May 23, 2007

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Fifteen members of the Tennessee women's track & field team, 10 of them either freshmen or sophomores, will travel to Columbia, Mo., this week, hoping to earn national championship berths when they compete Friday and Saturday at the NCAA Mideast Regional at the University of Missouri's Audrey J. Walton Stadium.

Head Coach J.J. Clark, whose Lady Volunteers qualified a program-best 16 athletes for 29 scoring opportunities in 15 different events, has streamlined that list to 15 entries with 21 chances in 12 events. That condensed itinerary should help maximize the ability of his charges to earn top-five individual finishes and top-three relay outcomes and, thus, automatic trips to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif., June 6-9.

"I believe this is one of the biggest groups we've ever taken to the regional meet, and it's definitely the youngest," Clark said. "Our objective is to go to Columbia, compete at our best and earn a top-five finish individually and top-three finish in relays, which would allow us to go to the national meet. The more people we have at the national meet, the more chances we have to break into the top 10."

UT will be making its first-ever track & field appearance in the "Show Me State," marking the 31st state the program has visited in the past 34 years of competition. Slated to be at Mizzou this weekend are senior Leslie Treherne (800m/4x400mR, Chesapeake, Va.); juniors Courtney Champion (100m/200m/4x100mR/4x400mR, Lawrenceville, Ga.), Shanna Dickenson (hammer/discus, Cincinnati, Ohio), LaTonya Loche (400m/4x100mR/4x400mR, Bastrop, La.) and Cleo Tyson (100m/200m/4x100mR/4x400mR, Huntsville, Texas); sophomores Rolanda Bell (1500m, Laurelton, N.Y.), Sarah Bowman (1500m, Warrenton, Va.), Tiki James (100mH, Miami, Fla.) and Celriece Law (100mH/LJ, Denver, Colo.); and freshmen Nia Ali (100mH, Philadelphia, Pa.), Jackie Areson (3000mSC, Delray Beach, Fla.), Rose-Anne Galligan (1500m, County Kildare, Ireland), Lynne Layne (100m/200m/4x100mR, New Rochelle, N.Y.), Kelly Parrish (3000mSC, Ocala, Fla.) and Phoebe Wright (1500m, Signal Mountain, Tenn.).

Sophomore Katie Van Horn (Glendora, N.J.) earned a trip to the meet in the 5000 meters, but an injury will prevent her from competing. Additionally, due to scheduling conflicts and in order to put athletes in their best events, Clark has scratched Ali from the high jump, Bowman and Galligan from the 800m, Law from the triple jump, Layne from the long jump, Loche from the 200m and Wright from the 1500m. Ali, though, is an alternate for the 4x100m relay, while Layne and Wright are listed as alternates for the 4x4.

"It's exciting to take such a group, and they have shown me they can compete when it is time to compete," Clark said. "We've had some injuries during the outdoor season, and the ones who have competed at the Penn Relays and SECs and other meets have shown me some good things. I'm looking for them to show me more of that this weekend."

UT's first action will be on Friday at 3:15 p.m. Central Time, as the 4x100m relay competes in the first of seven preliminary events on day one. The other races include the 1500m, 100m hurdles, 100m dash, 400m dash, 800m run and 200m dash. Law will take part in the long jump at 4:45 p.m. CT in the Big Orange's only final of Friday.

Bowman is the top ranked Lady Vol hitting the track on Friday. She stands at third-fastest in the 1500m field at 4:18.10, while teammate Galligan is fifth at 4:20.11. Ali is fifth in the 100m hurdles at 13.25, while Layne ranks sixth in the 100m (11.40) and seventh in the 200m (23.26). UT's 4x1 combo enters with the third-best clocking at 43.98.

On Saturday, UT already has finals in the hammer and discus throws, 3000m steeplechase and 4x400m relay. The Lady Vols hope to add seven more out of Friday's prelims. Action begins at 11 a.m. CT with the hammer.

Dickenson enters the fray rated third in the discus at 167-2 and fourth in the hammer throw at 198-3, while Areson checks in at seventh in the steeplechase at 10:32.53. The Lady Vol 4x4 comes into the meet at fifth with a qualifying time of 3:36.86.

This season marks the fifth year the regional format has been used to determine qualifiers for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. In addition to the individual pursuits, team scoring is kept. After finishing seventh in Columbus, Ohio, the first year in 2002, Tennessee has posted top-three showings in each of the past three Mideast Regional meets, including a victory in Bloomington, Ind., in 2005. UT was third a year ago in Knoxville and second in Baton Rouge, La., in 2004. LSU, this year's favorite, has won the women's competition every year except for when the Big Orange triumphed in 2005.

High Jump Fin. (Regional: 5-8.75/1.75m) Noon CT
** No Lady Vols Entered **
Shot Put Fin. (Regional: 14.30m) 2:00 p.m. CT
** No Lady Vols Entered **
4x100m Relay Pre. (Regional: 45.70) 3:15 p.m. CT
Courtney Champion / Lynne Layne / LaTonya Loche / Cleo Tyson
1500m Pre. (Regional: 4:27.80) 3:50 p.m. CT
Sarah Bowman
Rose-Anne Galligan
Rolanda Bell
100mH Pre. (Regional: 13.92) 4:30 p.m. CT
Nia Ali
Celriece Law
Tiki James
Long Jump Fin. (Regional: 19-8.25/6.00m) 4:45 p.m. CT
Celriece Law
Javelin Fin. (Regional: 142-6/43.45m) 5:00 p.m. CT
** No Lady Vols Entered **
100m Pre. (Regional: 11.75) 5:10 p.m. CT
Lynne Layne
Courtney Champion
Cleo Tyson
400m Pre. (Regional: 54.61) 5:50 p.m. CT
LaTonya Loche
800m Pre. (Regional: 2:09.80) 6:30 p.m. CT
Leslie Treherne
Phoebe Wright
400mH Pre. (Regional: 1:00.82) 7:20 p.m. CT
** No Lady Vols Entered **
200m Pre. (Regional: 23.96) 8:10 p.m. CT
Lynne Layne
Courtney Champion
5000m Fin. (Regional: 16:52.00) 9:00 p.m. CT
** No Lady Vols Entered **
Hammer Fin. (Regional: 177-8/54.15m) 11:00 a.m. CT
Shanna Dickenson
Pole Vault Fin. (Regional: 12-5.50/3.80m) 2:30 p.m. CT
** No Lady Vols Entered **
Discus Fin. (Regional: 155-2/47.30m) 3:30 p.m. CT
Shanna Dickenson
4x100m Relay Fin. (Regional: 45.70) 4:10 p.m. CT
Courtney Champion / Lynne Layne
LaTonya Loche / Cleo Tyson?
Triple Jump Fin. (Regional: 40-5/12.32m) 4:15 p.m. CT
** No Lady Vols Entered **
1500m Fin. (Regional: 4:27.80) 4:30 p.m. CT
Sarah Bowman?
Rose-Anne Galligan?
Rolanda Bell?
100mH Fin. (Regional: 13.92) 4:55 p.m. CT
Nia Ali?
Celriece Law?
Tiki James?
100m Fin. (Regional: 11.75) 5:10 p.m. CT
Lynne Layne?
Courtney Champion?
Cleo Tyson?
400m Fin. (Regional: 54.61) 5:20 p.m. CT
LaTonya Loche?
800m Fin. (Regional: 2:09.80) 5:30 p.m. CT
Leslie Treherne?
Phoebe Wright?
400mH Fin. (Regional: 1:00.82) 5:50 p.m. CT
** No Lady Vols Entered **
200m Fin. (Regional: 23.96) 6:05 p.m. CT
Lynne Layne?
Courtney Champion?
3000mSC Fin. (Regional: 10:50.25) 6:40 p.m. CT
Jackie Areson
Kelly Parrish
4x400m Relay Fin. (Regional: 3:42.00) 7:20 p.m. CT
Courtney Champion / Cleo Tyson / Leslie Treherne / LaTonya Loche





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