Jan. 12, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The University of Tennessee women's track & field team, which will open the indoor portion of its season this weekend at the Kentucky Invitational, will begin the 2009 campaign at No. 4 nationally, according to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches (USTFCCCA) Division I Women's Indoor Preseason Rankings.
The Lady Vols, who finished eighth last year at the NCAA Indoor Championships, tallied 117.19 points to join No. 1 Texas A&M , No. 2 LSU, No. 3 Michigan and No. 5 Florida State in the top five. In addition to UT and LSU, the SEC is represented by No. 11 Arkansas, No. 13 Florida, No. 16 South Carolina, No. 22 Kentucky and No. 23 Alabama.
The Big Orange women return 19 letterwinners, including seven All-Americans. Among that group are individual honorees in senior Sarah Bowman (Warrenton, Va.) and Phoebe Wright (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) in the middle distance area, senior Celriece Law (Denver, Colo.) in the hurdles and junior Lynne Layne (New Rochelle, N.Y.) in the sprints.
Relay All-Americans who joined Bowman and Wright on UT's national champion distance medley relay unit a year ago include sophomores Brittany Jones (Pompano Beach, Fla.) and Brittany Sheffey (Bellport, N.Y.), while Jones and Wright were assisted by returning senior Kimarra McDonald (Lumberton, N.J.) on the 2008 4x400m relay unit that placed eighth at NCAA Indoors. Gone from that group is LaTonya Loche. Also back are defending SEC shot put champion and NCAA qualifier Annie Alexander and a host of others.
"Realistically, you have to translate what's on paper into reality, and that's always my goal," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "The fact that the rankings have us that high up probably means we have some people who are projected to score (at the NCAA meet), and I do believe we have people in position to do just that. We are somewhere in the mix, and whether we are first, fourth or 10th, we have to take control of the situation by doing what we are capable of doing. We looking forward to trying to accomplish that goal during the season."
The 2009 USTFCCCA Division I Preseason Rankings are based on the national ranking of returning athletes, and the regular season poll will apply points based upon athletes' rankings on the 2009 NCAA Indoor qualifying list. Those rankings will be released on Wednesdays.
USTFCCCA Division I Women's Indoor Preseason Poll
Jan. 12, 2009