Phoebe Wright (photo by Pat Davey)
June 4, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Four University of Tennessee women, including three-time honoree Sarah Bowman, have been named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV Women's University Division Track & Field/Cross Country Team.
Tennessee leads the district with three first-team selections in Bowman, senior classmate Amanda Alexander and junior Phoebe Wright. Senior Alicia Essex was a second-team choice. The first-team selections will be candidates for ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America distinction, and that team will be announced on June 19.
Bowman made the all-district squad for the third time, earning first-team honors for the second year in a row. Joining her on the first team for the initial time are Alexander and Wright. Alexander made the second team last season while completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, while Wright was a member as a sophomore at Rocky Top. Essex, meanwhile, earned distinction for the first time.
Bowman, a business major from Warrenton, Va., is the owner of a 3.87 grade point average. She was a second-team CoSIDA Academic All-American a year ago and is a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and a two-time member of the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team. She was named the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for track & field in each of the past two seasons and was the 2008 USTFCCCA Indoor Scholar-Athlete of the Year as well.
Combining track & field and cross country, the Fauquier High School graduate is a nine-time All-American, three-time NCAA champion and 12-time SEC winner. She led Tennessee to an NCAA Indoor National Championship in 2009 and SEC Indoor titles in 2007 and 2009. She will run in her final collegiate meet June 10-13, when she competes in the 1500m at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. She enters ranked No. 4 in the field with a season best of 4:13.59.
Nationally, she has anchored the past two NCAA champion distance medley relay units, including a 2009 quartet that set a world record. She also won the mile run in meet-record time in 2009 and led Tennessee to a high profile trio of baton-event wins at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. During that haul, Bowman helped Tennessee win the DMR, set a world record in the 4x1500m and chart an American record in the 4x800m.
At the SEC level, Bowman became the first SEC woman to win three straight league indoor titles in the mile, 3000m and DMR. Outdoors, she won her second straight and third overall 1500m crown and placed fifth in the 800 meters. She tied LaVonna Martin for the school record with 12 overall triumphs at the conference level.
Also a standout in cross country, Bowman is a four-time All-SEC performer (2005-09) and has three times garnered All-South Region kudos (2006-08). She helped UT claim SEC and NCAA South Region cross country titles in 2005 and make NCAA appearances in 2005 and 2006. In 2009, she became UT's first All-American in nine seasons when she finished 36th at the national meet.
Wright is a native of Signal Mountain, Tenn., and a graduate of Red Bank High School who owns a stellar 3.96 GPA in biological sciences. She is a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member and also a USTFCCCA All-Academic Team choice.
On the track, Wright is a five-time All-American, having won a national championship with the UT distance medley relay in 2008 and 2009 and coming narrowly close to another with a runner-up effort indoors in the 800m in 2009. She currently leads the NCAA ranks with a 2:02.15 time she posted at the SEC Championships.
This season, Wright swept conference 800m crowns indoors and out and won the event at the NCAA Mideast Regional in a facility record time. She also runs cross country for the Big Orange. She posted career-best times at 4K, 5K and 6K in 2008 and contributed to the team's scoring cause in all six races during the fall, including the SEC Championships and NCAA South Regional.
Alexander is pursuing a master's in psychology and maintained a 4.00 GPA for the 2008-09 academic year. The product of Nashville's Hillwood High School graduated from Chattanooga last May with a 3.92 in psychology and made her first academic all-district team in 2008 as a second-team selection.
After transferring to the sister school in Knoxville, she found her niche as a 400m and 400m hurdles runner for the Lady Vols. Outdoors, she made the finals at the SEC Championships in the long hurdles, finishing ninth in a career-best 1:01.34. She also has played a role on UT's 4x400m relay unit this season, helping that quartet earn a regional qualifying mark at the Sea Ray Relays. Because of her flexibility, she has earned a trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships as an alternate for the 4x100m relay.
Essex made the squad for the first time. The native of Purcellville, Va., and graduate of Loudoun Valley High School, put together a 3.72 GPA in graphic design. She previously had been honored for her work in the classroom twice, being selected to the SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2007 and 2008.
A pole vaulter, Essex stands second on UT's all-time performers list outdoors with a best clearance of 13 feet, 7 1/2 inches. She won three events outdoors in 2009, had a career-best finish of third at the SEC Championships and qualified for the NCAA Mideast Regional for the initial time in her career. Indoors, she ranks No. 3 at UT with a best of 13-0 3/4. She won two events as a senior and was a two-time SEC scorer during her time in Big Orange Country.