March 3, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- For the third time this season, University of Tennessee senior Sarah Bowman has been named Lady Vol Athlete of the Week. She earned the honor Tuesday for her historic performance in Tennessee's victory at the SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships over the weekend.
Bowman, who previously earned LVAOW distinction on Jan. 20, and Feb. 3 and 10, was unanimously selected for the honor by the Lady Vol Media Relations staff after winning three events and earning the Cliff Harper Trophy at the SEC Championships. That award annually goes to the high-point female scorer at the meet.
A native of Warrenton, Va., Bowman was officially credited with 22.50 points, but she was instrumental in helping snare 30 en route to a victorious team total of 111. Her performance helped Tennessee, ranked second nationally, win its third SEC Indoor trophy in the past five seasons and its fourth overall (1984, 2005, 2007, 2009).
For the third consecutive season, the Lady Vol standout won the mile run and 3000-meter run and anchored the Big Orange to victory in the distance medley relay (DMR). No other woman in the history of the league has accomplished a three-peat in those distance events until Bowman, and no other school had won three straight women's DMR titles at the SEC Indoor meet until UT in 2009.
Bowman's 3K triumph came on Saturday night in a time of nine minutes, 21.66 seconds. After posting the fastest qualifying time in the mile on Saturday night in 4:49.46, she became back Sunday to win the event in 4:41.35. She then returned to the oval two hours later to bring Tennessee from behind to victory in the DMR with a time of 11:23.43. That relay triumph put Tennessee into position to win the meet in its last event.
With her three first-place finishes over the weekend, Bowman now has won a UT record six individual SEC Indoor titles and three relays to bring her tally to a school-best nine total indoor league triumphs. Combined with a pair of victories in the 1500m at SEC Outdoors, she now has 11 total SEC crowns to her credit. That puts her tally second all-time at Tennessee behind record-holder LaVonna Martin's 12 titles. Her eight combined indoor and outdoor individual titles ties her with Martin and Alisa Harvey for first in program history.
The NCAA Indoor Championships are up next for Bowman and her teammates. She is qualified for that meet in four events (800m, mile, 3000m and DMR) but will most likely focus on the mile and DMR in College Station, Texas, on March 13-14. She ranks first in the SEC and fifth nationally in the mile with a season best of 4:34.69. The UT DMR ranks first in the league and NCAA with a 10:56.40 American-record readout that Bowman and her colleagues uncorked on Feb. 6 at the New Balance Invitational in New York City. That mark is the second fastest in the world by women in the event's history.