Jan. 21, 2010
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- After opening the 2010 indoor season on the University of Kentucky's oversized flat oval a week ago, the University of Tennessee track & field teams will shift gears and compete on a 200-meter banked track at the Virginia Tech Hokie Invitational this weekend.
The No. 12 Lady Volunteers and the Volunteers will make their second showing of the young campaign on Friday and Saturday at Rector Field House. Ranked teams among the 22 schools slated to compete in Blacksburg are No. 4 Florida State, No. 7 South Carolina, No. 9 Clemson and No. 13 Virginia Tech on the women's side and No. 1 FSU, No. 12 USC, No. 19 Georgia and No. 13 Va. Tech in the men's field.
Action begins on Friday at 4 p.m., with four preliminary events and 12 finals being contested on the oval. Six field event competitions will take place on day one, beginning at 5 p.m. Field events resume on Saturday at 9 a.m., while races on the track get underway at 11. The meet should wrap up around 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Tennessee is coming off an opening weekend of competition that saw the women win two races and chart three NCAA provisional qualifying marks and the men post a runner-up effort and one NCAA provisional. Sophomore Chanelle Price (800m/2:06.95) and senior Phoebe Wright (mile/4:43.50) were the Lady Vol victors, while junior Annie Alexander joined them as a provisional qualifier with her second-place effort of 54-7 1/4 in the shot put. Senior Evander Wells was second in the men's 200 meters in a provisional time of 21.20.
"Obviously, we want more provisionals and want to get some automatics, but right now we are where we need to be," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "You don't usually get automatics this time of the year, so we just went out there at the Kentucky Invitational, put some performances on the board, got our rhythm going and stayed healthy.
"This meet, I'm looking for more intensity and for the team to be in better synch as a unit, understanding what they need to do in their events. We're expecting more marks to be put on the board, and we want to see that throughout the entire season. I believe the coaching staff will direct our student-athletes on the course to peaking at the right time."
As opposed to last weekend, when the team took advantage of running on an oversized indoor track, which has longer straight-aways and wider turns, this weekend's meet will be run on an elevated, 200-meter banked track. The horizontal jumps and pole vault also are contested on elevated runways. That is the type of set-up Tennessee will be encountering when it competes at the SEC and NCAA Indoor Championships later this season in Fayetteville, Ark.
"I don't know that there are any advantages (to us running on the banked track), but it definitely makes everyone familiar with the process," Clark said. "Most of our student-athletes have run on banked tracks, so it won't be any surprise to them.
"It definitely helps you learn how to run the turns and know when to pass and when not to pass. It's a little different. It's not oversized, like Kentucky, which means the straight-aways are going to be shorter into the tighter turns. I think we'll be OK with all of that, and it will help us prepare for later in the season."
A link to live results from the meet can be found at either www.utladyvols.com or www.utsports.com.