Tennessee Set To Host SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Matt Maloney enters the SEC meet ranked No. 2 in the javelin throw.

May 12, 2010

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By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- For the seventh time in the history of the league, the University of Tennessee's Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium will serve as the site for the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Action begins Thursday at 3:30 p.m. with the women's heptathlon and men's decathlon (4:30 p.m.) and concludes on Sunday night after 42 event winners and two team champions have been crowned.

While the home teams don't have anyone entered in the heptathlon and decathlon on Thursday, the Big Orange will swing into gear on Friday and have a bevy of competitors taking part in a number of events the rest of the weekend. Tickets for the meet will be sold at the stadium's main gate entrance on Volunteer Boulevard and at the HPER Building breezeway along Andy Holt Avenue. Prices for a four-day, all-session pass are $20 for adults and $10 for age 13 to college students (with I.D.). Single day tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for age 13 to college students (with I.D.). Admission is free to those 12 and under.

Tennessee, which also hosted the event in 1967, 1969, 1978, 1986, 1993 and 2003, will showcase its freshly-renovated stadium to its fans, conference foes and a national television as well. ESPNU will carry a tape-delayed broadcast of the meet at 9 p.m. Eastern time on May 25. UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark is thrilled to have an opportunity for his team to both compete at home and share its revamped venue with the track & field community, both here and abroad.

"You want to showcase your facilities, and with ours recently being renovated, it's exciting to have people come out and watch one of the best track & field meets in the world," Clark said. "That's a good feeling for us, and hopefully for the fans, they'll get to see a good show and a good meet.

"Hosting the SEC meet and having it televised nationally by ESPNU gives our program and university a lot of exposure. A lot of prospective student-athletes are going to see our facility, they're going to get on our Web site and look at the results and read about us. It's a chance to really showcase the program and to show what Tennessee has to offer as an institiution, both academically and athletically."

Coming off a meet last weekend when the Vols and Lady Vols combined for 17 event wins and a school record by senior Evander Wells in the men's 300 meters, Clark feels good about where his teams stand entering this meet.

"Both of our teams are ready to go at this point," Clark said. "We've had a lot of personal bests throughout the season, and, to me, we look sharper as a whole than we were during the indoor season. We'll see how that turns out.

"I do believe both teams are in a better spot, but it's the SEC meet, and nothing is easy. We'll have to go out there and run, jump and throw well."

A handful of UT performers have been doing just that all season long and will be among those hunting championships in their event areas. Senior Phoebe Wright will be seeking her fourth consecutive SEC 800m (indoor/outdoor) title and trying to equal the SEC 800 win total of UT legend Joetta Clark (four), starting with the prelims at 7 p.m. Friday. At 7:45 on Sunday, senior Jackie Areson, ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 5000m at 15:51.56, will pursue a 5K crown to match the one she captured during the indoor season. She'll also run in the 1500m prelims at 6 p.m. on Saturday, while Wright is tabbed to assist the 4x400m relay unit in the final women's event on Sunday night at 8:30.

Wells ranks No. 1 in the SEC and No. 3 nationally in the 200 meters at 20.45. He'll run in the 200m prelims on Friday at 7:50 p.m. He'll also tackle the 100m prelims at 7:55 p.m. on Saturday and could run a leg on UT's relays on Sunday. In the throws, senior Matt Maloney enters with the No. 2 javelin mark in the SEC at 230-11. After redshirting due to injury last season, he is back in good form and trying to match or better his runner-up performances at this meet in 2007 and 2008. The men's javelin throw begins at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Other Big Orange competitors who enter the meet with past SEC success and expectations of doing well include sophomore Chanelle Price, who finished second at SEC Indoors in the women's 800 meters; sophomore Joe Franklin, who was the runner-up in the men's 800 at last year's outdoor meet; sophomore Ellen Wortham, who was fifth in the women's 400m hurdles last year and enters ranked third; senior Brad Holtz, who has scored in the men's pole vault five times and enters ranked fourth; and sophomore Brittany Sheffey, who was the SEC Indoor runner-up this season in the women's mile and 3000m and enters ranked third in the 1500m. She'll also run the 5000m.

From a team standpoint, Tennessee will look to improve upon a fourth-place finish by the women and a 10th-place outcome by the men at the SEC Indoor Championships earlier this season. The men, though, will have to contend as an unranked squad with eight ranked SEC teams this weekend, led by No. 3 Florida. The unranked UT women, meanwhile, face four ranked foes, including No. 2 LSU. Against a veritable murderer's row such as that, a combination of talent and depth is a necessity to compete for hardware.

"We are going to compete as well as we can, and that's all I can ask from both teams. We don't have the depth outdoors that we did indoors. They take away the distance medley and add the 4x100m relay, and they add a steeple and a 10K. That hurts our women's team from a scoring standpoint a little bit.

"We do have the javelin and a couple of other events where we can also help ourselves. My plan always has been to go into a meet like this and compete as hard as we can. We'll see where that puts us."


Friday, May 14

Hammer Throw Final: Drew Thomas

800m Prelims: Breon Dixon, Joe Franklin, Terrance Livingston, Emerson Peacock

200m Prelims:Evander Wells, Kyle Stevenson

400mH Prelims: Matt Bergquist, John Hewitt

10000m Final: Chris Bodary, Chris Kane, Michael Spooner, Leoule Degfae

Saturday, May 15

Javelin Throw Final: Matt Maloney

Long Jump Final: Desmond Brown, Patrick Crum

1500m Prelims: Mike Brodsky, Chris Rapp Peter Sigilai

Shot Put Final: Ben Bartholomew

400m Prelims: Alan Bachman, Samdi Fraser, Varick Tucker, Deaundra Dailey

100m Prelims: Evander Wells, Kyle Stevenson

3000mSC Final: Steve Fassino, Tom Gilmartin, Michael Spooner

Sunday, May 16

Discus Throw Final: Minor Bowens

4x100mR Final: TBA (Stevenson, Bachman, Wells, Brown, Fraser, Dailey)

Pole Vault Final: Brad Holtz, Robert Rasnick

5000m Final: Steve Fassino, Chris Bodary, Leoule Degfae, Tom Gilmartin, Chris Kane, Peter Sigilai, Michael Spooner

4x400mR Final: TBA (Hewitt, Dailey, Fraser, Tucker, Stevenson, Wells)

* As individuals qualify for finals, they will be added to the schedule


Friday, May 14

Hammer Throw Final: Jessie Harrison, Laquoya Kelly, Taylor Rotella,

800m Prelims: Elizabeth Altizer, Ramzee Fondren, Charity Honeycutt, Michele Levy, Kimarra McDonald, Chanelle Price, Kim White, Phoebe Wright

200m Prelims: Nyosha Bryant, Ashley Harris, Kia Jackson, Martinique Octave

400mH Prelims: Chardae Hancock, Jená Murphy, Kirstyn Sweeney, Ellen Wortham

10000m Final: Ally Colvin

Saturday, May 15

Long Jump Final: Nyosha Bryant, Kia Jackson

Discus Throw Final: Aslynn Halvorson, Jessie Harrison

1500m Prelims: Elizabeth Altizer, Jackie Areson, Andrea Ferri, Ramzee Fondren, Michele Levy, Brittany Sheffey

100mH: Chardae Hancock

400m Prelims: Nyosha Bryant, Martinique Octave

100m Prelims: Ashley Harris, Kia Jackson

Sunday, May 16

Javelin Throw Final: Holly Kane, Brittany Napoli

4x100mR Final: TBA (Bryant, Hancock, Harris, Jackson, Octave, Wortham)

Shot Put Final: Aslynn Halvorson

5000m Final: Elizabeth Altizer, Jackie Areson, Michele Levy, Brittany Sheffey

4x400mR Final: TBA (Bryant, Honeycutt, McDonald, Octave, Price, White, Wortham, Wright)

* As individuals qualify for finals, they will be added to the schedule

DNF - did not finish; DNR - did not run; DQ - disqualified; f - foul; fr - facility record; m - meters; mr - meet record; nwi - no wind index; p - prelims; sr - school record; ! - personal





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