June 18, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee will be well-represented by past, present and future members of the Big Orange track & field program this week, as the 2013 USA Outdoor Championships are contested June 19-23 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
Four current members will be in action at the blue oval, with three of those student-athletes competing in the senior division and the other taking part in the junior (under 20) competition. Seven former UT standouts and at least two signees will also take part in the meet, which will feature 50 hours of webcasting coverage and nine hours of television coverage on ESPN2, Universal Sports, The NBC Sports Network and NBC.
USATF's fully branded internet broadcasting outlet, USATF.TV, will go live this week with 50 hours of online coverage. Streaming begins on Wednesday, June 19 from 1-7:20 p.m. ET for the USA Junior Championships and will run throughout the meet, complementing TV coverage, which starts on Friday, June 21. A full broadcast schedule can be found HERE.
The 2013 Championships serve as the selection event for the coveted spots to represent Team USA at the IAAF World Championships later this summer in Moscow, Russia.
Current team members taking part in the senior portion of the meet include Lady Vol senior Nijgia Snapp, who enters the highly-competitive women's 800-meter race with a time of 2 minutes, 5 seconds. Freshman Felicia Brown, a Second Team USTFCCCA All-American in the 400m this season, will compete in both the 400m and 200m. Brown ran in both events at last season's USA Junior Championships and came away with a fifth-place finish in the 400m. Vol freshman pole vaulter Jake Blankenship will also compete at the senior level. The rookie, who placed third in the event at last season Junior Championships, enters with a personal record of 18-feet, 4.75-inches (5.61m).
In the junior division, freshman thrower Cameron Brown will compete in the men's hammer throw for the second straight year. Brown enters the event with a lifetime best throw of 188-feet (57.31m). Also competing in the Junior Championships, will be incoming Lady Vols Felecia Majors and Brielyn Rogers. Majors, the 2013 Spring All-Met Girls' Track & Field Athlete of the Year from South County High School, will compete in the 400m and long jump. She won the 400m Virginia AAA State Title this season. Rogers is one of 15 declared for the women's triple jump.
Former Vol standouts Justin Gatlin and Aries Merritt enter the meet with high profiles and expectations. Fresh off his defeat of World Record holder and Olympic champion Usain Bolt in Rome, Gatlin leads a loaded field in the 100m race with a time of 9.79 seconds. The former NCAA Champion is unbeaten in the event this season. He will also run in the 200m, where he owns a time of 20.21. The 110m hurdles World Record holder and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, Merritt and Nike teammate Jason Richardson are the only two in the field with times under 13 seconds. Merritt's world record mark of 12.80 seconds is best all-time, but David Oliver enters as the U.S. leader this season in 13.10.
Five former Lady Vols will compete in the meet, including two in the women's 800m. Phoebe Wright enters the event with the fourth-best time (1:59.72), while Chanelle Price comes in with a mark of 2:00.15. London Olympic medalist Dee Dee Trotter will run in the 200m (23.03), while 11-time All-American Ellen Wortham will run in the 400m hurdles, where she ranks 12th in a time of 55.78 seconds. Lastly, Sarah Brown - formerly Bowman - comes in with the seventh-fastest 1,500m time (4:05.27).