Fall slate set for Lady Vol Cross Country

The University of Tennessee women's cross country team, winner of the past four NCAA South Regionals and last three SEC Championships, has announced its 2006 schedule, and the Lady Volunteers will run twice on their home course and a total of three times in-state this season, according to Head Coach J.J. Clark.

Under the direction of J.J. Clark, who has been named South Region Coach of the Year the past four years and SEC Coach of the Year during the last three campaigns, the Big Orange women return seven letterwinners, including 2005 All-SEC performers Sarah Bowman (sophomore, Warrenton, Va.), Katie Flaute (senior, Dayton, Ohio), Felicia Guilford (senior, Gallup, N.M.) and Leah Soro (sophomore, Knoxville, Tenn.). They also welcome six newcomers to the squad, including highly-touted freshmen Jacqueline Areson (Delray Beach, Fla.), Rose Anne-Galligan (Naas, Ireland) and Kelly Parrish (Ocala, Fla.).

Tennessee will open its campaign for the second year in a row at the 4,000-meter Belmont Opener in Nashville on Sept. 1 and follow it up with a home meet, the 5K Tennessee Invitational, at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 15 at Lambert Acres Golf Club in Maryville. A year ago, Bowman finished first at both of those competitions and became the first UT freshman since 1976 to win her first two races as a Lady Vol.

On Sept. 30, UT will compete in its first 6K race of the season, the Paul Short Run, in Bethlehem, Pa. The Lady Vols have been to that large meet at Lehigh University the past three years, finishing third, first and third, respectively, during those trips.

Next up, Clark will take his troops to Terre Haute, Ind., to compete in the 6K Pre-Nationals meet on Oct. 14 at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.

Tennessee is making its first appearance since 2004 at the event, which offers the nation's best programs an opportunity to compete at the venue that will serve as the site of the NCAA Championships later in the season. The Lady Vols placed sixth out of 36 teams at this meet in 2004.

On Oct. 28, the Big Orange women will travel to Baton Rouge, La., seeking to win their fourth consecutive and sixth overall SEC trophy. Tennessee enters the season with four of its five scoring runners from last year's championship team, and Clark and company hope to once again repel challenges from nemesis Arkansas and Georgia, among others.

Two weeks later, on Nov. 11, the Lady Vols will play host for the 6K NCAA South Regional at Lambert Acres, as they did in 2002, Clark's first year in Knoxville. Tennessee has won this meet in each of Clark's first four seasons, and the goal is to extend that streak in 2006.

If UT can once again win or place among the top two in the team standings at the regional meet, the squad would earn its fifth consecutive berth at the NCAA Championship meet in Terre Haute. The Lady Vols, whose highest finish at the national meet under the leadership of Clark was a 21st-place outcome in 2004, will be aiming to elevate themselves to a spot in the top 10.

2006 Lady Vol Schedule:

Sept. 1, Friday, Belmont Opener, 4K, Nashville, Tenn., time TBA

Sept. 15, Friday, Tennessee Invitational, 5K, Maryville, Tenn., 5:30 p.m.

Sept. 30, Saturday, Paul Short Run, 6K, Bethlehem, Pa., TBA

Oct. 14, Saturday, Pre-Nationals, 6K, Terre Haute, Ind., TBA

Oct. 28, Saturday, SEC Championships, 6K, Baton Rouge, La., TBA

Nov. 11, Saturday, NCAA South Regional, 6K, Maryville, Tenn., TBA

Nov. 20, Monday, NCAA Championships, 6K, Terre Haute, Ind., TBA

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