Jan. 27, 2011
By Eric Trainer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The University of Tennessee men's and women's track & field teams will tackle challenges at two different meets this weekend, sending contingents to the Penn State National in University Park, Pa., and the Rod McCravy Memorial in Lexington, Ky.
UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark will dispatch the entire Lady Vol squad as well as the Vol jumpers and throwers and a couple of runners to PSU's Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. The rest of the men's team will be at the University of Kentucky, competing for the second time this season at Nutter Field House. The Big Orange opened the campaign there on Jan. 14-15.
Leading the cast in Happy Valley will be Lady Vols Jackie Areson, Liz Costello and Chanelle Price and Vol Justin Hunter. Seniors Areson (9:14.61) and Costello (9:16.91) rank one-two nationally in the 3000 meters, Areson (4:44.33) is fourth in the mile and Price (2:07.93), a junior, is ranked second in the 800m. They are the highest rated members of a UT women's squad which checks in at No. 5 this week in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Rankings.
On the men's side, Hunter ranks No. 5 in the country with a long jump mark of 26 feet, one inch that stands as a UT freshman record and automatically qualified him for the NCAA Championship meet. The rookie also is entered in the triple jump and high jump, the latter of which he cleared a height of 6-10 1/4 in last weekend. The only other Vols at Penn State will be jumper Desmond Brown, throwers Matt Darr and Drew Thomas, distance runner Michael Spooner, sprinter Varick Tucker and Kevin Carney, who is slated to compete in the heptathlon.
At the Rod McCravy Memorial, redshirt freshman Dentarius Locke has the highest profile for the Vols and is coming off a performance at the Hokie Invitational where he claimed the UT freshman record in the 300m (33.96). He ranks No. 3 in the SEC (14th, NCAA) in the 200m and No. 4 in the 60m (12th, NCAA) with times of 21.15 and 6.70, respectively. True freshman Jarael Nelvis stands fifth in the league in the 200 at this point with a best of 21.33. In the 800m, Joe Franklin leads the conference with a top time of 1:51.61.
Clark is hoping to see more advancement from his teams after they combined to win four events, chart 35 personal bests and add 17 other top-five finishes at Virginia Tech last weekend.
"Most of the men's team will be in Lexington at the Rod McCravy meet," Clark said. "An oversized track like they have at Kentucky is different from running on a 200-meter banked track, and it fits the coaches' needs better for what they are trying to do with their training for our male athletes right now. This meet will better help our men's distance and sprints corps reach their destination this season.
"Going and running on the banked track at Penn State fits the needs of our women's running groups better at this point. The bottom line, no matter where people are running, we are getting better every week in preparing for the SEC meet. That is what we are here to do."
Live results from the meets will be available at www.ukathletics.com/sports/c-track/spec-rel/012811stats/ for the Rod McCravy meet and at www.gopsusports.com for the Penn State National meet.