March 1, 2013
- With the 2013 SEC Indoor Championships in the books, members of the Tennessee track & field team have their eyes set on getting back to the Tyson Center for the third time this season to compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships from March 8-9.
- With hopes of improving their chances for receiving a bid to next week's national meet, the Big Orange will send 13 athletes into action this weekend at three separate last chance NCAA qualifiers.
- Lady Vols Felicia Brown, Kianna Ruff and Nijgia Snapp will head to Notre Dame, Ind., for the annual Alex Wilson Invitational. Pole vaulter Linda Hadfield and long jumper Kia Jackson will be going to Virginia Tech for the VT Final Qualifier and thrower Cassie Wertman will take part in Iowa State's NCAA Qualifier.
- The Vols' 4x400m relay made up of Jarael Nelvis, Terry Benson, Antonio Carter and Terrance Livingston will join the Lady Vols in Notre Dame, while a pair of pole vaulters - Chase Brannon and Tyler Porter - will also jump in Blacksburg, Va. Lastly, sophomore thrower Matthew Hoty will join Wertman at Iowa State.
- Record-setting freshman pole vaulter Jake Blankenship will not compete this weekend and will rest up for NCAAs as his SEC runner-up vault of 18-feet, 2.5-inches (5.55m) currently ranks fifth in the nation.
- Unlike past seasons, there are no automatic qualifying standards for the championships in 2013. Instead, for each individual event contested, the top 16 student-athletes will be accepted into the competition, while the top 12 relay teams will qualify.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
- A live pay-per-view video feed for the Alex Wilson Invitational will be streamed online through FloTrack at FloTrack.org.
- Live results and additional information for each meet can be found at the Track & Field Meet Central page on UTSports.com.
- To note, last week's 2013 SEC Indoor Championships will air as part of a 90-minute show on ESPNU on Wednesday, March 13 beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET.
- Also be sure to follow the Tennessee track & field team on twitter at @Vol_Track.
ALEX WILSON INVITATIONAL
- Honoring former Irish athlete and coach, the Alex Wilson Invitational is a two-day meet at the Loftus Sports Center in South Bend, Ind.
- All three events the UT athletes are entered in will take place on day two of the event, with Felicia Brown's 400m set to begin at 12:20 p.m. There will be five sections of the 400m. Nijgia Snapp and Kianna Ruff will run shortly after in the 800m scheduled for 12:55 p.m. The 4x400mR that the Vols are entered in will conclude the meet at approximately 3:35 p.m.
- Entering the meet, Snapp's third-place mark in the 800m at the SEC meet (2:05.97) puts her into the national championship field. But as the 13th-ranked athlete in the event this season, it's too close to chance as she'll look to better that mark and ensure her place in the field of 16.
- Ruff unofficially ran her fastest 800m time during her leg of the DMR at the SEC meet, but is currently ranked 38th in the nation for her 2:07.48 performance at the Tyson Invitational. The 16th-ranked athlete in the 800m has a mark of 2:06.24 entering the weekend.
- Brown is just outside the top 50 entering the weekend and will have some work to do to improve her time (54.48) in the 400m. Currently the 16th-ranked athlete in the event is running 53.08.
IOWA STATE NCAA QUALIFIER
- The ISU NCAA Qualifier will take place on Saturday, March 2, at the Lied Center in Ames, Iowa.
- Lady Vol freshman thrower Cassie Wertman will get the action going for the Orange and White at 2 p.m. ET in the shot put pit. Wertman, who has bettered her PR four times this season, currently ranks 38th in the nation with a push of 52-feet, 4.5-inches. She'll need to have a throw of at least 54-9.5 to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
- Sophomore Vol thrower Matthew Hoty will be looking to go to his second-straight NCAA Indoor Championships. Hoty is coming off his top throw of the season, placing fifth at the SEC Championships with a mark of 60-10.75, but currently sits 22nd on the NCAA performance list in the shot put.
- UT's freshman record holder in the event, Hoty's career-best effort of 62-3.25 would put him right in the thick of things for the NCAA Championships. Currently, the 16th-ranked athlete has a mark of 61-10.5 entering the weekend.
VIRGINIA TECH NCAA QUALIFIER
- The Virginia Tech Final NCAA Qualifier will also take place on Saturday as some Vols and Lady Vols return to Rector Field House in Blacksburg, Va. UT competed in the VT Invitational from Jan. 18-19.
- Junior Lady Vol Linda Hadfield will certainly be confident entering meet, as she set the Tennessee school record in the event with a personal-record mark of 13-5.75 at the venue earlier this season. Hadfield ranks 23rd in the nation entering the weekend and will look to jump at least seven positions to qualify. Currently, three are tied for 15th with a mark of 13-10 (4.22m). Hadfield is set to vault in the women's seeded section at noon.
- Prior to the SEC Championships, senior Kia Jackson had a personal-best indoor long jump of 19-8, but her sixth-place leap of 20-1 at the meet pushed her up to 35th in the nation. Entering the weekend, the 16th-ranked athlete has a mark of 20-5.75. Jackson's competition is slated to begin at noon as well.
- On the men's side, the junior pole vault duo of Chase Brannon and Tyler Porter will compete at 3 p.m. Brannon will look to return to the NCAA indoor meet for the second-straight season. He currently sits 19th in the nation with a PR vault of 17-8.5 (5.40m), just a half-inch outside the top 16. Brannon placed third at the VT Invitational with a mark of 16-9.5 earlier this season.
- Porter has some work to do if he wants to qualify for his first NCAA Championships, entering the meet with a vault of 16-7.5. His lifetime best is 17-0.75.
- On Friday, Jake Blankenship was named the SEC Men's Freshman Field Athlete of the Year, as voted on by the league's head coaches.
- He's the first Vol indoor athlete to earn that award under J.J. Clark.
- Blankenship also added second-team All-SEC honors and earned SEC All-Freshman Team acclaim.
- In addition, freshman Vol Austin Whitelaw was also named to the SEC All-Freshman Team for his performance at the league championships in the 3,000m. Whitelaw navigated the banked course in a PR and UT indoor freshman record 8:11.68. That mark bested Glenn Morgan's 26-year-old indoor record of 8:13.70.
- Read the complete release here
2013 RECORD BREAKERS
- Jake Blankenship - Tennessee Freshman Pole Vault Record (18-2.5/5.55m)
- Cameron Brown - Tennessee Freshman Weight Throw Record (64-4.5/19.62m)
- Linda Hadfield - Tennessee School Pole Vault Record (13-5.75/4.11m)
- Austin Whitelaw - Tennessee Freshman 5,000m Record (14:18.11) & Tennessee Freshman 3,000m Record (8:11.68)