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Trips To Nationals At Stake At NCAA Track & Field East Preliminary Rounds
Aslynn Halvorson, a Charlotte native, returns to her home state to compete this weekend.


Aslynn Halvorson, a Charlotte native, returns to her home state to compete this weekend.

May 25, 2010


UT's NCAA East Preliminary Round Notes Package Get Acrobat Reader

By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Twenty-four members of the University of Tennessee track & field teams will travel Wednesday to Greensboro, N.C., where they will spend Thursday to Saturday at the NCAA East Preliminary Round, trying to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championship meet, June 9-12, in Eugene, Ore.

With the NCAA eliminating the regional qualification process after seven seasons, which had included the crowning of team and event champions at each of the regional sites, the only tangible objective this weekend is to survive and advance. A maximum entry total of 48 individuals per event and 24 relay teams must be narrowed down to 12 each by Saturday night, with those qualifiers advancing to the national meet along with the same numbers from the West Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas. Most events will have two rounds of action, with the 3000m steeplechase, 5000m, 10000m and field events having only one round necessary for advancement to Eugene.

A total of 13 Vols in 10 events and 11 Lady Vols in seven events will grace the field, which is comprised of schools east of the Mississippi River, with the exception of those from Louisiana, which come east, and Illinois and Wisconsin, which will travel west. Clark is not focused on the size of the group he is taking, but rather the quality of the unit.

"Really, it's not the size of the group, it's what you have in the group, if you're talking about potential scoring at nationals," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "We are going to go to Greensboro and do the best we absolutely can. We have some people who can score at the national meet, who have scored at the national meet, so we just always go to this level of meet with the plan of doing our very best and putting ourselves in position to advance."

Competing in running events for the Tennessee men are seniors Evander Wells and Kyle Stevenson in the 100 and 200 meters; senior Samdi Fraser in the 400m; sophomores Joe Franklin and Emerson Peacock, and freshman Terrance Livingston in the 800m; junior Peter Sigilai in the 1500m; junior Michael Spooner in the 10,000m and senior John Hewitt in the 400m hurdles. Field event qualifiers include senior Brad Holtz and sophomore Robert Rasnick in the pole vault; sophomore Desmond Brown in the long jump and senior Matt Maloney in the javelin throw.

The top ranked Vols are Wells in the 200m (3rd, 20.45), Maloney in the javelin (3rd, 230-11) and Brown in the long jump (6th, 25-9 1/4).

Earning a spot in the running events for the UT women are seniors Phoebe Wright and Kimarra McDonald, and sophomore Ramzee Fondren in the 800m; sophomore Brittany Sheffey in the 1500m; senior Jackie Areson in the 5000m; sophomore Ellen Wortham in the 400m hurdles and the 4x400m relay team of freshman Martinique Octave, Wortham, McDonald and Wright. In addition to the 22 conventional UT qualifiers, senior Jena' Murphy and sophomore Charity Honeycutt are expected to be the alternates for the relay team.

UT field event qualifiers include freshman Aslynn Halvorson in the discus throw and junior Holly Kane in the javelin throw. Kane is recovering from a nasty spill she took on a slippery runway at the SEC meet, but she is expected to compete.

Areson and Wright are the Lady Vols' top ranked competitors. Areson rates first in the East in the 5K at 15:51.56, while Wright is second in the 800 with a best of 2:01.81. Both won SEC championships in those events two weekends ago.

Sophomore 800m runner Chanelle Price, meanwhile, will not make the trip due to an injury to her right foot. Price, who competed at the Penn Relays but hadn't yet posted an open 800m time, was entered in the league meet two weeks ago before being scratched prior to the prelims. Junior thrower Annie Alexander also will not be available, as she is redshirting this outdoor season.

"Our goal is to take this group, maximize what we can do and continue to improve as the year goes on," Clark said. "I think we are coming off a better performance from the men's side at the SEC meet. We just have to continue to go out and compete with a purpose and a mission, and I'm sure we will."

The fact that his troops, just two weeks after the conference meet, will have to battle against all but one of the schools in the SEC (Arkansas), widely considered the top track & field league in the nation, was not lost on Clark. In this week's USTFCCCA Rankings, Florida (1st), LSU (5th), Auburn (9th), South Carolina (10th), Mississippi State (13th), Georgia (15th), Ole Miss (16th) and Alabama (23rd) all reside in the men's top 25. On the women's side, LSU (3rd), Florida (7th), Auburn (8th) and Arkansas (9th) are ranked within the top 10.

"The preliminary round of the NCAA meet is very demanding for the student- athletes," Clark said. "To have to come back and face nearly the entire SEC, plus some other teams, is tough, but that is the nature of the beast. We're going to do our best to handle the situation that's given to us."

UT Women's Thursday Schedule

Javelin Throw Qualifying: Holly Kane

400m Hurdles First Round: Ellen Wortham

1500m First Round: Brittany Sheffey

800m First Round: Phoebe Wright, Kimarra McDonald, Ramzee Fondren

UT Men's Thursday Schedule

400m Hurdles First Round: John Hewitt

Pole Vault Qualifying: Brad Holtz, Robert Rasnick

1500m First Round: Peter Sigilai

Long Jump Qualifying: Desmond Brown

100m First Round: Evander Wells, Kyle Stevenson

400m First Round: Samdi Fraser

800m First Round: Joe Franklin, Emerson Peacock, Terrance Livingston

10000m Semifinal: Michael Spooner

UT Women's Friday Schedule

800m Quarterfinal: TBA

400m Hurdles Quarterfinal: TBA

UT Men's Friday Schedule

Javelin Throw Qualifying: Matt Maloney

400m Quarterfinal: TBA

100m Quarterfinal: TBA

800m Quarterfinal: TBA

400m Hurdles Quarterfinal: TBA

200m First Round: Evander Wells, Kyle Stevenson

UT Women's Saturday Schedule

Discus Throw Qualifying: Aslynn Halvorson

1500m Quarterfinal: TBA

5000m Semifinal: Jackie Areson

4x400m Relay Quarterfinal: Pool: Wortham/Octave/Wright/McDonald/Murphy/Honeycutt

UT Men's Saturday Schedule

1500m Quarterfinal: TBA

200m Quarterfinal: TBA

 

 

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