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TYSON THIRD IN 200 METERS, 4x4 TAKES THIRD AS LADY VOLS FINISH FOURTH AT NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Cleo Tyson

Cleo Tyson

June 12, 2005

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Freshman Cleo Tyson became the first woman in school history to record two top-three national sprint finishes outdoors, and the 4x400-meter relay unit delivered a school-record performance Saturday night, as the University of Tennessee Lady Vols carded their highest outdoor team finish in 18 years at the NCAA Championships.

Head Coach J.J. Clark's squad surprised most track & field observers by accumulating 40 points over the four-day meet to place fourth and post the program's best outdoor finish and highest point total since 1987. Texas seized the team trophy with 55, followed by UCLA and South Carolina with 48 apiece and then the Big Orange. Stanford (29), Georgia (28), Southern California (25), Nebraska (24), Miami (23), and Florida and Brigham Young (22) rounded out the top 10.

The Lady Vols, who won the NCAA Indoor meet earlier this season, also recorded their best indoor-outdoor combination of national finishes since 1987, when the team from Rocky Top placed second and fourth, respectively. Clark was very complimentary of his young team's performance all season long.

"The character of this team really showed up in the big meets," Clark said. "They performed at every big meet we've competed in, and we overachieved in every one of them. We were predicted to be about sixth or seventh with 28 points here, and we ended up fourth with 40. It's just been a good season. It started with cross country during the fall, from SECs, all the way through."

UT's 4x4 put an especially-positive capper on the festivities by impressively laying waste to a school best that was set a year ago at the NCAA meet in Austin, Texas. The 2005 quartet of freshman LaTonya Loche (Bastrop, La.), freshman Courtney Champion (Lawrenceville, Ga.), junior Patricia Hall (St. Ann, Jamaica) and senior Antoinette Gorham (Glenarden, Md.) inked a new mark in the record book with a third-place showing of 3:27.46. That output amazingly supplanted the 3:28.49 readout of a supremely-talented quartet that included Gorham, Kameisha Bennett, Nicole Cook and Dee Dee Trotter.

 

 

"I am very proud of our efforts in breaking the school record tonight, especially considering it was without Nicole Cook," Clark said. "Then, you think about losing Kameisha and Dee Dee off that team from a year ago, it is just incredible what this year's group has done. It's just been a great year for this team."

Tyson, who took second in the 100-meter dash on Friday night, came back less than 24 hours later to secure third in the 200 meters. The rookie from Huntsville, Texas, cruised to a time of 23.01 to become only the second Lady Vol in history to chart a top-three finish in that event. Fourteen-time All-American Kelli White (1996-99) was the other, taking third in 1999.

Senior Sherri-Ann Brooks of Florida International surged to the title, running 22.85 in front of a crowd of 10,200 to nip the 22.86 offered up by South Carolina freshman Shalonda Solomon. Tyson, meanwhile, winds up her rookie campaign with All-America honor number three outdoors (100m, 200m, 4x100mR) and five total for the 2005 season.

"I was ranked in the top five of both events coming into this meet, but nobody thought that I was going to do what I did," Tyson said. "I came out with second in the 100 and third in the 200, so I think I showed people. But, you know what?, I've got three more years left, and I'm coming back. I'm going to get mine."

"Cleo Tyson had a great meet," Clark said. "She is just a freshman, but she really stood up and came forward tonight. "I am very proud of our performance. It's just been unbelievable with the injuries we've had, the year we've had, the struggles we've had, and to come together the way they did shows me this team has a bunch of fighters and warriors. They deserve some time off."

In the night's only other event involving a Lady Vol, junior Felicia Guliford made a strong run at points in the 5,000 meters, but the Gallup, N.M., product came up just short. The Southeastern Conference 5K champ covered the distance in 16:56.65 to place 10th in a field of 16 in a race that started with a slow pace and progressed to a much faster clip over the final three or four laps.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8 AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)
4x100m Relay Pre. (Regional: 45.80) 4:00 p.m. PT
Adv. Tianna Madison/Courtney Champion/Toyin Olupona/Cleo Tyson 43.75p/1st, ht. 2
800m Pre. (Regional: 2:09.80) 4:35 p.m. PT
Adv. Antoinette Gorham 2:06.26p/5th, ht. 1
100m Pre. (Regional: 11.75) 5:55 p.m. PT
Adv. Cleo Tyson 11.33p/1st, ht. 1(w:-0.3)
Adv. Toyin Olupona 11.44p/2nd, ht. 1(w:-0.3)
400m Pre. (Regional: 54.61) 6:25 p.m. PT
Adv. Patricia Hall 53.48p/2nd, ht. 5
Adv. LaTonya Loche 53.13p/3rd, ht. 3
Long Jump Qual. (Regional: 19-6.25/5.95m) 7:15 p.m. PT
Adv. Tianna Madison 22-0.25/6.71mp (w: 2.1)/1st, ht 2
100m Semis (Regional: 11.75) 7:25 p.m. PT
Adv. Cleo Tyson 11.42p/1st, ht. 1(w: -0.4)
Adv. Toyin Olupona 11.42p/2nd, ht. 1(w: -0.4)
5000m Pre. (Regional: 16:52.00)) 9:40 p.m. PT
Adv. Felicia Guliford 16:26.48/7th, ht. 2
THURSDAY, JUNE 9 AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)
Hammer Throw Qual. (Regional: 177-8/54.15m) 1:00 p.m. PT
18th Ariel Brooks 185-1/56.43mp/5th, Flt. 1
200m Pre. (Regional: 23.96) 5:30 p.m. PT
Adv. Cleo Tyson 23.35p/2nd, ht. 2 (w: 0.4)
800m Semis. (Regional: 2:09.80) 6:45 p.m. PT
12th Antoinette Gorham 2:06.06p/6th, ht. 1
200m Semis. (Regional: 23.96) 7:20 p.m. PT
Adv. Cleo Tyson 23.06p/3rd, ht. 2 (w: 0.2)
Shot Put Qual. (Regional: 46-11/14.30m) 8:30 p.m. PT
24th April Thomas 48-4.75/14.75m/
4x400mR Pre. (Regional: 3:42.00) 9:00 p.m. PT
Adv. LaTonya Loche/Patricia Hall/Courtney Champion/Antoinette Gorham 3:30.23p/2nd, ht. 3
Long Jump Fin. (Regional: 19-6.25/5.95m) 9:00 p.m. PT
1st (10 pts.) Tianna Madison 21-10.25/6.66m (w: 1.1)
FRIDAY, JUNE 10 AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)
4x100m Relay Fin. (Regional: 45.80) 6:40 p.m. PT
3rd (6 pts.) Tianna Madison/Courtney Champion/Toyin Olupona/Cleo Tyson 43.18s
400m Semis. (Regional: 54.61) 7:40 p.m. PT
11th LaTonya Loche 53.13p/6th, ht. 2
14th Patricia Hall 53.32p/7th, ht. 1
100m Fin. (Regional: 11.75) 8:30 p.m. PT
2nd (8 pts.) Cleo Tyson 11.29
5th (4 pts.) Toyin Olupona 11.41
SATURDAY, JUNE 11 AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)
200m Fin. (Regional: 23.96) 7:20 p.m. PT
3rd (6 pts.) Cleo Tyson23.01
5000m Fin. (Regional: 16:52.00) 8:10 p.m. PT
10th Felicia Guliford16:56.65
4x400mR Fin. (Regional: 3:42.00) 8:45 p.m. PT
3rd (6 pts.) LaTonya Loche/Patricia Hall/Courtney Champion/Antoinette Gorham3:27.46
Women - Team Rankings - 21 Events Scored
1) Texas 55 2) UCLA 48
2) South Carolina 48 4) Tennessee 40
5) Stanford 29 6) Georgia 28
7) Southern California 25 8) Nebraska 24
9) Miami 23 10) Brigham Young 22
10) Florida 22 12) Colorado 19
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