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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Taking advantage of three of their four scoring opportunities on the final day of competition at the Randal Tyson Track Center, the University of Tennessee women wound up their stay at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships Saturday in a tie for eighth place.
The Lady Vols, who entered the meet ranked third by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, tied Florida for eighth with 19 points to chart the program’s 25th NCAA top-ten finish overall and 12th indoors. Arizona State grabbed the NCAA Indoor Championship trophy for the second year in a row with 51 points, followed by LSU (43), Michigan (39), Texas (35), Stanford (32), Florida State (28) and Texas A&M (23).
“We had some ups and down at this meet, and that’s part of it,” UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. “We came here, we had goals and fell a little short. We have outdoor season in two weeks to start focusing on new goals.”
In the mile run, junior Sarah Bowman (Warrenton, Va.) just missed in her attempt for a second national championship at this meet, but she did post the best NCAA finish by a Big Orange woman in that race since Alisa Harvey placed third in 1986. After anchoring UT to victory in the distance medley relay on Friday night, Bowman produced a career-best time of 4:36.00 to wind up third. Bowman, who was sixth a year ago in this race and entered with the second-fastest mark in the field at 4:36.51, finished behind Florida State’s Hannah England (4:35.30) and Michigan’s Nicole Edwards (4:35.74).
Bowman ran near the front of the pack the whole race, trailing Wisconsin’s Ann Detmer most of the way until the Badger runner began to falter with two laps to go. With that opportunity, the UT All-American moved to the lead, with Edwards and England giving chase until the back stretch of the bell lap. With a little more than 100 meters left, England began her kick, catching Bowman on the turn and pulling Edwards along with her past the Lady Vol standout down the home straightaway.
In the final event of the meet, the 4x400m relay, Tennessee’s quartet of senior LaTonya Loche (Bastrop, La.), freshman Brittany Jones (Pompano Beach, Fla.), junior Kimarra McDonald (Lumberton, N.J.) and sophomore Phoebe Wright (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) hustled to a season-best readout of 3:35.85 to finish eighth. That mark, which came with seniors Courtney Champion (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Cleo Tyson (Huntsville, Texas) sitting it out, was the 11th-fastest 4x4 in school history.
Earlier, Champion came up with her second eighth-place finish of the meet. After snagging one point for her effort in the 200 meters on day one, she crossed the line eighth in the 60m dash final in 7.36. Champion was second in this event a year ago and sixth in 2005 and had entered with the number seven time in the field at 7.25.
The second day of the meet began in disappointing fashion for freshman Annie Alexander (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) in the shot put. The SEC champion, who set a school record of 57 feet, two inches two weekends ago in winning the conference meet, could muster only a top throw of 53-7 1/2 on Saturday. That mark, which came on her second attempt, was not long enough to get her out of the preliminary round for the first time this season and left her with a 10th-place finish in her first semester as a Lady Vol.
“I am really proud of Annie Alexander, coming in here in January and making a great transition,” Clark said. “She just had a rough day today. Sarah Bowman stepped up at this meet and brought us home in the DMR and ran tough in the mile. Courtney scored a point today; I’m thankful for that contribution.
“The 4x400m relay went out and scored a point without having two of its qualifying runners and ran its best time of the season. I really appreciate their effort and look forward to going outside in a few weeks and going to the indoor meet at Texas A&M next year.”
With the indoor season now complete, the UT women will indeed turn their focus to the outdoor slate. The first meet is scheduled for March 29 at the Hurricane Challenge in Miami, Fla. The Lady Vols’ only home event of the outdoor campaign will be April 9-12, as Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium plays host to the annual Sea Ray Relays.
|FRIDAY, MARCH 14|
|60mH Prelims 5:20 p.m. CT|
|11th||Celriece Law||8.23p/5th, ht. 2|
|400m Prelims 5:50 p.m. CT|
|10th||LaTonya Loche||53.66p/3rd, ht. 2|
|60m Prelims 6:30 p.m. CT|
|Adv.||Courtney Champion||7.26p/4th, ht. 2 (8th)|
|10th||Jeneba Tarmoh||7.28p!/3rd, ht. 1|
|14th||Lynne Layne||7.34p/5th, ht. 2|
|19th||Cleo Tyson||7.52p/7th, ht. 1|
|Mile Prelims 7:05 p.m. CT|
|Adv.||Sarah Bowman||4:41.04bp/1st, ht. 1 (1st)|
|200m Prelims 7:35 p.m. CT|
|Adv.||Courtney Champion||23.22pb/1st. ht. 3 (5th)|
|12th||Lynne Layne||23.71pb/4th, ht. 3|
|16th||Jeneba Tarmoh||25.17pb/4th, ht. 4|
|5000m Final 8:30 p.m. CT|
|11th||Katie Van Horn||16:33.28b|
|200m Final 9:05 p.m. CT|
|8th (1)||Courtney Champion||23.36b|
|DMR Final 9:35 p.m. CT|
|1st (10)||Brittany Sheffey/Brittany Jones/Phoebe Wright/Sarah Bowman||11:01.97bs|
|SATURDAY, MARCH 15|
|Shot Put 4:30 p.m. CT|
|Mile Final 6:25 p.m. CT|
|3rd (6)||Sarah Bowman||4:36.00b!|
|60m Final 7:25 p.m. CT|
|8th (1)||Courtney Champion||7.36|
|4x400mR Final 8:20 p.m. CT|
|8th (1)||LaTonya Loche/Brittany Jones/Kimarra McDonald/Phoebe Wright||3:35.85b|
KEY b - Banked Track Qualifying Standard, dnf - Did Not Finish, dnr - Did Not Run, f - Facility Record, fts - Flat Track Qualifying Standard, m - Meters, mr - meet Record, nm - No Mark Recorded, p - Prelims, s - School Record (Indoors), u - Undersized Track Qualifying Standard, * - NCAA Automatic Qualifier, + - NCAA Provisional Qualifier, ! - Personal Record (Indoors), ^ - Oversized Track Qualifying Standard