April 7, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- For the 43rd time, track & field athletes from around the country will descend upon Knoxville for the annual Sea Ray Relays. The venerable meet will begin Wednesday and run through Saturday evening at UT's Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium. Admission is free.
This year's meet will feature 1,270 athletes from 90 different affiliations, representing small colleges, universities and track clubs from coast to coast. A total of 642 women and 628 men are slated to take part in the four-day affair.
Among the top women's teams are the fourth-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols, who won their second NCAA Indoor Championship just a few weeks ago, as well as No. 2 Virginia Tech and No. 24 Louisville. Third-ranked Oregon and No. 17 South Carolina won't be sending complete squads, but they will have athletes in competition.
Other schools include Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, San Diego State, Seton Hall, Villanova and West Virginia. In-state teams from Austin Peay, Bryan, Chattanooga, East Tennessee State, Middle Tennessee, Milligan also will be on hand.
Among the top female professionals slated to compete are Knoxville Elite's Hazel Clark-Riley and Treniere Clement, who are entered in the 800 and 1500 meters. Clark-Riley is a three-time U.S. Olympian in the 800 meters, while Clement is a three-time U.S. Outdoor champion in the 1500 meters.
Women's action starts on Wednesday at 4 p.m. with the first four events of the women's heptathlon - the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200m dash. The second day of the heptathlon begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday and features the long jump, javelin throw and 800m run. The Lady Vols won't have an entry in the heptathlon, but they will have competitors in the women's hammer throw competitions on Thursday night. The invitational section begins at 7 p.m., followed by the open division immediately afterward.
Friday's full slate of women's action kicks off at 12:15 p.m. with the women's open 5000m run and concludes with the 10K at 7:45 p.m. A new wrinkle has been added to the Friday slate this year, moving all of the top sections of sprints, hurdles and middle distance races to a window of time from 2 to 6:45 p.m. Additionally, the women's invitational 5K race will begin at 7 p.m., followed by the 10K at 7:45.
Saturday will begin with senior day festivities at 12:15 p.m. Lady Vols Amanda Alexander, Rolanda Bell, Sarah Bowman, Alicia Essex, Celriece Law, Kimarra McDonald and Katie Van Horn will be recognized. The first race on the track Saturday is the women's shuttle hurdle relay, which begins a spree of 14 relay races, two individual races (M/W invitational steeplechases) and 10 field events on the meet's final day. Action concludes at 5:45 p.m.
For information on the Sea Ray Relays, including a time schedule, entries and records, please go to http://www.utladyvols.com/sports/w-track/spec-rel/030509aaa.html.