April 4, 2013
- With 49 personal bests through two weeks of its outdoor campaign, the University of Tennessee track & field team travels down to Gainesville, Fla., for the one of the fastest meets in the south this weekend, the 69th annual Pepsi Florida Relays.
- Many ranked teams will travel to Percy Beard Track at James G. Pressly Stadium on the University of Florida campus this weekend. The Gator men (No. 3) and women (No. 4) are ranked highest among all competitors.
- Other NCAA Division I ranked programs on the men's side include No. 6 Florida State, No. 8 Southern California, No. 11 Ole Miss, No. 17 Indiana, No. 23 Baylor and No. 25 Oklahoma State. On the women's side, other ranked teams include No. 6 Texas, No. 12 UCF, No. 14 Baylor, No. 19 Georgia and No. 25 Southern California.
- The Vols and Lady Vols are slated to begin competition on Friday at noon and Saturday at 10 a.m.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
- The Florida Relays will be broadcast live via Flotrack at Flotrack.org. The live stream will be available only to Flotrack Pro members.
- Live results and additional information for the meet can be found at the Track & Field Meet Central page on UTSports.com.
- Also be sure to follow the Tennessee track & field team on twitter at @Vol_Track. Join the conversation by using the official hashtag of the Florida Relays #FLRelays.
- Already with 49 personal bests this season, the Vols and Lady Vols are well represented among the nation's elite. Currently, eight Vol athletes and one relay are ranked in the nation's top 50, while six Lady Vols grace the same list.
- Leading the Vols are field athletes Jake Blankenship and Tavis Bailey. Blankenship is coming off a fourth-place finish at the Texas Relays after notching a personal record pole vault performance of 18-feet, 4.75-inches (5.61m). That mark has the rookie ranked fourth in the nation, second among rookies and third in UT's all-time outdoor record book.
- Bailey picked up a PR in the season-opening MSU Conference Challenge to win the discus throw title with a mark of 195-3 (59.51m). Down in Austin for the Texas Relays, Bailey chose to compete in the Texas State Bobcat Invitational, and won the discus title there as well. He finished sixth at the Texas Relays.
- The Vol 4x100-meter relay made up of Reggie Juin, Jamol James, Jarael Nelvis and Arnez Hardnick currently sits sixth in the nation after bettering their mark to 39.75 seconds in Austin last week. The same squad placed seventh at last season's NCAA Outdoor Championships.
- Leading the Lady Vols in the field is freshman thrower Cassie Wertman, who continues to improve on her personal bests this season. Wertman has improved her lifetime best in the shot put and discus in both meets this season. She currently ranks 11th in the nation in the shot put with a mark of 53-2.25 (16.21m). That mark puts her second among freshmen.
- Senior sprinter/jumper Kia Jackson also paces the Tennessee women. The Lithonia, Ga., native currently ranks 20th in the nation in the long jump after she joined the 20-foot club the first week of the season (20-0.5). Jackson also possesses the 35th-best 100-meter time in the country entering the weekend (11.63).
MOVING UP THE CHARTS
- With the first USTFCCCA regional rankings coming out this week, the Vols and Lady Vols came in at No. 2 and No. 4 in the South Region, respectively.
- On the national stage, both the Big Orange men and women are up to their highest marks of the season. The Vols jumped 35 positions after their performance at the Texas Relays and now sit just 11 places outside the top 25 at No. 36.
- The Lady Vols moved up one spot last week and currently rank 44th in the country.
- In the top 25, the SEC led the way on the men's side with seven teams, while six women's groups are in the poll. Texas A&M, Arkansas and Florida are ranked No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 in the men's poll.
THE OUTDOOR SLATE
- The Big Orange hosts the 47th annual Sea Ray Relays at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium from April 11-13. The second annual "Sea Ray Showcase," which features the men's and women's 200m, 1500m, 800m, 400m, 100m, DMR and the 4x100m relays will take place from 12:30 p.m. ET to 1:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 13.
- Tennessee will participate in the Mt. SAC Relays and Vanderbilt Invitational before heading north for the 119th edition of the Penn Relays from Thursday, April 25-27.
- The championship portion of the season consisting of the SEC Championships, NCAA East Prelims, NCAA Championships and USATF Championships kicks off from May 9-12 with the league championship meet in Columbia, Mo.
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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Tennessee has now had 295 combined indoor and outdoor All-Americans in program history. Under Clark, the Lady Vols and Vols have combined for 202 All-America certificates.