Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Congratulations to Phoebe Wright!

I am taking a short break from dealing with the Tonya Craft case and the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit in order to highlight some very positive news and to praise a very outstanding athlete. As a University of Tennessee track and cross country alum (1971-75), I take a lot of pride in the accomplishments of people who have worn the Orange Jersey.

The most outstanding athlete at Tennessee this past year, according to sportswriter Mike Strange of the Knoxville News-Sentinel, is Phoebe Wright, who came to UT as a walk-on from Red Bank High School near Chattanooga. Given that there was zero hype when she arrived at campus, as Strange noted, her rise to the position of being one of the most dominant athletes at UT has been amazing.

As one who follows UT track closely, I have not seen the kind of season that Ms. Wright had this last year, ever, at least from a Tennessee track athlete. The only collegiate race she lost all year was a second-place finish in the 500 meters at an indoor meet at Penn State last winter. She is an 800 runner, not a sprinter, and yet her time in that 500 meters was the fifth-fastest collegiate time in history.

Her utter dominance in the 800 meters, not to mention the few times she ran the 1500 meters (and she even won a 400 meter race in collegiate competition) was something for the record books. She had to lead every race, and in high-level meets, it always was the same: someone would hang on her shoulder, and Phoebe would run away down the homestretch.

The great thing was (if one is a UT track fan), is that everyone knew what was going to happen in the last 100 meters. Whether it was at the NCAA indoor championships (in which she blew away a very good field) to the NCAA outdoor championships (in which she blew away a very good field), she led the entire race, had people on her shoulder on the backstretch of the last lap, and then pulled away at the end.

One tipoff to how dominant she was in these major races was the fact that the second-place finishers always stayed in lane one down the stretch. Why is that significant? It is because a person who is trying to win will swing wide so that he or she can pass down the stretch. However, if one remains in lane one, it is saying that the real competition is for second place.

I had the pleasure of running with very dominant athletes at Tennessee, such as Doug Brown, Reggie Jones, and Willie Thomas, all multiple-NCAA champions. However, I never saw any of them have as dominant a season as did Phoebe Wright. Brown came the closest, but even he would admit that Ms. Wright did something special.

She finally lost at the USA championships last Sunday, taking third in 2:00.47, but even that loss has an interesting story and also tells us something about Phoebe's competitiveness. It starts with the situation that UT has an equipment relationship with Adidas, and Phoebe always wore her orange and black Adidas shoes.

However, she had just signed with Nike as a professional, and on Sunday, she had to wear Nike spikes. She was having problems with her new shoes even before the race, and it got worse. At 400 meters, one of the shoes ripped (we call it a "blowout") and in a championship race with the fastest runners in the country, that is more than a little distraction.

First, it means that one has to focus on something other than the race at hand, which is devastating to a serious runner. Second, it slows down one's race; THAT is a given.

On the backstretch, as is shown in the video linked here, you can see her glance to her right and she is passed by a few people, cutting off her momentum and boxing her to the curb.

For most runners, that is a death sentence. First, she lost momentum, and second, she had to focus on waiting for an opening, both of which would devastate most runners. Instead, she slipped to the outside and ultimately came in third, just missing second place.

Would she have won without the shoe blowout? I don't know, but I guarantee that it did not help her. However, she will have many more races, and I fully expect to see her winning national championships at the highest levels and doing well in Europe.

Beyond that are the World Championships next year and the Olympic Games in two years. Phoebe Wright has the capability of making US teams in both events, and I for one will be interested to see how she progresses.

Oh, one more thing. She has a 3.96 average, majoring in hard sciences, and was the recipient of the McWhorter Award from the Southeastern Conference as the outstanding female scholar-athlete this past year. The award has a $15,000 scholarship for graduate study.

I only would add that Phoebe was not simply the best "scholar-athlete" in the SEC; she was the best athlete.


Trish said...

Thank you for sharing this. I don't follow track, except during the Olympics and I will certainly be watching for Phoebe!!! Way to go Phoebe Wright!!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Phoebe!

KDaw said...

A most delightful human interest story. I appreciate a change in subject matter on occasion. Phoebe has a promising future. Seems she is a well rounded individual, and will surely be successful at whatever she undertakes.
I hate that I didn't get the opportunity to meet you on your recent visit. As a mom, the things I would like to do seem to take a backseat to everyone Else's wants.
I hope I get the opportunity again. I just wish you taught close by. I would actually save up to take one class at a time. While the thought of getting out in the real world is a little frightening, I believe it would be most enjoyable. ( I have been a stay at home Mom for 18 years and my teenage son offers about as much conversation as my 3 dogs.

On a side note. What kind of dog is in your profile picture? The face looks just like one of my dogs. Found in a ditch, we know nothing about his breed. The closest we have found is a Dandie Dinmont Terrier, pepper colored.
And he's "hinged" in the oddest places in his spine, he can fold himself in half. Funniest thing ever.

kbp said...

Tonya Craft’s appearance on ABC’s "The View" rescheduled for Tuesday

Tonya Craft’s appearance on ABC’s “The View,” which was originally scheduled for today, was moved to tomorrow, June 29.

Craft said it was a last-minute change.

Accompanying her on the show will be her husband David and attorney Demosthenes Lorandos.

“The View” airs weekdays at 11 a.m..

William L. Anderson said...

The dog is Teddy, who is a Miniature Goldendoodle. He really is a piece of work, trust me.

KDaw said...

So far, the best interview yet. Whoopie even showed that she had at least managed to do a little research, by her mention of the McMartin case.

William L. Anderson said...

I agree. Whoopie asked the best questions by far.

The question of "Why would they do this?" is an obvious one, and we definitely need to deal with it in future posts. I heard that same question in the Duke Lacrosse Case, as though it answered all of the pro-Nifong arguments.

There are reasons why people would do this and as an economist, I believe that incentives matter. Yes, we WILL answer the "why" question soon enough!

volfan69 said...

Congrats to a wonderful young lady! Gotta love those VOLS.

That was an excellent interview on The View. I'm so glad that it was at least long enough for information to be given that is important for the public to know and understand. I especially liked that they pointed out the two-day seminar the "interviewer" had and how that needs to be changed. I thought it was good that Joy Bahr asked why she couldn't get her children back because Tonya was acquitted of all charges. That will cause more people to question what is going on with the entire process.

I don't like to cry because it irritates me with myself. However, I did get moist eyes when David Craft spoke.

volfan69 said...

Mr. Anderson, to you and those of us that followed this from the beginning the answer to "Why?" is obvious, but it may not be to others that are new to the situation. The reason I say that is because my brother and sister-in-law live in Boone, NC. I just recently got them interested in this and your site here. WHY was the first thing out of their mouths. After they went back to the beginning of your blogs and read forward they understood. As one of the women pointed out, Joy Bahr again, you want to believe the children and not discount what they are saying. I honestly think that many people feel that way...if the child says it happened you want to believe it did and you overreact. That really is a fine line to walk with the reporting of child molestation. Most people, I imagine, first think "poor baby" and immediately think the accused is a monster. We are an "I want it now" society and sometimes it is difficult to wait for all of the facts. Anyway, I appreciate all you have done so far and I look forward to future articles from you. I'm trying to get as many people as I can to read here so that they are more informed about what really happened.

(Sorry that I rambled on so long.) Bobb

kbp said...


I'd classify that more as HOW it could happen than WHY. Somebody put the words in the mind of the child which first made the accusations (or more accurately, there were 2 that claimed that child voiced the accusations).

Lame said...

I'm still upset that nobody in the media is talking about the fact that the prosecution in this case tried to use homophobic and racist rhetoric to sway the jury. I mean, wasn't the guest host an open homosexual? I find it revolting that nobody is taking these jackasses to task for promoting homophobia and racism!

volfan69 said...

kbp, thank you. Your point is well taken by me and I appreciate you and your point of view. I must say that I've learned so much from so many on this site. I sincerely appreciate all of you. This has been a real eye opener for sure.

Lame, maybe they think that bringing that up at this point will hurt their case more than support it. I honestly don't know, but I have wondered the same thing. However, I do know that many people are very sensitive to the "gay" card and the "race" card being played so much that people will turn away from important issues because of that. (I hope what I just wrote makes sense.) Bobb

Anonymous said...

Tonya's attorneys are moving along with new court filings.

Anonymous said...

Lame said...

I thought I'd mention that some of our views/comments about the Larry King interview were almost prophetic. He just announced his retirement of sorts.

Anonymous said...

I hope Sandra & Sherri are going crazy,after all they thought they would be the ones all over the media.They uncovered the big bad monster.To bad for them.God bless you Tonya.

kbp said...

I just did a quick search of what exemptions Georgia had for bankruptcy, which often follows a judgment. The more specific portion of exemptions I was looking for was "homestead".

While many states have an allowance to guard your home from loss in a judgment, it appears Georgia has a $5,000 limit.

I did not read the Statute itself, just a summary, so I may be wrong here. If not, that state is hard on defendants, providing little cover.

The court issued an Order for denial of Evan's "Motion to Dismiss".

Anonymous said...

kbp,what pointe are you making?

grits said...

If you missed the interview on The View you can watch it at

Kudos to Phoebe for her excellence in the classroom and track. Sounds like she had a dream for herself and didn't let the lack of recruitung limelight or offers set her back.

Speaks at lot to Tonya Craft.

We can all learn from these ladies who reached deep within themselves and stayed true to their inner being.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that KathyR finally shut up.She does not have any children in the school system to feel worried.It is funny that people who are not involed want to comment,but they have no clue how parents feel.

kbp said...

Anon 9:48,

Regarding the limit of Georgia's Homestead law, the defendants can only protect $5,000 of any equity they have in their personal home through bankruptcy, whereas in some states you can protect much more or all of that equity.

As far as the Order, it simply means Evans' attorney asked for the case to be dismissed on a technicality and the judge said no, which means Evans will face a lawsuit unless they come up with some magic mation.

Anonymous said...

@10:14 How dare she have an opinion different from your own!

If you have a problem with your kids in school with them, you should something about it rather than just bitch anonymously on a website dedicated to much more important things than your petty gripes.

Lame said...

Amen, Anon 11:05. I have no children in that particular system. I have no children in any system. I have no children. But, I guess my opinion on anything relating to that or any school system is null and void, because someone else here does.

Honestly, some of the comments here are like what Paul from The Apprentice (UK) kept saying: "I'm the best salesman who ever lived...I'm so much better than all the other candidates, blah, blah, blah..." and yet in the end he failed to produce and eventually got fired! Seriously, guys, if you're going to make a personal attack on someone else, sniff your own sh-t first and make sure it really don't stink.

Kaye said...


I'm relieved to hear that Laurie Evans' motion to dismiss was denied! I want to see her squirming on that stand as she attempts to explain away her actions!


It's been a while since anyone in the media has mentioned magistrate Anthony Peters. I wonder if the GBI's investigation of him is complete. I had heard that the JQC's investigation into both Caldwell and Peters could take months, which surprised me. Since they're in the area, I would love to hear that they are also conducting an thorough investigation of Brian House as well, but I suppose the voters are the one that will have to remedy that situation.