Jeneba Tarmoh wows at junior world meet

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland - Jeneba Tarmoh managed to get through the entire IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships without losing a race. On Saturday, the University of Tennessee freshman made it five victories in as many attempts at Bydgoszcz City Stadium, running the opening leg on the gold-medal-winning United States 4x100-meter relay quartet.

Tarmoh, who was undefeated in three races and struck gold in the 100m dash on Wednesday, aided the U.S. tandem to its second relay triumph in as many days.

Joining forces with teammates Shayla Mahan, Gabrielle Glenn and Tiffany Townsend, Tarmoh helped the U.S. tandem improve from a 43.76 clocking on Friday to a world-junior-leading 43.66 on Saturday as the Americans claimed their ninth gold medal of the meet and extended their leading medal count to 14.

The U.S. medal breakdown includes nine gold, three silver and two bronze. Cuba and Kenya each claimed eight medals, while Ethiopia and Germany had seven apiece. The Germans had the second highest haul of gold, winning five events.

Jamaica followed Team USA across the finish line to snag silver in 43.98, followed by Brazil in 44.61. The Bahamas took fourth, just barely behind Brazil, though its time was an identical 44.61.

The international junior 100m/4x100m relay gold double was the third by a Lady Vol in the past four seasons. Cleo Tyson accomplished that feat in 2005 at the Pan Am Junior Championships, while Lynne Layne did the same at the 2007 Pan Am Juniors meet.

Tennessee will have one more competitor in action this summer. Layne will be in Toluca, Mexico, July 18-20, to run on the U.S. 4x100m relay at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under 23 Championships. She was chosen by the American coaching staff for that honor.

In other Tennessee track news, it wasn't the finish she sought last weekend, but in making the finals of the 1500 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., Lady Vol junior Sarah Bowman had to take some pride in knowing she was the only collegiate runner in that event with a shot at Beijing.

The product of Warrenton, Va., came up short on achieving her Olympic dream in 2008, but perhaps getting through the rounds and knocking out an eighth-place clocking of four minutes, 16.54 seconds in the final will provide her the experience and confidence to take that next step in 2012.

Fellow J.J. Clark pupil Treniere Clement also saw her run come to an end, as the three-time U.S. champion and Knoxville resident wound up 12th in 4:24.62.

That Bowman finished at all is a testament to her ability to figuratively walk a tightrope. As the pack converged at the start of the race, Bowman was forced to the inside and nearly bumped off the track. She managed to keep her balance and navigate her feet safely away from the rail and the potential disaster of stepping off the competition surface.

At one point, Clement had picked her way to the front of the pack, with Bowman running among the first five, but neither was able to maintain that pace. Favorite Shannon Rowbury ended up winning in 4:05.48, followed by Erin Donohue (4:08.20) and Christin Wurth (4:08.48).

Former Tennessee All-American Dee Dee Trotter did earn a spot on the Olympic team. Not even a car accident could keep Trotter from making the 2008 Olympic Games. Training through a knee injury sustained in that setback and overcoming the pain yet again at Hayward Field, the former Lady Vol carded a third-place finish in the 400-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials and punched her ticket to Beijing.

The fifth-place finisher in the 400 at the 2004 Athens (Greece) Games and a key component on the American women's gold-medal-winning 4x400m relay team that season, Trotter will represent her country in her second Olympiad in August.

Appearing to be in a bit of trouble at the 200-meter mark, the ex-UT standout made up ground coming down the home stretch to match her 2004 Olympic Trials finish by taking third in 50.88. Trotter will join Sanya Richards (49.89) and Mary Wineberg (50.85), who she nearly caught at the line, in comprising the U.S. 400m contingent for China.

"The race was smooth and fast," Trotter said. "I can't wait to watch the replay. This was the hardest part. Our trials are so stressful.

"This is such a relief to make the team. Now I'm really looking forward to going to Beijing and getting a medal or even two with the 4x400-meter relay team. I love this track, because it's so fast. It didn't feel like the usual 400 meters."

Inside Tennessee Top Stories