Nov. 28, 2005
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A highly-touted sprinter from New York and a pair of decorated distance runners from Florida, all three of them prep All-Americans, have returned letters of intent during the fall signing period to join the Lady Vols, University of Tennessee Head Track & Field and Cross Country Coach J.J. Clark announced Tuesday.
Adding talent and depth to already one of the nation's best sprint corps will be Lynne Layne, who hails from New Rochelle High School in New Rochelle, N.Y. Bolstering UT's cross country/distance program beginning next fall will be Kelly Parrish, who attends Vanguard High School in Ocala, Fla., and Jacqueline (Jackie) Areson, a product of Atlantic Community High School in Delray Beach, Fla.
Layne burst onto the national scene last season with her 60-meter dash triumph at the Nike Indoor National Championships. Her 7.43 reading stood as the best of the season by all high school women and earned her All-America status. She picked up her second All-America accolade by placing third in the 200 meters at the Nike meet. Her mark of 24.26 was the sixth-best prep female time of 2005, according to Track & Field News.
With a range from 55 to 400 meters on the track and the ability to long jump and handle the hurdles, Layne was the New York state champ indoors in the 55 meters last winter and took second in the long jump for New Rochelle High School. Additionally, she charted the number two 60-meter dash prep performance of the year, claiming victory in 6.94 at the 12th citibank Hispanic Games at the famed Armory in New York City. Layne, who also took fourth in the long jump at that meet, was named Girls' Most Outstanding Performer at that event.
"We are very excited about Lynne Layne," Clark said. "Coach Caryl Smith Gilbert told me that Lynne has the times and characteristics of someone who can be a great sprinter. Lynne's short sprint time indicates she has a great range, and Coach Gilbert was excited about her body type and the work ethic that she has seen."
Parrish, meanwhile, is also a two-time Nike All-American in track & field, having earned those honors indoors and out in 2005. She finished fourth behind victorious current Lady Vol Sarah Bowman in the 1600m at 4:49.19 at Nike Indoor Nationals. At the outdoor Nike meet, Parrish entered the 3200m run and posted a readout of 10:19.13 that was good for third place. She begins her senior campaign as the No. 5 ranked returnee in that event by Track & Field News.
A two-time state winner on the oval in both the 1600 and 3200 meters, Parrish also claimed the 2004 and 2005 3A state cross country titles in Florida. Her 17:13.69 effort for 5,000 meters in 2005 ranks as the number three all-time reading in Sunshine State history and puts her 12th on DyeStat's Elite national list this season. To boot, she was named Vanguard's homecoming queen in 2005.
"Kelly is going to add great diversity to our group, running everything from the 800m to cross country. In college, she'll probably run a little further, with the 5,000 and 10,000m. Her times have indicated that she'll be one of the best. She has the ability to do some great things in college, and we look forward to her arrival."
Areson, who ran at Pope John Paul II before transferring to Atlantic, is a two-time Nike Track & Field All-American in the mile run, earning honors indoors in 2004 and outdoors in 2005. The high school girls' mile record-holder in Florida with a converted time of 4:45.01, Areson was fifth in the 1600m at Nike Indoors in 2004 at 4:55 and ran the 4:45.01 readout to place sixth at the Nike outdoor meet in 2005. She enters her final prep campaign as the No. 3 rated female miler, according to Track & Field News.
She is also the owner of two state titles, logging victories at 800 meters in Class 2A as a sophomore and Class 3A as a junior. On the cross country course, meanwhile, Areson charted a third-place finish at the Florida Class 4A meet this fall after logging runner-up outcomes in 2003 and 2004. Her 5,000-meter best is an 18:17 readout from 2003 that ranks as the No. 22 clocking ever in Sunshine State history.
"Jackie has shown great consistency from her sophomore year on, running 2:12 (800m) and 4:47 (4:45 converted) in the mile, and she's improved every year. She definitely has the potential to do some good things on the track and in cross country as a Lady Vol. We're excited to have her join our program.
"As a whole, I am very excited about this group, and I look forward to seeing them in orange."
The Lady Vols, the defending NCAA and Southeastern Conference Indoor Champions, will open their 2006 track & field season at home on Jan. 5, as they play host to the Tennessee All-Comers Meet at Stokely Athletics Center. The cross country team, meanwhile, concluded its 2005 season with a fourth straight NCAA South Region title, a third consecutive SEC trophy and a 28th-place finish at the NCAA Championship meet.