June 4, 2010
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Phoebe Wright's impressive list of accolades continues to grow. The University of Tennessee senior collected her newest honor on Friday morning, when the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced her as the 2010 South Region Women's Track Athlete of the Year.
A native of Signal Mountain, Tenn., and a graduate of Red Bank High School, Wright enters next week's NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., with the fastest time in the 800 meters at two minutes, 0.87 seconds. That mark, which the Lady Vol middle distance ace recorded at the NCAA East Preliminary Round in Greensboro, N.C., last Friday, also ranks No. 9 in the world this season.
Unbeaten in her specialty race this season in 11 outings, Wright will be going for her fourth major individual victory of the season in Eugene. She already swept SEC Indoor and Outdoor 800 titles and will be attempting to complete an NCAA season sweep in that event next week. Only four other women in NCAA history have accomplished that feat, including Joetta and Hazel Clark, the sisters of UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark.
Wright also has played a key role on UT's relays this season. After helping Tennessee win its third straight NCAA Indoor title in the distance medley relay (DMR), she flexed her muscle outdoors by spearheading the Big Orange's repeat of a distance triple at the Penn Relays, where J.J. Clark's troops won the DMR, 4x1500m and 4x800m relays for the second straight season, thanks to Wright's heroic efforts. She also was instrumental in helping Tennessee qualify its 4x400m relay for the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the first time since 2006. She ran the third leg for a unit that posted a season best by nearly three seconds to advance to nationals with the No. 10 time in the field at 3:33.69.
During her career, Wright is a three-time NCAA distance medley relay champion (2008, 2009, 2010), won the 800 meters at NCAA Indoors in 2010 and was runner up in the 800 at the 2009 NCAA Indoor meet. She is an eight-time All-American (DMR, 800 meters and 4x400 meter relay) and a seven-time SEC champion (four times in the 800 meters and three times in the DMR).
Additionally, she has scored 14 times in SEC Championship events and was named the 2010 SEC Indoor Women's Runner of the Year. She is one of only two Lady Vols, along with Joetta Clark, to win four league 800m crowns, and she joins Hazel Clark (Florida) and LaTavia Thomas (LSU) as the only women in SEC history to claim four straight conference 800m titles.
She is the world record-holder in the indoor distance medley relay (DMR) and the outdoor 4x1500 meters, and owns the American record in the 4x800m relay as well as an SEC meet record in the DMR. She possesses five UT records on relay teams and currently ranks second indoors and third outdoors on the school's all-time 800 meter lists. Her top outdoor mark (2:00.40) came last summer after she earned a bronze medal at the USA Championships and pursued a berth on the U.S. team for the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany.
Men's Track Athlete of the Year: Ben Cheruiyot, So., Auburn -- Distance, Eldoret, Kenya
Men's Field Athlete of the Year: Christian Taylor, So., Florida -- Jumps, Fayetteville, Ga.
Men's Head Coach of the Year: Mike Holloway, Florida
Men's Assistant Coach of the Year: Dick Booth, Florida
Women's Track Athlete of the Year: Phoebe Wright, Sr., Tennessee -- Middle Distance, Signal Mountain, Tenn.
Women's Field Athlete of the Year: Mariam Kevkhishvili, Sr., Florida -- Throws, Tbilisi, Georgia
Women's Head Coach of the Year: Mike Holloway, Florida
Women's Assistant Coach of the Year:
Steve Lemke, Florida