Three Lady Vols notched NCAA provisional qualifying marks, including a school-record height in the pole vault by Christie Elwin, as UT placed sixth in the eight-team SEC Challenge at Nutter Fieldhouse in Lexington, Ky.
Elwin, who placed third, cleared 12 feet 9 1/2 inches to match the provisional mark and surpass her previous UT personal best of 12-8.
Brooke Novak won the first individual race of her collegiate career a triumph at 3000 meters in her very first individual track & field race in college. The redshirt freshman from Kaukauna, Wis., covered the distance in 9:58.77, displaying an exceptional kick over the final 200 meters to outlast Kentucky's Caity Phillips, who crossed the line in 10:00.67.
J.J. Clark's Lady Vol squad tallied 57 points to finish behind South Carolina (170), Florida (127), Kentucky (90.50), Georgia (65.50) and Auburn (59). Alabama (25) and Vanderbilt (23) rounded out the scoring.
Toyin Olupona sped to a provisional time and second-place finish in the 60-meter dash. After matching her season best at 7.50 in the prelims, the sophomore kicked it up a notch in the finals to throw a 7.41 reading up on the board, finishing only behind the 7.31 posting of South Carolina's Aleen Bailey.
Sophomore Dee Dee Trotter made her 2003 debut in the 400 meters with a career best that was good enough to also join the provisional club. The product of Decatur, Ga., rolled to a 54.48 clocking to take fifth place. That reading rates her seventh on UT's all-time performers list in the quarter.
''To have three provisionals, a school record and 15 improvements in personal bests shows we're moving in the right direction,'' Clark said. ''The team put in a great effort, and the overall spirit was super. If that combination continues to occur, we will repeatedly make strides throughout the year.
''One of our goals coming into this meet was to hit some provisional marks, and we were able to do that. We are going to continue that assualt next week at Penn State. I'm very excited about the future.''
The Lady Vols began the day in fine fashion with freshman Katie Flaute (Dayton, Ohio) and junior Jessica Southers (Ashland, Ky.) combining to accumulate 11 points for their team in the 5000 meters. Flaute clocked the first sub-18 minute race of her running career, checking in third at 17:49.77 to become the 10th-fastest UT female runner ever in the indoor 5K. Southers, meanwhile, was fourth in 18:18.38.
Other individuals contributing points to the scoring cause were sophomore Nicole Cook (Petersburg, Va.), who lowered her PR in the mile to 4:59.77 in taking fifth; Olupona, who garnered seventh in the 200m at 24.52; Elizabeth McCalley, who was seventh in the 3000m at 10:32.34; and Janine Tessarzik, who grabbed eighth in the weight throw with a personal-best heave of 55-4.25 and moved up to No. 2 on Tennessee's all-time performers list in that event.
*Sanger sweeps diving titles
Despite wins by Jaime Sanger in both diving events, the No. 24 Lady Vol swimming and diving team fell to the No. 3 Georgia Lady Bulldogs by a 142-99 score Saturday at the UT Student Aquatic Center.
Sanger won on both the one- and three-meter springboard in yet another dominating showing by the Lady Vol divers. Sanger recorded a season-best total of 321.75 on the three-meter, a performance that ranks her fifth in school history for the event and is the eighth-highest total ever recorded by a Lady Vol.
Sophomore Lauryn McCalley (Moultrie, Ga.), meanwhile, grabbed second place in both diving events, scoring 287.77 on the one-meter and 311.02 on the three-meter.
Rounding out the Lady Vol scorers on the boards, junior platform-specialist Kylee Wells (Russiaville, Ind.) placed third on the thee-meter and fourth on the one-meter.
In the pool, meanwhile, freshman Graciela Breece-Rodriguez notched the Lady Vols' first swimming win of the day in the 200y IM with a time of 2:05.91. She also placed fourth in the 200y back with a clocking of 2:04.77.
Lady Vol Noelle Bassi outpaced the competition in the 200y fly with a time of 2:01.50 to win by nearly two seconds and remain undefeated in the event during her collegiate career. The freshman from Franklin Lakes, N.J., has competed in the 200y fly seven times this season, touching the wall first on each occasion.
Senior Bethany Hall had a strong showing in her final meet home meet for the Big Orange, grabbing third place in the 100y free and fourth in the 200y free.
Lady Vol Courtney Naparlo (Williamsburg, Va.) also stepped it up in her last meet at the Student Aquatic Center to grab third place in the 50y free with a season-best time of 24.32.
UT's Nicole Brannock (Ellicott City, Md.) also gave a strong Senior Day performance with a second-place clocking of 2:24.10 in the 200y breast.