Jan. 16, 2007
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Courtney Champion's season-opening performance over the weekend at the Kentucky Invitational has not gone unnoticed. The Southeastern Conference recognized the University of Tennessee sprinter's stellar effort in Lexington by naming her the SEC Runner of the Week on Tuesday. She also picked up Lady Vol Athlete of the Week accolades to boot.
Champion, from Lawrenceville, Ga., uncorked a time of 7.26 seconds on Saturday to win the 60-meter dash and post an automatic qualifying mark for the NCAA Indoor Championships in March. That time is the fastest in the collegiate ranks thus far in 2007 and ranked as the best season-opening output by a Lady Vol in program history.
The eight-time All-American came back later in the day on Saturday to record an NCAA provisional readout of 23.61 and win the 200-meter dash as well. That mark also stands atop the NCAA ranks for Champion, who was the 2005 SEC Indoor Freshman Runner of the Year and helped Tennessee sweep both the NCAA and SEC team titles that season.
Champion is the school record-holder indoors in the 200 meters at 22.98 and stands fourth on the UT all-time performers list in the 60 meters at 7.25. Classmate Cleo Tyson (7.20) and former standouts Toyin Olupona (7.23) and Kelli White (7.24) are the only Lady Vols who have run faster in the short sprint.