Freshman Annie Alexander, who hails from Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, is back home this weekend to take part in her country’s national championships and try to earn a berth in the 2008 Olympic Games. The track & field portion of the upcoming Olympiad will take place Aug. 15-24 in Beijing, China.
Alexander just completed a tremendously successful rookie campaign at UT. In the discus, she has a season best of 189 feet, three inches, which she charted at the KMC Throws Twilight meet in Lexington, Ky., on June 5. That mark is a Trinidad & Tobago national record. Additionally, Alexander won both the SEC and NCAA Mideast Regional titles in that event this year.
In the shot put, Alexander won both the SEC Indoor and Outdoor Championships in the shot put and set school records of 57-2 and 57-3, respectively, during those halves of the season. The SEC Indoor and Outdoor Freshman Field Athlete of the Year became the first female rookie in conference history to sweep titles in that event at the league meets. Additionally, she is one of only six women in SEC annals to win both the shot and discus at the same conference outdoor competition.
“It’s a great opportunity to try and represent her country and go to the most prestigious event in track & field, which is the Olympic Games,” UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. “She’s put herself into position to be a player and a possible member of the Olympic Team, and if she competes with the same fire she has all season, it will be a nice memorable moment for her. It certainly would be nice to have someone else in orange there in Beijing, as I’ll be there as the Olympic middle distance coach for the U.S. women.”
Another Big Orange rookie, Holly Kane (Knoxville, Tenn.), will be in Columbus, Ohio, and competing in the javelin throw at the USA Junior meet on Friday. Kane, a product of Karns High School and the younger sister of Vol track team member Chris Kane, enters the meet with a season best of 133-6. She charted that personal-record mark at the Georgia Invitational on May 9.
Kane competed in seven meets for the Lady Vols in 2008, winding up 11th at the SEC Outdoor Championships in her first league appearance.
“This is a great opportunity for Holly to compete against people in her own age bracket,” Clark said. “When you come to college, obviously, you are starting at the bottom of the totem pole, so to speak, and you’re competing against athletes who mostly are older than you. It’s exciting, because Holly has thrown a couple of PRs this year, and this gives her a chance to advance and go to the world junior meet.”