Jan. 20, 2011
By Eric Trainer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- After claiming five victories and an NCAA qualifier in the season-opener last weekend, the University of Tennessee track & field teams will head up Interstate 81 in search of bigger and better things in week two. The Big Orange will be in Blacksburg, Va., on Friday and Saturday, taking part in the Hokie Invitational at Virginia Tech's Rector Field House.
The Vols and fourth-ranked Lady Vols will face off against a large field of teams, including athletes from Atlantic Coast Conference schools Clemson, Duke, Florida State, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, as well as Southeastern Conference foe South Carolina.
The UT men were led in week one by a trio of first-year performers. True freshman Justin Hunter made a slick transition from playing football to long jumping, popping off a UT freshman indoor-record leap of 26 feet, one inch to automatically qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championship meet. He currently ranks No. 4 in the nation with that effort and stands third all-time among anyone who has ever jumped indoors for Tennessee.
In the sprint area, redshirt freshman Dentarius Locke and true freshman Jarael Nelvis rank 7th and 12th nationally and first and second in the SEC in the 200m dash with times of 21.15 seconds and 21.33, respectively. The duo finished one-two in that event last weekend at the Kentucky Invitational. Locke also won the 60m dash, clicking down the track in a career-best 6.75 to stand fifth in the SEC and 22nd nationally in that event.
For the UT women, seniors Jackie Areson and Liz Costello rank one-two in the nation in the 3000 meters after dominating that event in Lexington last weekend. Their marks, 9:14.61 and 9:16.91, were the seventh- and eighth-fastest marks ever run by Lady Vols at that distance.
Freshman Kianna Ruff and sophomore Nijgia Snapp also finished one-two in the 800 meters at UK, posting marks of 2:10.88 and 2:10.91, respectively. Those readouts rank second and third in the SEC and seventh and eighth nationally thus far in 2011. Junior Chanelle Price also graces the nation's top 10 this week, sitting at ninth nationally in the mile with a 4:47.49 effort in the opener.
"I feel some excitement and enthusiasm amongst both our men's and women's teams," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "We're moving forward toward qualifying more people for the NCAA meet, setting personal bests and keeping the fire burning, so to speak. It's just a matter of me, as the head coach, keeping everyone focused and moving in the right direction."
Live results from the meet will be available at www.flashresults.com.