PHILADELPHIA -- For the third time in as many days, the University of Tennessee women’s track & field team walked out of Franklin Field as runners-up in a relay race. On Saturday, the Lady Vols gave it their all one more time but came up short of victory, taking second in the 4x800m Championship of America race in front of a crowd of over 40,000 on the final day of the 114th Penn Relays.
After taking second in the distance medley relay on Thursday and the 4x1500m relay on Friday, UT was hoping to finally break through for a win on Saturday. It was not to be, however, as LSU covered the distance in eight minutes, 30.98 seconds to take first. Tennessee, winners of the event from 1981 to 1984 and again in 2004, came in second for the third straight season at 8:32.60.
The time by the Big Orange, logged by junior Kimarra McDonald (Lumberton, N.J.), sophomore Phoebe Wright (Signal Mountain, Tenn.), freshman Brittany Sheffey (Bellport, N.Y.) and junior Sarah Bowman (Warrenton, Va.), ranked seventh all-time in Lady Vol history. Not bad, considering Wright, Sheffey and Bowman all were running their third distance race of the weekend after also logging duty on the DMR and 4x1500m tandems.
“Of course you want to win, but you have to, as a coach, realize what just happened,” UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. “There are very few teams ever that have put together performances like that, and we were the only team to run all three of those races and be able to be right there in every one of them. It was very, very impressive.
“I saw some very good things and a team that ran with heart, and that lets me know we are going to be O.K. They ran hard every race, and they never quit. I am very happy and very optimistic about our team’s future, because it looks very bright in the 4x8.”
In the 4x200m relay, the Lady Vol 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.) produced a time of 1:34.73 to finish fourth. That effort, just shy of the 1:34.19 mark UT posted in the prelims, ranks 11th all-time in school annals. Coupled with a third-place outcome a year ago, the Big Orange has posted its best back-to-back 4x2 performances at this meet since 1994 and 1995.
“The 4x2 also ran competitively today,” Clark said. “They didn’t win, but the weather conditions were nothing like they were yesterday or the day before. Yet, they were close to matching the time they ran yesterday. It was a very good relay meet for the University of Tennessee, and I tip my hat to this team, because it was by far our best performance this year, all the way around.”
Junior Celriece Law (Denver, Colo.) closed out the day on a very positive note for Team Orange, as she turned in a wind-legal season-best time of 13.37 to finish third in the 100m hurdles. Law had entered the race with the seventh-fastest clocking in the prelims. Only her legal PR of 13.34 at last year’s NCAA Mideast Regional is faster.
“Celriece has been so consistent this year and has worked very hard,” Clark said. “It’s good to see her make the finals and do well in the finals. We’re just looking for her to continue in her rhythm and continue to get better as the year goes forward. Good job to Celriece, who was the only one on our team to run an individual event at this meet.”
Tennessee also had athletes in action out on the West Coast late Saturday, as John Frazier’s throws corps took part in the second day of the UC San Diego Triton Invitational in LaJolla, Calif. Freshman Holly Kane (Knoxville, Tenn.) grabbed fifth place in the javelin throw with a toss of 125-11. Freshman Annie Alexander (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) was the top collegiate finisher and placed fourth overall in the shot put at 53-5, while senior Amara McKell (Nashville, Tenn.) came in 23rd in the shot at 41-0 1/2.
The Orange and White’s next major competition will be May 15-18 at the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships in Auburn, Ala., but the Lady Vol field event crew will work in one final tune-up meet on May 9 at the Georgia Invitational in Athens.
Lady Vol Ties In USA vs. The World: There was some Big Orange and Knoxville flavor to the raucous USA vs. The World competition, televised live by ESPN2 on Saturday afternoon. Former Lady Vol sprinter Toyin Olupona ran for her native Canada, handling the second 200m leg of the sprint medley relay for her country’s fourth-place effort. Knoxvillian and two-time Olympian Hazel Clark-Riley, sister of Lady Vol Head Coach J.J. Clark, ran the 800m anchor leg for the third-place USA Red quartet.
|THURSDAY, APRIL 24 AT PENN RELAYS|
|(12) 4x100m Heats (Regional: 45.70) 1:00 p.m.|
|Adv.||Jeneba Tarmoh/Cleo Tyson/LaTonya Loche/Lynne Layne||44.53p|
|(279) Long Jump College (Regional: 19-8.25/6.00m) 4:00 p.m.|
|13t h||Lynne Layne||19-1/5.83w (w: n/a)|
|(58) DMR (Regional: 45.70) 5:15 p.m.|
|2nd||Brittany Sheffey/LaTonya Loche/Phoebe Wright/Sarah Bowman||10:50.51s|
|(74) 5000m Champ. (Regional: 16:52.00) 8:30 p.m.|
|(79)10,000m Champ. (Auto: 33:30.00, Prov.: 35:00.00) 10:05 p.m.|
|3rd||Katie Van Horn||34:52.97+|
|THURSDAY, APRIL 24 AT USATF DISCUS DEVELOPMENT SERIES|
|“B” Discus (Regional: 155-2/47.30m) Noon PT/3 p.m. ET|
|“A” Discus (Regional: 155-2/47.30m) 1 p.m. PT/ 4 p.m. ET|
|FRIDAY, APRIL 25 AT PENN RELAYS|
|(114) 4x100m Finals (Regional: 45.70) 12:55 p.m.|
|7th||Jeneba Tarmoh/Cleo Tyson/LaTonya Loche/Lynne Layne||44.28#|
|(122) 4x1500m Relay Final (Not An NCAA Event) 1:25 p.m.|
|2nd||Brittany Sheffey/Phoebe Wright/Rolanda Bell/Sarah Bowman||17:29.12|
|(124) 4x200m Relay Heats (Not An NCAA Event) 2:05 p.m.|
|Adv.||Lynne Layne/Cleo TysonLaTonya Loche/Jeneba Tarmoh)||1:34.19p/1st, ht. 5 (4th)|
|(133) 100mH Heats (Regional: 13.92) 3:35 p.m.|
|Adv.||Celriece Law||13.44p# (w: -0.9)/3rd/ht. 1 (7th)|
|FRIDAY, APRIL 25 AT UCSD TRITON INV.|
|Hammer (Regional: 177-8/54.15m) 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET|
|Inv. Discus (Regional: 155-2/47.30m) 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET|
|Open Discus (Regional: 155-2/47.30m) 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET|
|SATURDAY, APRIL 26 AT PENN RELAYS|
|(230) 4x200m Relay Final (Not An NCAA Event) 2:25 p.m.|
|4th||Lynne Layne/Cleo Tyson/LaTonya Loche/Jeneba Tarmoh||1:34.73|
|(234) 4x800m Relay (Not An NCAA Event) 2:45 p.m.|
|2nd||Kimarra McDonald/Phoebe Wright/Brittany Sheffey/Sarah Bowman||8:32.60|
|(241) 100mH Finals (Regional: 13.92) 4:05 p.m.|
|3rd||Celriece Law||13.37# (w: 0.4)|
|SATURDAY, APRIL 26 AT UCSD TRITON INV.|
|Javelin (Regional: 142-6/43.45m) 11:00 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET|
|Shot Put (Regional: 46-11/14.30m) 3 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET|
# - 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).