Jan. 28, 2010
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- After two weekends where the University of Tennessee men's and women's track & field teams focused on competing in a single meet, the Vols and Lady Vols will split up on Friday and Saturday to attend meets in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Oklahoma.
"This will be the first time as a combined program that we have split up our team to compete in different meets," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "We decided that this particular weekend, we would go where it's best for each event area on our team.
"Based on the information we have, the Oklahoma meet seemed to offer a great environment for our throwers to do well and throw far. Kentucky, for the men's sprints, and Penn State, for the women's sprints, distances and both jumps, seemed the best way to go on this particular weekend."
The majority of the female student-athletes will be in University Park, Pa., where they will compete in the Penn State National Invitational at PSU's Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. The men's jumpers also will travel to Happy Valley for a meet that has traditionally been on the Lady Vol schedule and has been the site of some great performances in recent years. In fact, Tennessee's women own five track records and six meet marks at the facility, and Clark's wife, Jearl Miles-Clark, set the American record in the 500 meters there in 2004.
UT will send its male sprint group into action at the University of Kentucky's Rod McCravy Memorial in Lexington on Friday and Saturday, while the men's and women's throwers are slated to see duty at the University of Oklahoma's J.D. Martin Invitational in Norman on Saturday. The men's distance corps' training cycle, meanwhile, will have much of that group refraining from competition this weekend, while a handful of them journey to Kentucky.
Making the trip to Penn State will be two women with NCAA automatic qualifying marks in the 800 meters and another with a provisional in the mile. Senior Phoebe Wright (2:04.00), the reigning SEC Female Track & Field Athlete of the Week, and sophomore Chanelle Price (2:04.72) hit the auto standard in the 800 last weekend and will most likely get some speed work and relay activity in during the season's third meet.
Senior Jackie Areson, meanwhile, ranks No. 2 nationally in the mile at 4:43.85 behind Wright, who ran 4:43.50 in season opener to post a provisional in that event as well. Areson likely will focus on a longer distance such as the 3000m and perhaps handle the stick on a relay.
At Kentucky, Vol senior Evander Wells will attempt to lower his NCAA provisional marks in the 60 (6.70) and 200 (21.20) meters, the latter of which he carded at the Kentucky Invitational two weekends ago. Wells, who ranks eighth and sixth, respectively, in those events on the national qualifying list, hopes to improve his NCAA stock and find some company to join him on those NCAA descending order rolls.
Lady Vol junior Annie Alexander heads the throws contingent making the trek to OU. She stands fifth in the nation with an NCAA provisional toss of 54 feet, 7 1/2 inches that she charted at the Virginia Tech Hokie Invitational last Saturday afternoon.
"My goal for every area, obviously, is to improve and get some marks to qualify for nationals," Clark said. "We want to continue improving the chemistry, keep the rhythm going and come out of this weekend with a positive feeling. The more PRs, automatics and provisionals that we can produce at these meets, the better it will be for our program.
"We are about average in terms of what we have accomplished so far this season. We have to continue moving forward and keep climbing the ladder. That's what we are doing, and from that standpoint, I'm content."
Vols' Sprinter Dentarius Locke Will Not Compete This Season
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark has announced that freshman sprinter Dentarius Locke will not be competing for the Vols in 2010.
Locke, a graduate of Chamberlain High School in Tampa, Fla., is attending classes and practicing with his teammates, but he will not be able to represent Tennessee in competition this season due to a ruling by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
"We are extremely happy to have Dentarius Locke in our track & field program at Tennessee," Clark said. "I'm pleased that he is able to continue his education and training here, and we look forward to him contributing to our team next season."
Ranked No. 1 in the 100 and 200 meters among U.S. preps in 2009 by Track & Field News, Locke set Florida high school records in the 100 (10.31) and 200 (20.58) last year. He swept those events at the 2009 Florida 4A state meet and won the 100 in 2008 as well. Additionally, he claimed victories at Nike Outdoor Nationals in both of those events as a senior.