The University of Tennessee women's track and field team continues its
climb up the treacherous ladder of SEC track and field. Under second-year
head coach Myrtle Ferguson, the Lady Vols took another step up on Sunday,
taking fifth place, with 72.50 points, at the SEC Indoor Championships at
the University of Florida's Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
UT was tantalizingly close to finishing in fourth place, trailing Arkansas
(73) by only half a point. LSU claimed the title with 114 points, while
Florida was second (106.50) and South Carolina (77) was third.
Ferguson was happy about the improvement but did not leave the arena
"We thought we could finish in the top five, so it was a good meet from
that standpoint," Ferguson said. "Being that close to third and fourth,
though, leaves me hungry for more. We all just need to keep working hard so
we can become a team that everyone has to contend with."
Senior Kelli White turned in her best performance in four years of
competing in SEC indoor meets, finishing in the top three in two individual
events for the first time in her career. After finishing third in the
shorter sprint in 6.81 seconds behind Georgia's Debbie Ferguson (6.71) and
LSU's Peta-Gaye Dowdie (6.74), White came back to finish second behind
Dowdie in the 200 meters in 23.52. She will see both of those competitors
again March 5-6 at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Indianapolis.
The distance corps continued its strong point production, providing eight
points in the mile, five in the 5000 meters and six in the distance medley
relay. Maureen Ferris ran a strong race to claim third in the mile in
4:50.27, while freshman Sharon Dickie scored in her second event of the
meet with a 5:00.24 reading to take seventh.
In the 5000 meters, junior Mindy Watkins cranked out a fourth-place result
to improve upon her 1998 indoor performance of seventh (18:01.73). Her time
of 17:13.37 was a personal best.
As for the distance medley relay, the combination of Angie Pothier,
Tyangela Sanders, Frenke Bolt and Ferris crossed the line in third in
11:43.13 to secure Tennessee in fifth place heading into the final event of
The quartet can thank Ferris for its position, as the senior captain
brought the Lady Vols back from a sixth-place standing to third with her
gutsy performance in the 1600 meters. The relay unit's outcome was the best
by a tandem at SEC indoors since Jennifer Brewer, Stephanie Fields, Lynn
Collazo and Celese Susnis were third in Gainesville in 1994.
In the pole vault, Tennessee garnered 9.5 points, as Tracy Carrington and
Beth Gehring finished tied for third and fifth, respectively. Carrington
cleared 11-3 before missing at 12-2 3/4. She had cleared that height last
weekend with her school-record vault of 12-6 1/4. Gehring, meanwhile,
cleared 11-3 before being eliminated at 11-9. Her successful vault was her
first over that height since a season-opening and then-school record 11-9
3/4 at the Virginia Tech Invitational on Jan. 16.
Other athletes scoring for UT included junior Lesly Love in the 400 meters
(55.01, fifth), freshman Frenke Bolt in the high jump (5-6 1/2), senior
Erica Witter in the 200 meters (24.28, seventh) and junior Marquita Knight
with a personal record in the triple jump (39-3, seventh). Love finished
fifth at last year's SEC indoor meet and came into the 1999 meet ranked
fifth in 3:42.57.
On the first day, UT tallied 16 points from three newcomers to the program
to secure fourth place behind Florida (20), LSU (19) and Arkansas (18).
Combining for 10 points for the Lady Vols were freshman Sharon Dickie and
junior Angie Pothier in the 3000 meters. where they took third and fifth,
respectively, in 9:56.03 and 10:01.65. Pothier's time was a personal best
by nearly nine seconds.
Junior Andrea Pappas chipped in six points with her third-place result in
the shot put. Her throw of 47-2 1/4 wasn't her best, but it did make her
the first female UT thrower to finish in the top three in an SEC event
since Alana Preston took first in the indoor and outdoor shot in the
Elsewhere, Kelli White sizzled to a school-record time of 6.76 seconds in
the preliminaries of the 55-meter dash to provide her usual highlight
material. The senior from Oakland, Calif., topped her previous UT mark of
6.77 from last year's NCAA indoors in qualifying for the finals with the
fastest time of the day.
She came back later in the afternoon to clock the second-fastest 200-meter
preliminary time, charting a 23.58 reading to advance to Sunday's
Lady Vols' track shines in FL
Published: Tue Feb 23, 1999 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 01:46 p.m.