- The NCAA Championship quest for 25 Tennessee track & field athletes starts at Irwin Belk Track inside Aggie Stadium at North Carolina A&T this week, as the contingent of 15 Vols and 10 Lady Vols heads to Greensboro, N.C., for the NCAA East Preliminary Round meet looking to punch their NCAA tickets.
- With the Big Orange entries split between 19 events, the Vols and Lady Vols will jump into action on Thursday and continue through Saturday. Each day of competition begins with field events at 10 a.m., with the track events serving as the nightcap.
- Tickets can be purchased by calling the A&T ticket office at (336) 334-7749. An all-meet ticket is $25 for adults and $15 for youth and seniors. Day tickets cost $10 for adults and $7 for youth and seniors. All seats are general admission.
- With field sizes of 48 athletes in each discipline, along with 24 teams in relay events, the preliminary rounds of the NCAA Championships will trim down the field in each event. The top 12 finishers in both the East and West Prelims will advance to Eugene, Ore., for the 2013 NCAA Championships at Hayward Field from June 5-8.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
- Of the 25 Tennessee qualifiers, six Vols and five Lady Vols enter the competition in the top 12 of the NCAA East Region. In addition, the Vol 4x100m relay, which placed seventh at last season's NCAA Championships, enters the meet ranked eighth in the East.
- Freshman standout Felicia Brown sits 10th in the 200m (23.19) and 12th in the 400m (53.01), while the Vols have three pole vaulters in the top 12.
- Jake Blankenship leads the Tennessee vaulters with a mark of 18-feet, 4.75 inches (5.61m), which is good for third in the region. Following closely is teammate Chase Brannon, who's height of 17-9 (5.41m) is fourth-best at the meet. That mark earned Brannon a third-place finish at the SEC Championship. Teammate Tyler Porter rounds out the Vol trio with a mark of 17-5 (5.30m).
- Tennessee is sending seven throwers, including five on the men's side. SEC runner-up Matthew Hoty will lead the Vols into action, as he possess the No. 3 mark (62-8.75/19.12m) in the region. Tavis Bailey will compete in both the shot put and discus competition, while freshman Cassie Wertman will double-up in the same events for the Lady Vols.
- Senior Kia Jackson will also double-up for the Lady Vols, competing in the 100m and long jump competitions, while Jarael Nelvis will run in three events for the Vols (100m, 4x100m, 4x400m).
- The Vol 4x1 enters the contest with a season-best time of 39.75 seconds. Nelvis, Jamol James, Reggie Juin and Arnez Hardnick make up the group which earned All-America acclaim last season.
- Upperclassmen Nijgia Snapp and Kianna Ruff will represent the Lady Vols in the 800m. Snapp and Ruff stand No. 7 and No. 15 in the event in the East, respectively.
SEC AWARD WINNERS
- Highlighting the outstanding performers of the 2013 outdoor season, the SEC announced last Friday (May 17) that four University of Tennessee track & field athletes had earned league honors for their performance at the SEC Outdoor Championships.
- Leading the way for the Vols was Hoty, an All-SEC Second Team honoree who finished as the runner-up in the shot put competition. Hoty recorded a push of 61-11 (18.87m) to earn the second-place finish.
- After being named the SEC Men's Freshman Field Athlete of the Year for the indoor season, Blankenship finished fifth in the pole vault competition with a height of 17-3 (5.26m) to earn SEC All-Freshman Team honors.
- Brown came alive early this outdoor season and continued her success at the SEC Championships, finishing fourth in the 200-meter and leading the Lady Vol 4x100m relay to a fourth-place finish. Her time of 23.22 seconds in the 200m finals made her the league's top finishing rookie and results in SEC All-Freshman Team honors.
- Known best for her shot put skills, Wertman surprised the conference with her fourth-place finish in the discus throw at the SEC Outdoor Championships this season. However, it was her performance in her staple event that earned the Lady Vol SEC All-Freshman Team acclaim. Wertman finished sixth in the shot put at the meet with a throw of 52-0.5 (15.86m).
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.
- The top 12 finishers in individual events and relays at the East and West Preliminary Round meets will secure their place in the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
- The Championship meet will take place at historic Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus from June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore.