CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The 21st-ranked University of Tennessee women’s track & field team opened the outdoor portion of its 2008 schedule in successful fashion Saturday at the Hurricane Challenge, as the Lady Vols won four events and charted eight NCAA regional qualifying performances at the University of Miami’s Cobb Track.
Senior Shanna Dickenson (Cincinnati, Ohio) won the hammer throw, senior LaTonya Loche (Bastrop, La.) took the 400m dash crown, junior Sarah Bowman (Warrenton, Va.) raced to the 1500m run title and junior Alicia Essex (Purcellville, Va.) captured the pole vault to pace UT. The Big Orange women were competing in a field that also included No. 13 Florida and No. 24 Miami as well as Illinois, Virginia, Buffalo State, Florida Atlantic and Florida International.
Dickenson had a highly-productive outdoor opener, earning a berth into the NCAA Mideast Regional meet in two events. As mentioned, she captured the hammer throw, doing so with a heave of 188 feet even, while teammate Taylor Rotella (Knoxville, Tenn.) was fifth in a career-best 132-4. Dickenson came back later to hit the regional standard in the discus, taking fourth at 163-4.
Bowman’s victory in the 1500m was a dominant one, as she charted a career-topping readout of four minutes, 16.89 seconds to book her ticket to the regional meet in Fayetteville, Ark., on May 30-31. The indoor All-American led a one-through-five UT run in that event, with sophomore Phoebe Wright (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) coming in a distant second at 4:31.81. Next came freshman Brittany Sheffey (Bellport, N.Y.) in third at 4:33.46, junior Rolanda Bell (Laurelton, N.Y.) in fourth at 4:33.95 and sophomore Jackie Areson (Delray Beach, Fla.) in fifth at 4:46.45.
Loche and Essex kicked in the other two Lady Vol triumphs. Loche circled the oval in 54.29 seconds to win the 400 meters and chart a regional qualifier, while Essex matched her outdoor PR in the pole vault with a clearance of 11-11 3/4. That height did not, however, meet the regional standard.
Freshman Annie Alexander (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) joined the NCAA regional travel squad in the discus like Dickenson, stretching the tape to a career-best of 175-8 to finish in second place. Senior teammate Amara McKell (Nashville, Tenn.) was sixth at 143-0.
Junior Celriece Law (Denver, Colo.) and freshman Jeneba Tarmoh (San Jose, Calif.) snared Team Orange’s remaining three NCAA regional marks. Law produced the fastest season-opener in her career in the 100m hurdles, blowing down the track in 13.59 to finish third. Tarmoh, meanwhile, charted two regional marks. In the 100m dash, she made the field by finishing second in 11.69 to teammate Lynne Layne’s (New Rochelle, N.Y.) third-place readout of 11.77. Later, in the 200m, she rolled to a count of 23.71 to finish fourth and hit the magic mark.
In the javelin, a Karns High School product notched a career best. Freshman Holly Kane (Knoxville, Tenn.) got off a fling of 131-10 to wind up third in her first collegiate competition. Fellow rookie Brittany Napoli (Howell, N.J.) was fifth at 115-2.
Elsewhere, juniors Kimarra McDonald (Lumberton, N.J.) and Bell finished two-three in the 800m. McDonald covered the distance in 2:11.97, while Bell was third in 2:13.13. Also, Loche was sixth in the 200m in 23.98, Layne was seventh in the long jump at 18-9 and UT’s 4x400m relay combination, comprised of distance runners Wright, McDonald, Bowman and Sheffey, was third in 3:47.77.
“Overall, I think we had a good day, and it was good to get the outdoor season underway with eight regional marks under our belt,” UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. “We showed that we have a lot of different events that have the possibility of scoring in down the road as we get into the championship meets.
“We had a good mark in the weight, several personal bests in the field events and a nice opener in the hurdles from Celriece as well as getting a PR in the 1500m from Sarah. Most importantly we came out of our first meet healthy and are looking forward to going to Gainesville next weekend.”
Tennessee, indeed, will be in northern Florida on April 4-5, as the majority of the Lady Vols take part in the Pepsi Florida Relays. Clark, meanwhile, will take Katie Van Horn westward to the Stanford Invitational on those same days to try and get a qualifying mark in a long distance race in a climate more conducive to that goal.
|SATURDAY, MARCH 29|
|EVENT (NCAA DIV. I QUALIFYING MARKS)|
|Javelin (Regional: 142-6/43.45m) Noon|
|Hammer (Regional: 177-8/54.15m) 2:00 p.m.|
|Discus (Regional: 155-2/47.30m) 3:00 p.m.|
|1500m (Regional: 4:27.80) 4:15 p.m.|
|100mH (Regional: 13.92) 4:40 p.m.|
|3rd||Celriece Law||13.59# (w: 0.5)|
|400m (Regional: 54.61) 5:00 p.m.|
|100m (Regional: 11.75) 5:20 p.m.|
|2nd||Jeneba Tarmoh||11.69# (w: 0.1)|
|3rd||Lynne Layne||11.77 (w: 0.1)|
|Long Jump (Regional: 19-8.25/6.00m) 5:30 p.m.|
|7th||Lynne Layne||18-9/5.71m (w: 1.8)|
|Pole Vault (Regional: 12-7.50/3.85m) 5:30 p.m.|
|800m (Regional: 2:09.80) 5:40 p.m.|
|200m (Regional: 23.96) 6:15 p.m.|
|4th||Jeneba Tarmoh||23.71# (w: -0.2)|
|6th||LaTonya Loche||23.98 (w: -0.1)|
|15th||Lynne Layne||24.61 (w: -0.2)|
|24th||Celriece Law||25.16! (w: 0.2)|
|4x400m Relay (Regional: 3:42.00) 7:10 p.m.|
|3rd||Phoebe Wright/Kimarra McDonald/Sarah Bowman/Brittany Sheffey||3:47.77|
|# - 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).|