March 7, 2013
- A trio of Tennessee track & field athletes return to Fayetteville, Ark., this weekend to compete in the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships on Friday and Saturday at the Arkansas' Randal Tyson Track Center.
- Lady Vol qualifiers include Nijgia Snapp (15th, 800m, 2:05.97) and Linda Hadfield (11th, pole vault, 13-11/4.24m), both of whom made late-season charges to earn their first-career indoor individual national bids.
- The Vols are sending freshman pole vault sensation Jake Blankenship, the 2013 SEC Men's Freshman Field Athlete of the Year. Blankenship qualified fifth for nationals with his UT freshman-record vault of 18-feet, 2.5-inches (5.55m) at the Southeastern Conference Championships.
- Since opening its doors in 2000, this season marks the 11th edition of the national meet being held at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
- The 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships will be streamed live on ESPN3.com on Friday starting at 6:25 p.m. ET and again on Saturday at 6:50 p.m. ET.
- Early portions of the meet not covered by ESPN3 will be streamed at NCAA.com and ArkansasRazorbacks.com, beginning with the start of competition each day.
- A tape-delay broadcast of the national meet will air on March 17 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
- Also be sure to follow the Tennessee track & field team on twitter at @Vol_Track.
PUNCHING THEIR TICKETS
- Blankenship had no need to enter a last chance meet last weekend. With four individual meet titles and two runner-up finishes in his six meets this campaign, the rookie enters nationals ranked fifth in the country and as the No. 2 freshman.
- He secured himself as a national title contender when he hit 18-0.5 (5.50m) at the Armory Collegiate Invitational (Feb. 2), tying the UT freshman record set by Olympic silver medalist and world-renowned pole vaulter Lawrence Johnson.
- Blankenship bettered that mark one week later, wining the Samford Invitational with a mark of 18-1 (5.51m) and stepped up once again with his second-place finish at the SEC Championships (18-2.5/5.55m).
- After a disappointing fifth-place finish at SECs, Hadfield capped the regular season in thrilling fashion at Virginia Tech's last chance qualifier last weekend.
- With a double-PR performance, including a school-record vault of 13-11 (4.24m), Hadfield jumped from 23rd to 11th in the nation to secure her first-career NCAA Indoor appearance.
- Having missed out on last season's nationals with an 800-meter mark of 2:05.49, Snapp went into last-chance weekend with a season-best time of 2:05.97 in the event.
- Seeking her first individual nationals' appearance, Snapp was unable to improve her time at Notre Dame's Alex Wilson Invitational and finished the season just outside the top-16, ranked 19th in the nation.
- However, the Mays Landing, N.J., product was informed of four scratches late Monday evening, bumping her to 15th on the list to secure her spot in the title race.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS SLATE
- Blankenship will be the first in action for the Orange and White, hitting the runway at 6:30 p.m. ET for the men's pole vault final on Friday.
- The women's 800m semifinals featuring Snapp is scheduled for Friday at 8:15 p.m. ET. If she advances, Snapp would run in the finals on Saturday at approximately 8:20 p.m. ET.
- Hadfield will conclude the field events for UT with the women's pole vault final at 6:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
THE CLARK EFFECT
- The Lady Vols have won two NCAA Indoor team titles in 2005 and 2009, both coming under J.J. Clark, while the Vols claimed the 2002 team title. Both the 2002 men's and 2005 women's championships came at the Tyson Center.
- The Lady Vols have won four NCAA Indoor titles in the distance medley relay, coming in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2010, all under Clark. The 2009 unit set world, American and NCAA meet records at 10:50.98.
- The UT women have seven top-10 NCAA Indoor finishes in Clark's previous 10 seasons, including titles in 2005 and 2009, a runner-up effort in 2010 and a third-place result in 2007.
- In his fourth season leading the program, Clark has now qualified six Vols for the NCAA Indoor Championships.
- Clark, a three-time SEC Indoor Women's Coach of the Year, also piloted the Lady Vols to SEC Indoor titles in 2005, 2007 and 2009.
- In 10 full seasons leading the Lady Vols and three with the Vols, Clark's athletes have won 60 SEC titles (Women 31 in/27 Out; Men: 1 in/1 Out).
- Blankenship was named the 2013 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 Clark.
- Blankenship also added Second Team All-SEC honors and earned SEC All-Freshman Team acclaim.
- In addition, Vol distance runner Austin Whitelaw was 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.
- 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 (13-11.0/4.24m)
- Austin Whitelaw - Tennessee Freshman 5,000m Record (14:18.11) & Tennessee Freshman 3,000m Record (8:11.68)