Feb. 15, 2011
By Eric Trainer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Jackie Areson has only indoor eligibility remaining for the 2011 track & field season, and the senior from Delray Beach, Fla., is making it count. After a record-setting performance over the weekend, the Lady Vol distance standout was named the SEC Track & Field Female Runner of the Week on Tuesday.
Areson won the 5000 meters at one of the nation's top distance meets during the indoor campaign, the Husky Classic in Seattle, on Friday night. She did so by shattering her previous UT indoor school record (15:53.12) by 13 seconds with a readout of 15 minutes, 39.81 seconds that qualified her for the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships on March 11-12.
Areson had posted her old Lady Vol best in finishing third at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships last March. Prior that, she had run a then-UT-record of 15:53.54 in finishing second at last year's Husky Classic. These consistently stellar efforts have enabled her to author four of the top six indoor 5000m times in school history.
The new mark by Areson ranks No. 1 in the NCAA this season and is among the fastest times ever recorded by a college woman indoors. It also ranks No. 1 in the world this season on an oversized track and is No. 2 in the world for all 5K times.
Areson's production of a school record and NCAA auto mark was the second time this season she had achieved those feats. At the Penn State National meet on Jan. 29, she accomplished those tasks at a shorter distance, the 3000 meters, running 9:01.91 to win in Happy Valley. She remains undefeated at three different lengths in four races this season (2 - 3000m, 1 - 5000m, 1 - Mile).
After having the upcoming weekend off from competition, Areson and her teammates will head to Fayetteville, Ark., where they will take part in the SEC Indoor Championships Feb. 25-27. Areson is the defending champion in the 5000 meters and also anchored UT's meet-record-setting distance medley relay a year ago.
Be sure to follow Areson and the Lady Vols at www.utladyvols and via Twitter at www.twitter.com/LadyVol_Track.