clutch throw to place second in the discus, Jackie Areson took sixth in the 5000 meters and Sarah Bowman led a long list of Lady Vols who qualified for the finals of the NCAA Mideast Regional at Cardinal Park Track & Field Complex on Friday.

Alexander barely made the final, ranking ninth of nine qualifiers with a best measurement of 161 feet, three inches after her first three throws. On a day when she obviously didn't have her best stuff, though, the sophomore reached down deep on her fifth throw of the competition with a fling of 185 feet, eight inches that catapulted her into second position and an automatic berth in the NCAA Outdoor Championship meet. Kentucky's Ashley Muffet had the longest mark at 186-5 to win the competition, but Alexander accomplished her mission of making her second straight NCAA meet in the discus. She'll try to do the same in the shot put on Saturday.

"First, Annie made it to the national meet automatically," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "Congratulations to her for that, because she has one of the best marks in the country and earned the right to go. It's just good to see her do it coming off the SEC Championships, where emotions run high. It's good to see her come back, get the job done and advance to the national meet."

In the 5000, Areson's strong kick over the final 400 meters put the junior into position to possibly earn an at-large bid to the national meet. She finished one spot out of automatically qualifying with a time of 16 minutes, 35.64 seconds. She'll have to wait to see how the weekend's results shake out and see how many at-large entries the NCAA allows in the 5K. She stood 24th on the national list entering this meet. Senior Katie Van Horn, meanwhile, saw her season come to an end with an 18th-place time of 17:53.11.

"We'll have to wait and see about an at-large bid, but Jackie put herself into position to receive one with her effort today," Clark said. "She had a good run at the end that may have just earned her a trip to the NCAA meet. We'll wait and see how that comes out when the bids are announced."

Through three events scored, Tennessee stands in a tie with host Louisville for sixth place in the team standings with 11 points. Arkansas is the leader with 20, followed by Indiana and Kentucky with 14, Akron with 13 and Notre Dame with 12.

In seven preliminary events on day one, Tennessee delivered a strong showing and set up a final day with eight different events in which the Big Orange can qualify athletes for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., June 10-13. The Lady Vols went eight for 10 in moving folks along to Saturday's finals.

In the 1500-meter prelims, senior Sarah Bowman cruised to a season-best and University of Louisville facility-record time of 4:13.59 to win heat one easily and advance to the final with the fastest time of the qualifiers. Classmate Rolanda Bell also moved along, posting a sixth-place heat one readout of 4:33.80 which was 11th of the 12 advancers. Bowman, who claimed her heat by a whopping 10 seconds, will be making her fourth regional final appearance, while Bell will run in her second.

Junior Phoebe Wright knocked out the No. 2 time of the day in the 800 meters, and freshman teammate Chanelle Price also earned the right to run on Saturday in her first regional appearance. Wright raced to victory in heat one with a 2:04.16 readout. Only Michigan's Geena Gall (2:03.08 in heat three) was faster. Price, meanwhile, took second in heat two and delivered the fifth best readout of the prelims at 2:05.35.

Senior Celriece Law made her third regional final in the 100-meter hurdles, navigating the obstacles in 13.44 to win heat four. After missing the championship race by one place a year ago, she will run for her fourth straight NCAA appearance as the third fastest of the qualifiers.

Junior Lynne Layne took care of business in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. She made her third Mideast Regional "money race" in the straight sprint by winning heat three in 11.60 and posting the seventh-best clocking of the prelims. She returned to the track later in the day to win heat three of the half-lapper in 23.67. That mark ranked fourth of the qualifiers and sent Layne to her third Mideast Regional final in that event.

The 4x100m relay started the day on a positive note, automatically advancing to the final by winning heat three in 45.05. The quartet of Law, freshman Ashley Harris, freshman Ellen Wortham and Layne posted the third fastest qualifying time of the day in 45.05. Only LSU (43.92) and Western Kentucky (44.82) were faster.

"We have people in position to advance to nationals, and now we have to come through and get it done," Clark said. "As we did today, we'll have to execute tomorrow to make that happen. That's what our goal will be when we step on the track on Saturday."

In the third final of the day, senior Alicia Essex came up short in her quest to secure a finish worthy of NCAA consideration in the pole vault. The school's No. 2 all-time performer saw her career come to a close with an 18th-place showing of 12-6.

Unable to advance out of the prelims in their events were senior Kimarra McDonald, who placed 16th in the 800 meters in 2:10.89, and Wortham, who finished 14th in the 400m hurdles in 1:00.14.

For live results from the meet, go to www.utladyvols.com and click on "live results" on the front daily schedule or on the schedule page.

Pole Vault Final (Regional: 12-7.50/3.85m) 1:00 p.m.
18th Alicia Essex 12-6/3.81m
4x100m Relay Prelim (Regional: 45.70) 1:30 p.m.
Adv. Celriece Law/Ashley Harris 45.05p (3rd)
Ellen Wortham/Lynne Layne
1500m Prelim (Regional: 4:27.80) 2:00 p.m.
Adv. Sarah Bowman 4:13.59p/1st, ht. 1 (1st)
Adv. Rolanda Bell 4:33.80p/6th, ht. 1 (11th)
100mH Prelim (Regional: 13.92) 2:40 p.m.
Adv. Celriece Law 13.44p (w: 1.8)/1st, ht. 4 (t3rd)
100m Prelim (Regional: 11.75) 3:20 p.m.
Adv. Lynne Layne 11.60p (w: 1.7)/1st, ht. 3 (7th)
800m Prelim (Regional: 2:09.80) 4:40 p.m.
Adv. Phoebe Wright 2:04.16p/1st, ht. 2 (2nd)
Adv. Chanelle Price 2:05.35p/2nd, ht. 1 (5th)
16th Kimarra McDonald 2:10.89p/5th, ht. 1
400mH Prelim (Regional: 1:00.82) 5:20 p.m.
14th Ellen Wortham 1:00.14p/2nd, ht. 1
Discus Final (Regional: 155-2/47.30m) 5:30 p.m.
2nd (8 pts.) Annie Alexander 185-8/56.59m
200m Prelim (Regional: 23.96) 6:00 p.m.
Adv. Lynne Layne 23.67p (w: 0.8)/1st, ht. 3 (4th)
5000m Final (Regional: 16:52.00) 6:40 p.m.
6th (3 pts.) Jackie Areson 16:35.64
18th Katie Van Horn 17:53.11
Shot Put Final (Regional: 46-11/14.30m) 2:30 p.m.
Annie Alexander
4x100m Relay Final (Regional: 45.70) 4:00 p.m.
Celriece Law/Ashley Harris/Ellen Wortham/Lynne Layne
1500m Final (Regional: 4:27.80) 4:20 p.m.
Sarah Bowman
Rolanda Bell
100mH Final (Regional: 13.92) 4:45 p.m.
Celriece Law
100m Final (Regional: 11.75) 5:05 p.m.
Lynne Layne
800m Final (Regional: 2:09.80) 5:25 p.m.
Phoebe Wright
Chanelle Price
200m Final (Regional: 23.96) 6:00 p.m.
Lynne Layne
4x400m Relay Final (Regional: 3:42.00) 7:05 p.m.
Chanelle Price/Kimarra McDonald/Ellen Wortham/Phoebe Wright
All Times Eastern
# - NCAA Regional Qualifier, * - NCAA Automatic Qualifier, + - NCAA Provisional Qualifier, ! - Personal Record (Outdoors), 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, nm - No Mark, p - Prelims, s - School Record (Outdoors).





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