April 24, 2012
- Most of the Tennessee men's and women's track & field team members will head to Philadelphia, where the squads will compete in the 118th Penn Relays from Thursday through Saturday.
- Franklin Field, in the urban and Ivy League setting of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, will once again serve as the venue for the meet, which dates back to April 21, 1895.
- The Penn Relays, considered the oldest and largest track meet in the country, feature novice, high school, college and Olympic-caliber competition in front of crowds that range from 20,000-plus on Thursday to more than 50,000 on Saturday, when a live television audience on NBC will tune in from 1 to 3 p.m. Eastern time.
- Franklin Field was named for one of our nation's founding fathers and the founder of the University of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin.
- In addition to high school and college events, Saturday's slate features the USA vs. The World competition, pitting U.S. relay lineups vs. teams from around the globe. Former UT standouts Justin Gatlin (4x100mR), Erica Moore (Sprint Medley Relay) and Phoebe Wright (Sprint Medley Relay) will be among those trying to help the Americans prevail on their home soil.
- UT's throwers will attend the UCSD Triton Invitational in LaJolla, Calif., one of the nation's better throws meets, on April 27-28. They'll also compete on Thursday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
Noting The Big Orange
Penn Relays Starting Blocks For Tennessee
- Chanelle Price (Easton, Pa.) enters the meet having been a part of five UT relay wins in Philadelphia during her career. Price is tied with Sarah Bowman for the most Penn Relays Championship of America relay titles by a Lady Vol and trails Cathy Rattray (7) as well as Joetta Clark and Phoebe Wright, who won six each.
- Price was on UT's winning 4x800m and 4x1500m lineups in 2010 and on the victorious distance medley, 4x1500m and 4x800m relays in 2009.
- The 2009 4x1500m unit set world, American, collegiate, meet, stadium and school records, while the 4x800m lineup got all of those standards except the world best.
- Distance runner Brittany Sheffey (Bellport, N.Y.) ran on UT's victorious DMR, 4x1500m and 4x800m units in 2010, while sprinter Ellen Wortham was on the 2010 DMR tandem.
- The Vols' last triumphs at the meet came in 2009, as Joe Berry won the pole vault (17-4 1/2) and UT claimed the sprint medley relay (3:17.77). Joe Franklin, UT's 800m leg on that unit, returns in 2012.
J.J. Clark's Penn Relays Profile
- At Tennessee since 2002-03, J.J. Clark has overseen 11 victorious relay teams (all women's) at the Penn Relays and has had Nicole Cook (2004) and Sarah Bowman (2009) earn Outstanding Female Relay Athlete of the Meet accolades.
- His Lady Vol units hold meet records in the 4x800mR (8:17.91, 2009), 4x1500mR (17:08.34, 2009) and SMR (3:41.78, 2004).
- While at Florida from 1992-2002, his troops produced three 4x800m relay wins (1999, 2001, 02), and Erin Mertens was named the 2001 Outstanding Female Relay Athlete of the Meet.
UT's Penn Relays Most Outstanding Relay Athletes
- Three Vols have received the Outstanding Men's Athlete Award at the Penn Relays. The club includes Reggie Jones (1976), Lawrence Johnson (1996) and Justin Gatlin (2002).
- Six Lady Vols have received the Outstanding Women's Relay Athlete Award at the Penn Relays. The group includes Brenda Webb (1979), Benita Fitzgerald (1982), Joetta Clark (1984), LaVonna Martin (1985), Nicole Cook (2004) and Sarah Bowman (2009).
A Look Back At The 2011 Penn Relays
- For the first time since 2008, the UT women did not win an event. Their top finish of the meet was a runner-up DMR outcome in 10:56.20. Liz Costello, who ran the opening leg, has departed, but Ellen Wortham, Chanelle Price and Brittany Sheffey return in 2012.
- UT finished sixth in the 4x200m relay (1:35.83) and eighth in the 4x100m relay (45.24), but Ashley Harris, Kia Jackson, Martinique Octave and Ellen Wortham all return, and a healthy Brittany Jones joins them.
- The Lady Vols finished third in the 4x800m relay (8:27.29). All four legs return in 2012, including Nijgia Snapp, Brittany Sheffey, Kianna Ruff and Chanelle Price.
- Chase Brannon, now a sophomore, finished second in the college pole vault at 16-2 3/4 in 2011.
- Freshman Justin Hunter finished fourth in the championship long jump at 25-10 1/4. He will not return in 2012 due to a knee injury suffered during the 2011 football season.
Complete Meet Notes