Jan. 28, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The first regular season edition of the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I Women's Indoor Rankings was released Wednesday afternoon, and there is good news for the University of Tennessee women. The Lady Vol track & field team, which was picked fourth in the preseason poll, has climbed to second nationally this week.
The Big Orange women collected 131.97 points in this polling period and stand in second behind No. 1 Texas A&M (144.43). Michigan stayed in third with 122.76, followed by LSU (113.56) and Florida State (93.25) rounding out the top five. Besides UT and LSU, other ranked SEC schools include No. 12 South Carolina, No. 14 Arkansas, No. 15 Florida, No. 22 Auburn and No. 25 Kentucky.
Tennessee improved its stature by traveling to College Station, Texas, last weekend and taking on top-ranked Texas A&M in Team Orange's first dual meet in 13 seasons. The Lady Vols came out on the short end of the score, 83-69, in front of 3,016 fans at the newly-christened Gilliam Indoor Track & Field Stadium at McFerrin Athletic Center. UT, however, won eight of the meet's 15 events, including four distance events (800m, mile, 5000m and DMR) and four field events (pole vault, high jump, shot put, weight throw).
The 2009 USTFCCCA Division I Rankings are based upon athletes' rankings on the 2009 NCAA Indoor qualifying list and will be released on Wednesdays. During the early portion of the season, some weight is placed on returnees' performances at the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships.
At this point in the season, the strength behind why J.J. Clark's team is ranked so high includes athletes who have established outstanding marks early in the season. Senior Sarah Bowman (Warrenton, Va.) and junior Phoebe Wright (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) currently lead the collegiate ranks in the mile (4:35.35) and 800m (2:05.71), respectively. Bowman also is third in the 3000m (9:11.31), while sophomore Annie Alexander (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) holds down the No. 3 slot in the shot put at 54-7 1/4. The Lady Vols also have the defending NCAA champion distance medley relay unit and have several other individuals who are expected to join the qualifying lists this season.
The Lady Vols will attempt to add to their qualifiers on Friday and Saturday, as they head to University Park, Pa., to take part in the Penn State National Invitational.
USTFCCCA Division I Women's Indoor Rankings
|Rk.||Team (First-place votes)||Points|