Oct. 5, 2011
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- J.J. Clark, who is in his third season as the director of track & field at the University of Tennessee, released his program's 2012 schedule on Wednesday. The six-month itinerary extends from the indoor season-opening Kentucky Invitational in Lexington on Jan. 13-14 to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 6-9.
For the third-consecutive season, the Big Orange will open up at the University of Kentucky's Nutter Field House in Lexington. After the 2012 debut on the oversized 290-meter oval that surrounds the Wildcats' indoor football practice field, the Vols and Lady Vols will chart a course that takes them from Alabama to Washington and many points in between.
In week two, Tennessee will travel to the Auburn Indoor Invitational, helping christen the brand-new Crossplex in Birmingham on Jan. 21. After that, it's on to a couple of familiar destinations. The Big Orange will head to College Station, Texas, for the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge on Jan. 27-28 and to New York City for the New Balance Collegiate Invitational on Feb. 3-4. The A&M meet, hosted by the SEC's newest member school, will feature Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. The meet in NYC, meanwhile, will find numerous teams from across the nation convening at the famed Armory in northern Manhattan for arguably the best indoor collegiate field outside of the NCAA Championships.
After a split squad weekend on Feb. 10-11, which finds most of the team at the Akron Invitational and a handful of distance runners in Seattle for the Husky Classic, the UT contingent closes out the indoor campaign at the SEC Championships in Lexington, Ky., on Feb. 24-26 and the NCAA Championships in Nampa, Idaho, for the first time, March 9-10. The Tennessee women were third at SEC Indoors and seventh at NCAA Indoors in 2011, while the men were seventh at the league meet and tied for 39th nationally.
The outdoor slate kicks off with the program's second split-itinerary weekend of the year on March 23-24, with most of the group in Starkville, Miss. for the SEC/Big 10 Challenge on Friday and select distance runners in California for the Stanford Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
The following weekend, the West Coast theme continues, as Tennessee faces off in Westwood vs. UCLA in a dual meet at Drake Stadium. The Lady Vols triumphed over the Bruin women in 2011, 82-81, while the UCLA men prevailed, 111-50, vs. the Vols.
Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium will be the focal point for the next two meets, as Clark's teams play host to the Tennessee Challenge on April 7 and the 45th-annual Sea Ray Relays on April 11-14. The Tennessee Challenge is a first-time event, and thus far Akron, Carson-Newman and North Carolina A&T are slated to join the home team. Sea Rays, meanwhile, feature four days of action with 800-1000 athletes in competition on the UT campus.
The regular season slate winds up April 20-21 with the Vanderbilt Invitational in Nashville and on April 26-28 with UT represented at both the 118th Penn Relays in Philadelphia and the UCSD Triton Invitational in LaJolla, Calif. UT's distance, sprint, vault and jump groups will be in action in front of the throngs at Penn's Franklin Field, while the throwers will make what has become an annual journey west to UCSD to take advantage of good weather and beneficial Pacific winds.
The 2012 schedule will climax with three key meets, including the SEC Outdoor Championships in Baton Rouge, La., May 10-13, the NCAA East Preliminary Round in Jacksonville, Fla., for the initial time, May 24-26, and the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, June 6-9. The Tennessee women tied for 11th at NCAA Outdoors and were fifth at SEC Outdoors a year ago, while the Big Orange men were tied for 64th nationally and placed eighth at the conference level.
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