Feb. 12, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- After making a big splash in the Big Apple last weekend, the second-ranked University of Tennessee women's track & field team will head to Fayetteville, Ark., this weekend to compete in the Tyson Invitational. For the Lady Vols, the Friday/Saturday affair at the Randal Tyson Track Center will be the final opportunity to work out the kinks prior to the upcoming SEC and NCAA Indoor Championships.
"We're going there to try and get more qualifiers for the NCAA meet," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said of his team's mission in Fayetteville. "Our goal is to be in position to execute a plan, whatever plan the coaches set forth for each athlete, and keep the enthusiasm and intensity going.
"We've come along well, but I would like to see more activity across the board, in terms of improved performances. That would just help us as we approach the SEC and NCAA meets."
The Big Orange will try to accomplish its goals against a national-caliber field that includes No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 LSU, No. 6 Florida State, No. 9 Penn State, No. 11 Arkansas, No. 13 South Carolina, No. 14 Texas Tech, No. 17 Florida, No. 20 Nebraska and No. 24 Auburn among others. Action begins at 11 a.m. and concludes at 11 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, including an Visa Championship Series invitational section from 9 to 11 that will be televised by ESPN on Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m. ET. Saturday's slate runs from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET
Senior Sarah Bowman will be the lone Lady Vol taking part in the Visa event on Friday night, as she once again runs in the Nutrilite Women's Invitational Mile at 10:20 p.m. ET. The native of Warrenton, Va., who finished fourth a year ago in Fayetteville with a then-PR and NCAA auto time of 4:36.51, enters this year's race already qualified for the national meet with an NCAA-leading 4:35.35 readout. Alisa Harvey's 1986 school record of 4:35.25 would seem to be in imminent danger.
In addition to her mile prowess this season, Bowman also has NCAA autos in the 800m (2:04.58, ranking fifth), 3000m (9:35.35, ranking eighth) and DMR (10:56.40, ranking first), helping the latter set an American record last weekend at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational. Bowman, currently ranked third on the U.S. list and 13th in the world, will take to the Tyson Center oval on Friday night against a handful of U.S. distance veterans and a pair of fellow college stars. Among the vets are 2008 U.S. Olympians Christin Wurth-Thomas, Alice Schmidt and Anna Willard, and three-time U.S. 1500m champ Treniere Clement. Bowman will be joined by collegians Brie Felnagle of North Carolina and Sally Kipyego of Texas Tech.
"She's just training hard and having fun," Clark said of Bowman. "She just approaches each race one by one and executes a plan. Every time, we have an idea of what we want to do and where we want to be. She's just been going out and trying to see how close she can come to what's been prescribed in hitting some times.
"Sometimes it's close and we fall short. Other times we get them. It's just been about her having fun and making sure she is progressing in the way that we want. She's just out there enjoying her senior year."
Freshman Chanelle Price (Easton, Pa.), who handled the 800m leg on the record-setting DMR unit at the New Balance meet, will run her first collegiate open 800m this weekend, as will the nation's No. 7 ranked qualifier in junior Phoebe Wright (Signal Mountain, Tenn.). Price was hampered early in the season by an injury to her lower left leg and was limited in her training for more than a month. The 2008 Gatorade National Female Athlete of the Year, who owns a career-best 800m time of 2:01.61, Price won the 500m run on Jan. 31 at the Penn State National Invitational, running 1:13.25 in the process.
"She's come along very, very strongly," Clark said of Price. "She looked good in New York and more like the Chanelle I know after suffering an injury setback for a few weeks. For her, I think things will be on and popping really soon, meaning I think she will perform up to her ability as the next couple of weeks come on. She looked very, very good this past weekend, and we're excited about her future here at Tennessee."
Entering the weekend, Tennessee has eight NCAA provisional marks to go along with Bowman's three individual autos and that of the DMR. The list includes Wright in the 800m (2:05.71), sophomore Annie Alexander (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) in the shot put (54-11 1/4), senior Celriece Law (Denver, Colo.) in the 60m hurdles (8.30), junior Lynne Layne (New Rochelle, N.Y.) in the 60m (7.41), senior Alicia Essex (Purcellville, Va.) in the pole vault (13-0 3/4), juniors Rolanda Bell (Laurelton, N.Y.) and Jackie Areson (Delray Beach, Fla.) in the mile (4:46.41 and 4:46.90) and senior Katie Van Horn (Glendora, N.J.) in the 5000m (16:37.00).
Rating the highest nationally among that provisional group is Alexander, who stands in fourth this week in the shot. Wright ranks seventh in the 800m, while Van Horn is eighth in the 5000m, Law is 13th in the 60m hurdles, Essex is tied for 19th in the pole vault, Layne is 20th in the 60m, and Bell and Areson are 27th and 33rd, respectively.
|FRIDAY, FEB. 13|
|Coll. Mile (Auto: 4:38.00; Prov: 4:48.00)b Noon|
|Coll. Long Jump (Auto: 6.35, Prov: 6.10) Noon|
|60m Pre. (Auto: 7.26; Prov: 7.44) 1 p.m.|
|Wt. Throw (Auto: 21.00, Prov: 18.75) 1 p.m.|
|400m Pre. (Auto: 52.40, Prov: 54.40)b 2 p.m.|
|Ch. Pole Vault (Auto: 4.20, Prov: 3.95) 3 p.m.|
|60mH Pre. (Auto: 8.14; Prov: 8.43) 3:20 p.m.|
|Oly. Dev. 800m (Auto: 2:05.40, Prov: 2:09.40)b 4:10 p.m.|
|Oly. Dev. Mile (Auto: 4:38.00; Prov: 4:48.00)b 4:30 p.m.|
|60m Final (Auto: 7.26; Prov: 7.44) 4:45 or 4:50 p.m.|
|Inv. 3000m (Auto: 9:15.00; Prov: 9:34.00)b 9:45 p.m.???|
|Katie Van Horn|
|Inv. Mile (Auto: 4:38.00; Prov: 4:48.00)b 10:20 p.m.|
|SATURDAY, FEB. 14|
|Coll. 3000m (Auto: 9:15.00; Prov: 9:34.00)b 11:55 a.m.|
|Shot Put (Auto: 16.90, Prov: 15.20) 1 p.m.|
|Coll. 800m (Auto: 2:05.40, Prov: 2:09.40)b 1:05 p.m.|
|200m (Auto: 23.20, Prov: 23.90)b 1:40 p.m.|
|60mH Final (Auto: 8.14; Prov: 8.43) 3:30 or 3:35 p.m.|
|Ch. Triple Jump (Auto: 13.30, Prov: 12.65) 3:45 p.m.|
|Ch. 3000m (Auto: 9:15.00; Prov: 9:34.00)b 4:10 p.m. ???|
|Katie Van Horn|
|Ch. High Jump (Auto: 1.85, Prov: 1.78) 4:30 p.m.|
|DMR Fin. (Auto: 11:09.00, Prov: 11:30.00)b 4:40 p.m.|
|4x400mR Fin. (Auto: 3:33.00, Prov: 3:40.00)b 5:10 p.m.|
All Times Eastern
b - Banked Track Qualifying Standard, dnf - Did Not Finish, dnr - Did Not Run, f - Facility Record, fts - Flat Track Qualifying Standard, m - Meters, mr - meet Record, nm - No Mark Recorded, p - Prelims, s - School Record (Indoors), u - Undersized Track Qualifying Standard, * - NCAA Automatic Qualifier, + - NCAA Provisional Qualifier, ! - Personal Record (Indoors), ^ - Oversized Track Qualifying Standard