June 4, 2007
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The University of Tennessee women's track & field team heads to Sacramento, Calif., where the squad will compete Wednesday through Saturday at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in hopes of putting a positive capper on what has been a difficult outdoor campaign for the Lady Volunteers.
"We've had a hard outdoor season," fifth-year UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "We've had stress fractures and hamstring pulls, but in a challenging outdoor season, we're still bringing nine people to the championship. We are a program that looks forward to the future and to the things that we can do. That's the way we will approach things in Sacramento and see what we can get done."
Tennessee will be represented by three juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex this week, as that venue hosts the NCAA Outdoor meet for the third straight season and for the fourth time in the past five years. This will mark the final year of a hosting run for Sacramento, though, as Des Moines, Iowa, Fayetteville, Ark., and Eugene, Ore., are slated to entertain over the next three seasons.
The Lady Vols, who won the 2007 SEC Indoor Championship and finished third at the NCAA Indoor Championships back in March, will be represented in nine different events over the four-day competition. Freshman Rose-Anne Galligan (County Kildare, Ireland) and sophomore Sarah Bowman (Warrenton, Va.) are UT's top-rated qualifiers, standing at fifth and ninth, respectively, in the 1500-meter field with times of 4:17.20 and 4:17.87.
In other running events, the Big Orange will have freshman Lynne Layne (New Rochelle, N.Y.) in the 100 and 200 meters, sophomore Celriece Law (Denver, Colo.) in the 100m hurdles, junior LaTonya Loche (Bastrop, La.) in the 400 meters and Layne, Loche, junior Cleo Tyson (Huntsville, Texas) and sophomore Tiki James (Miami, Fla.) in the 4x100m relay.
Tennessee also will have junior Shanna Dickenson (Cincinnati, Ohio), a three-event SEC scorer and UT hammer throw record-holder, in action in the hammer and discus, and freshman Nia Ali (Philadelphia, Pa.), the SEC champion, in the heptathlon. Ali will not be able to take part in the open 100m hurdles event, though, because she suffered a right hamstring strain prior to the NCAA Mideast Regional and was not able to participate and qualify at that meet.
Junior Courtney Champion (Lawrenceville, Ga.), who had a stellar indoor season and earned All-America honors in both the 60m and 200m, will not be making the trip. She also suffered a right hamstring strain at the regional meet and did not qualify in either the 100 or 200 meters because of that injury. Therefore, her season is finished.
Despite those setbacks, and the absence of several distance runners who were unable to make the NCAA field due to various ailments, UT still was able to match last year's total of outdoor national qualifiers.
"The numbers aren't necessarily important; it's what you do with the numbers you have," Clark said. "Hopefully, we can go to Sacramento with our 1500m, 4x1, sprints, hep and throwing events and put some good marks on the board and make for a top-10 performance in the team standings. We'll see what happens."
The Lady Vols are slated to practice Tuesday and then will begin competition on Wednesday at 11 a.m. Pacific Time (2 p.m. ET). On day one, Dickenson takes part in the qualifying round of both the hammer and discus throws, Layne and Law face two rounds, respectively, of 100m dash and 100m hurdles qualifying and the 4x100m relay runs in the semifinals.
|WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6|
|Hammer Throw Qualifying 11:00 a.m. PT|
|4x100m Relay Semifinals 3:20 p.m. PT|
|Tiki James / Lynne Layne / LaTonya Loche / Cleo Tyson|
|Discus Throw Qualifying 4:30 p.m. PT|
|100m First Round 5:00 p.m. PT|
|100mH First Round 5:40 p.m. PT|
|100m Semifinals 6:55 p.m. PT|
|100mH Semifinals 7:25 p.m. PT|
|THURSDAY, JUNE 7|
|Heptathlon First Day 10:30 a.m. PT|
|Nia Ali (100mH/HJ/SP/200m - last event starts approx. 3:10 p.m. PT)|
|200m First Round 3:50 p.m. PT|
|200m Semifinals 5:35 p.m. PT|
|1500m Semifinals 6:25 p.m. PT|
|FRIDAY, JUNE 8|
|Hammer Throw Final 11:00 a.m. PT|
|Heptathlon Second Day 11:30 a.m. PT|
|Nia Ali (LJ/JT/800m - last event starts approx. 3:50 p.m.)|
|Discus Throw Qualifying 3:15 p.m. PT|
|4x100m Relay Final 4:40 p.m. PT|
|Tiki James / Lynne Layne / LaTonya Loche / Cleo Tyson?|
|100mH Final 5:45 p.m. PT|
|400m Semifinals 6:05 p.m. PT|
|100m Final 6:25 p.m. PT|
|SATURDAY, JUNE 9|
|400m Final 10:44 a.m. PT|
|200m Final 10:58 a.m. PT|
|1500m Final 11:22 a.m. PT|