May 6, 2010
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The weekend before a conference track & field meet is typically used to fine tune and prepare for what's to come. Saturday's Tennessee Invitational will be no exception, as J.J. Clark's Tennessee men's and women's squads will get in their final competitive workouts prior to hosting the SEC Outdoor Championships, May 13-16.
The Big Orange will welcome athletes from 12 different schools as well as several individuals and club teams from around the region to Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium this weekend. Among the programs expected to compete are Belmont, Berea, Bryan, Carson-Newman, Charleston Southern, East Tennessee State, Lee, Lipscomb, Tennessee State, Union (Ky.) and Vanderbilt.
Field event action gets underway at 9 a.m., starting with the men's and women's hammer throws. Events on the oval get cranked up at 12:30 p.m., beginning with the women's 3000-meter steeplechase. The final event of the meet is the men's 4x400m relay at 3:55 p.m. Admission to the meet is free.
"We're excited about our final regular season home meet, which is a tune-up for next week's SEC Championships," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "We're going to put people in their events and work on some technical things. We're also going to have some folks in some off-events to sharpen up."
Among Tennessee's top competitors thus far during the outdoor campaign have been Lady Vol seniors Jackie Areson and Phoebe Wright and Vol seniors Matt Maloney and Evander Wells. Wright (800m) and Areson (5000m) were SEC Indoor champions this season and hope to follow suit outdoors on their home track. They will more than likely be running in other events on Saturday, getting prep work in for the conference gathering. Wright and Areson each played integral roles in UT's trio of distance event triumphs at the Penn Relays in late April.
Wells, who led the world for a couple of weeks in the 200m dash, still ranks No. 2 in the NCAA and No. 1 in the SEC in that event with a 20.45 readout. His work Saturday probably will be confined to relay duty. Maloney, meanwhile, will throw the javelin and try to improve upon his best of 230-11, which ranks him No. 2 in the league and No. 12 nationally.
An impressive handful of post-collegiate competitors will be on hand. Three-time U.S. Olympian Hazel Clark-Riley, former Lady Vol standout Sarah Bowman and current volunteer assistant coach Victoria Martinez are entered in the 800 meters, former Vol Garland Porter is on the entry list for the hammer and ex-Lady Vol All-American Celriece Law is running the 100m hurdles.
"Both the men and women are going to do the best they possibly can in front of our home crowd on Saturday," Clark said. "We look forward to that opportunity."
A link to live results for the Tennessee Invitational can be found on the scrolling daily schedule on the front page of utsports.com and utladyvols.com.