Nov. 18, 2004
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Sarah Bowman, the nation's number-one-ranked prep standout in the 800 and 1500 meters, and Kimarra McDonald, a star-in-the-making 800m state champ from New Jersey, have signed scholarship papers to continue their education and running careers at the University of Tennessee, Lady Vol Head Track & Field/Cross Country Coach J.J. Clark announced Thursday.
Bowman, a native of Warrenton, Va., and McDonald, who hails from Lumberton, N.J., are both expected to provide immediate contributions to the UT track & field and cross country teams beginning in fall 2005. Under the direction of Clark, Tennessee is coming off a 2004 track campaign that saw the Big Orange women place fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championships and seventh at the NCAA Outdoor meet. The cross country team, meanwhile, is ranked 14th nationally and headed to its third-consecutive NCAA Championship meet after claiming its third-straight NCAA South Region title and its second Southeastern Conference trophy in a row.
A product of Fauquier High School, Bowman clocked a 2:04.94 U.S. prep season best as a junior at the adidas Outdoor Championships last June. That time earned her a national championship and gave her the country's best clocking in the 800m by 1 1/2 seconds, according to Track & Field News. A two-time member of the All-USA Today Track & Field Team and a back-to-back Virginia winner of Gatorade Track & Field Athlete of the Year accolades, Bowman also claims national-caliber victories in the mile run at the 2004 Penn Relays and in the same event at the 2003 Nike Indoor Classic. Her 4:23.36 1500-meter readout as a junior ranked her number one in the U.S., as reported by Dyestat.com, one of the nation's leading track & field Web sites.
In her first three seasons as FHS, Bowman has reeled off 11 Virginia AA state championships, including three in the outdoor 1600 meters and two each in the indoor 800, 1000 and 1600 meters during her past two seasons. She also owns titles in the outdoor 4x400m relay in 2004 and in cross country in 2002. The Washington Post has also showered her with accolades, naming her to its all-metro track & field team outdoors in 2002, 2003 and 2004, indoors in 2003 and 2004 and in cross country in 2002. She was the newspaper's 2004 outdoor track runner of the year as well.
"I am very excited that Sarah has chosen to continue her academic and athletic career at Tennessee," Clark said. "She is obviously one of the nation's best middle distance runners. She has a great future and is a wonderful addition to our team."
Also highly-recruited and possessing the talent necessary to excel on the collegiate level and beyond is McDonald, who comes from Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mt. Holly, N.J., the same program that produced 1990s Lady Vol track & field multi-eventer extrordinaire Tonya Lee.
McDonald's credits include a 2004 indoor 800m state title in New Jersey and a runner-up state finish indoors in Pennsylvania in 2002, both of which earned her all-state accolades. She also notched indoor 800m victories at the 2003 Simplot Games and at the Colgate Women's Games in 2002. Outdoors, McDonald picked up all-state kudos in 2003 for a third-place outcome at the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Athletic Association State Championships. During her first three high school seasons, she has charted school records in the 400, 800 and 1000 meters and mile run.
As a sophomore, while living in Pennsylvania, McDonald notched a 2:10.87 readout in the 800 meters and began blossoming into one of the nation's rising middle distance runners. After moving to New Jersey and winning the state indoor crown during her junior year, McDonald continued to draw more interest from the nation's top programs.
Despite missing the latter half of the 2004 season for medical reasons, McDonald is expected to be even better in 2005. Clark knows a thing or two about 800-meter runners from having coached the Olympic trio of his wife, Jearl Miles-Clark, and his sisters, Joetta Clark-Diggs and Hazel Clark, as well as several other world-class athletes. He has seen McDonald develop and believes the fellow New Jersey native is just beginning to scratch the surface of her talents.
"She did not compete last year, but I firmly believe she has the talent to be a top-caliber NCAA Division I athlete and post-collegiate athlete," Clark said. "Her skills are untapped, and she will without question add to the strength of our middle distance program.
"Many coaches would be pleased with these quality signees. We look forward to adding more as we continue our climb toward becoming one of the nation's best track & field and cross country programs."