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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The 11th-ranked University of Tennessee women’s track & field team won four events Saturday, including a program-best three baton events at this meet, to close out the 2008 edition of the Sea Ray Relays at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium.
After thunderstorms brought an early end to the action on Friday night, bright sunshine and mild temperatures provided great competitive conditions on the final day. The Lady Vols took full advantage of the situation, collecting relay victories in the 4x100m, 4x200m and distance medley events as well as individually in the invitational discus. Freshman Annie Alexander (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago), who seized that discus title, also added a school record in the shot put.
“I thought we had a productive day, using the relays to help get us into shape,” UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. “Of course, Annie really being consistent and showing that she’s going to be a factor with a school record in the shot was outstanding. Yesterday it was Celriece Law winning the hurdles and showing her consistency and improving in the windy conditions. It was just a really nice meet of doing what we need to move forward and be a factor nationally and in our conference.”
Tennessee began the final day of the meet in fine fashion, rolling to victory in the 4x200m relay. The quartet of sophomore Lynne Layne (New Rochelle, N.Y.), senior Cleo Tyson (Huntsville, Texas), senior LaTonya Loche (Bastrop, La.) and freshman Jeneba Tarmoh (San Jose, Calif.) moved the baton around the track in one minute, 35.35 seconds to earn UT’s first Sea Rays 4x2 triumph since 1995 and the program’s second ever in the history of the meet.
Loche moved the home team into first place, passing UConn’s Phylicia George down the back stretch before handing off to Tarmoh for the anchor leg. The rookie speedster left no doubt who would win, blazing down the home straightaway and delivering Team Orange a victory by more than two seconds.
UT got another baton event triumph in the distance medley relay, clicking off a readout of 10:40.20 to win by more than 10 seconds over runner-up Kentucky. Helping UT win its first DMR meet crown since 2003 and second ever were junior Sarah Bowman (Warrenton, Va.), junior Kimarra McDonald (Lumberton, N.J.), freshman Brittany Sheffey (Bellport, N.Y.) and sophomore Phoebe Wright (Signal Mountain, Tenn.). Bowman, Sheffey and Wright all ran on UT’s NCAA champion DMR during the indoor campaign.
Relay triumph number three came in the 4x100m, where Tennessee rolled to a season-best and NCAA regional-qualifying readout of 44.83 to win at Sea Rays for the second year in a row and for the seventh time in meet annals. Just as they were for the 4x2, Tarmoh, Tyson, Loche and Layne were responsible for carrying the baton for Team Orange.
Alexander, meanwhile, won a discus competition for the second weekend in a row and became UT’s first Sea Rays discus winner since Alana Preston in 1995. The rookie All-American uncorked a top measurement of 174-10 to take top honors in the invitational division. Seniors Shanna Dickenson (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Amara McKell (Nashville, Tenn.), meanwhile, added placings of fourth and eighth, respectively, with throws of 162-10 and 154-2. McKell’s was a career best.
Alexander came back toward the end of the day to unleash an outdoor school-record blast of 57-3 in the shot put to finish in third place. The mark, which moved her past Rose Hauch’s 1982 mark of 55-7 3/4, catapulted Alexander to third nationally and is one inch longer than the UT best she posted during the indoor campaign. McKell wound up 30th at 42-5 1/4.
“Annie has shown up in the big meets, and that’s been her trait,” Clark said. “Prior to throwing the shot last weekend, the last time she threw it was at the NCAA meet. The Florida meet (Pepsi Florida Relays) was a warm-up, and now it seems like she’s back on track, and that is very, very exciting.
“The throwers had a good day, the sprints had a solid day and we kind of just put it all together as a team. That is what we are looking forward to doing every meet.”
After assisting two victorious relays earlier in the day, Tarmoh came back to take fourth in the invitational 100m dash in 11.54. Layne, meanwhile, grabbed seventh in the invitational 200m in a wind-aided NCAA regional-qualifying mark of 23.74. Junior Celriece Law (Denver, Colo.) was 20th in 24.62, while sophomore Janea Grimes (Newport, Tenn.) was 26th at 26.20. Both were wind-aided as well.
Rolanda Bell (Laurelton, N.Y.) turned in a seventh-place performance in the 1500m run, covering the distance in 4:28.59. Teammate Sheffey finished 24th in 4:41.76.
Competing in her hometown, freshman Holly Kane (Knoxville, Tenn./Karns H.S.) came up with a 10th-place throw of 127-10 in the javelin during her first collegiate appearance at the Sea Ray Relays.
In the 800 meters, junior Kimarra McDonald (Lumberton, N.J.) was the best of four Lady Vol entries. She wound up 14th in 2:14.91 in a race that was won by former Lady Vol Kameisha Bennett-Martin, competing for Knoxville Elite, in 2:07.48.
In the final race of the meet for the women, Tennessee’s collaboration of Wright, McDonald, sophomore Jena Murphy (Memphis, Tenn.) and Grimes came in 12th in the 4x400m relay in 3:48.69.
Earlier in the day, four Lady Vols seniors were honored in a ceremony on the track. Those recognized were Dickenson, Loche, McKell and Tyson. UT returns to action next weekend, as the Lady Vols head to Nashville to compete in the Vanderbilt Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
|FRIDAY, APRIL 11 AT SEA RAY RELAYS|
|Open Hammer (Regional: 177-8/54.15m) 8:45 a.m.|
|Inv. Hammer (Regional: 177-8/54.15m) 10:45 a.m.|
|Open 3000m (Not An NCAA Event) 12:55 p.m.|
|Pole Vault (Regional: 12-7.50/3.85m 1:00 p.m.|
|100mH (Regional: 13.92) 2:30 p.m.|
|1st||Celriece Law||13.24w# (w: 4.0)|
|Open 100m (Regional: 11.75) 3:15 p.m.|
|4th||Celriece Law||11.67w# (w: 5.3)|
|32nd||Janea Grimes||12.24w (w: 5.5)|
|400m (Regional: 54.61) 4:05 p.m.|
|SATURDAY, APRIL 12 AT SEA RAY RELAYS|
|4x200m Relay (Not An NCAA Event) 9:50 a.m.|
|1st||Lynne Layne/Cleo Tyson/LaTonya Loche/Jeneba Tarmoh||1:35.35|
|800m (Regional: 2:09.80) 10:20 a.m.|
|1500m (Regional: 4:27.80) 11:10 a.m.|
|Inv. Discus (Regional: 155-2/47.30m) 11:30 a.m.|
|Javelin (Regional: 142-6/43.45m) 12:45 p.m.|
|Distance Medley Relay (Not An NCAA Event) 1:20 p.m.|
|1st||Sarah Bowman/Kimarra McDonald/Brittany Sheffey/Phoebe Wright||11:40.20|
|4x100m Relay (Regional: 45.70) 2:00 p.m.|
|1st||Jeneba Tarmoh/Cleo Tyson/LaTonya Loche/Lynne Layne||44.83#|
|Shot Put (Regional: 46-11/14.30m) 2:30 p.m.|
|Inv. 100m (Regional: 11.75) 3:20 p.m.|
|4th||Jeneba Tarmoh||11.54# (w: 1.6)|
|Inv. 200m (Regional: 23.96) 4:15 p.m.|
|7th||Lynne Layne||23.74w# (w: 3.8)|
|20th||Celriece Law||24.62w (w: 3.8)|
|26th||Janea Grimes||26.20x (nwi)|
|Inv. 5000m (Regional: 16:52.00) 4:40 p.m.|
|dnf||Katie Van Horn|
|4x400m Relay (Regional: 3:42.00) 5:25 p.m.|
|12th||Phoebe Wright/Kimarra McDonald/Sarah Bowman/Rolanda Bell||3:48.69|
# - 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).