University of Tennessee rookies Annie Alexander and Jeneba Tarmoh still have one more meet left in their 2008 indoor campaigns. Their performances thus far have been enough, though, to allow the Lady Vol duo to sweep the Southeastern Conference Indoor Freshman of the Year awards, as selected by the league’s head coaches.
Alexander, from Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, and Tarmoh, from San Jose, Calif., were chosen as the SEC Indoor Female Freshman Field Athlete of the Year and the SEC Indoor Female Freshman Runner of the Year. They follow in the footsteps of senior teammate Courtney Champion, a highly-decorated sprinter who was the SEC Indoor Female Freshman Runner of the Year back in 2005.
LSU sprinter Kelly Baptiste got the nod over UT distance ace Sarah Bowman for SEC Indoor Female Runner of the Year, while jumper/sprinter Brittney Reese of Ole Miss was named SEC Indoor Female Field Athlete of the Year. LSU’s Dennis Shaver, whose number-one-ranked team won the SEC Indoor title over second-place Tennessee and the rest of the nation’s best track & field conference, was chosen SEC Indoor Women’s Coach of the Year.
“Obviously, Annie and Jeneba were able to score and help our team to one of the top performances in the SEC this season,” UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. “They also give us an opportunity to be where we are nationally. The good thing is that they are young and have room to grow and be even better for us. I am very happy to see that they got these awards, and they are very well-deserved honors because they worked very hard and put good marks on the board. Congratulations to them.
“It shows where our program really is, because we very realistically could have had the athlete of the year with Sarah Bowman. That didn’t work out the way we had hoped, but we did get the other two. I feel very good about our program and what these young ladies have done.”
Alexander claimed the Freshman Field Athlete of the Year award after winning the SEC Indoor title in the shot put with a throw of 57-2. She was the only freshman to win an SEC individual title indoors in any event this season. Her SEC-clinching throw was the third-longest winning mark in women’s conference indoor shot put history, and it broke a UT record that had stood since 1982. Alexander is the first Lady Vol since 1995 to win the event indoors and only the third ever. Her NCAA automatic mark ranks her No. 3 in the nation in the shot.
Tarmoh, meanwhile, was a three-event scorer for Tennessee at the SEC Indoor Championships, contributing points in the 60m, 200m, and 4x400m relay. She was the only freshman to make the SEC finals in either the 60 or 200 and score in both. She finished fourth in the 200m with a time of 23.39, which ranks her 10th on the world list this season and fourth among Americans in 2008. Tarmoh is also the highest ranking freshman sprinter in the SEC this season, standing fourth overall in the 200m, seventh in the 60m and third in the 4x400 relay. Nationally, she is eighth in the 200, 13th in the 60 and ninth with UT’s 4x4 unit. She is the No. 2 freshman nationally in the 60m and 200m.
The SEC also recognized the All-SEC indoor performers. First-team honors go to SEC champions, while second-team accolades go to runners-up. UT’s first-teamers include Alexander (shot put), Bowman (mile, 3000m, DMR), Champion (200m), and freshman Brittany Sheffey, junior Kimarra McDonald and sophomore Phoebe Wright (DMR). Shanna Dickenson (weight throw) was a second-team honoree.
Story Courtesy: UT Lady Vols Sports Information