March 6, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The second-ranked University of Tennessee women's track & field team will have only two entries in Saturday afternoon's Virginia Tech Final Qualifier, but improved times in each of those events could give the Lady Vols two additional, important scoring opportunities at the upcoming NCAA Indoor Championships.
Freshman Chanelle Price, who ran a provisional mark of two minutes, 7.16 seconds in the 800m prelims at the SEC Championships, will try to hit or get close to the auto mark of 2:05.40 and join teammate Phoebe Wright at the NCAA meet in that event. Price ran 2:04.96 indoors and 2:01.65 outdoors during a brilliant high school career, but her training was limited earlier this season due to an injury to her lower left leg. She currently ranks No. 20 nationally, which perches her precariously on the bubble.
The 4x400m relay, meanwhile, posted a season best of 3:39.57 in placing fifth at SECs last weekend and clinching the team title for Tennessee. The quartet of Price, Kimarra McDonald, Phoebe Wright and either Brittany Jones or Ellen Wortham will need to shave several seconds off its time to get in the vicinity of the 3:33.00 NCAA auto standard. They stand at No. 17 and will need to climb several places to make the meet.
"We're taking Chanelle and our 4x4 to the last chance meet," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "Chanelle and Brittany both have had injuries that slowed down their training processes during the year, and when that happens you want to give the youngsters a chance to get to the NCAA meet. It also helps to have a mile relay at the national meet, if you can, if it (competition for the team title) comes down to the final event of the meet.
"I'm not a big fan of last chance meets, but I am giving them an opportunity. In this scenario, it is warranted. So, off to Virginia Tech we go."
Price is scheduled to run at 2:35 p.m. Eastern Time, while the 4x4 is slated to start at 4:55 p.m.