Runners earn at-large NCAA bid

The University of Tennessee women's cross country team's streak of consecutive appearances at the NCAA Championship meet remains intact. The Lady Vols received word from the selection committee that they were one of 13 women's teams receiving at-large bids to the national meet in Terre Haute, Indiana, on Nov. 20.

The Big Orange women, who finished third at Saturday's NCAA South Regional at Lambert Acres Golf Club in Maryville, will be making their fifth straight trip to the NCAA Championships and their 10th overall appearance at the meet. UT has made the field all five years of Head Coach J.J. Clark's tenure at Tennessee, and the program also made the NCAA cut in 1982, 1983, 1989, 1990 and 1998. Clark's squad finished 28th a year ago in Terre Haute.

UT is one of four South Region schools making the 31-team women's field, with region champion Georgia, runner-up Florida and fourth-place finisher Florida State drawing the other invitations. Other at-large invitees include Arizona State, BYU, Colorado State, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Providence, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Weber State.

In addition to the South's UGA and UF, the automatic qualifiers include Arkansas, Baylor, Boston College, Colorado, Duke, Georgetown, Illinois, Iona, Michigan State, Minnesota, North Carolina State, Princeton, Stanford, Texas Tech, UC Santa Barbara and Wisconsin.

Indiana State University will once again play host to the NCAA meet at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. The women's 6000-meter race is scheduled for noon Eastern Time, with the men's 10,000-meter competition following at 1:15 p.m.

LADY VOL SOCCER: After making a career-high nine saves and stopping one shot during the penalty-kick shootout against Duke in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, sophomore goalkeeper Jaimel Johnson earned her second Lady Vol Athlete of the Week award of the season via a unanimous vote by the Lady Vol media relations staff.

Johnson made 12 stops during 189 minutes of spotless play in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. In her first action in a month due to injury, the Dayton, Ohio, product collected three saves in the 4-0 shutout of UAB on Friday night. Johnson followed that performance by posting her second 110-minute clean sheet of the season in the Sunday affair against Duke, with her nine saves topping the eight she made earlier in the year in a 2-1 win over No. 12 Florida.

With no winner determined in the four periods of field play, Johnson stepped up again, stopping the first shot by the Blue Devils to give the momentum and the eventual advantage to Tennessee, as it moved on in the national draw with the 4-3 shootout win. It marks the fourth time in five seasons the Lady Vols have advanced into the "Sweet 16" in NCAA play.

Johnson was earlier picked as the SEC Defensive Player and Lady Vol Athlete of the Week on Sept. 4, following UT's 1-0 win over then-No. 6 Virginia , which was the sophomore's first career solo shutout.

The Lady Vols now prepare for the regional semifinal matchup against top-seed North Carolina at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C.

LADY VOL ROWING: CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Inclement weather shortened the Rivanna Romp, the final race of the fall schedule, but before the event was finished, the Lady Vols took third with their top shell in the Varsity Eight against some top competition on Sunday morning on the Rivanna Reservoir.

In a field of 28 shells, Tennessee ranked third, 13th and 17th in the only women's varsity event of the day. The smaller boat races were canceled due to the weather conditions in the Charlottesville, Va., area.

UT's top crew came in behind the host Virginia Cavaliers and 2006 NCAA Championships finalists Ohio State. Completing the course in 13:29.57 was the crew of freshman coxswain Katie Ross, senior Renee Brittle, junior Krista Gearing, senior Rachel Mayberry, sophomores Erin-Monique Shelton and Alex Shishkov , senior Sarah Hutcheson and juniors Mary Jones and Genevieve Collins.

Finishing 13th overall and third among the "B" entries was the Orange and White's group led by sophomore coxswain Pam Harder, sophomore Caroline Howell, junior Nina Dobratz, senior Kristen Galloway, junior Leah Smelser, senior Heather Hill, juniors Kendra Warren and Jessica Ayers and senior Katrina von Peters. The crew stopped the clock in 14:02.49, a half a second better than Clemson's top crew.

UT's third shell, manned by senior coxswain Stephanie Davis, senior Katie Payne, junior Marisa Mohan, freshmen Kate Snider, Mary Dreuskie and Brittany Sehring and sophomores Joycelyn Campbell, Rachel Dutkosky and Danielle Hmielewski crossed the line in 17th overall and second among the "C" groups. They clocked in at 14:19.06, nearly three seconds better than South Region competitors UCF, who came in 18th.

The Novice Eight crews for Tennessee finished strong, ranking fourth and eighth in the eight-crew competition.

The Lady Vols now move into their off-season training regime, all in preparations for the traditional home-opening scrimmage against Minnesota and Notre Dame on March 17. UT is striving to earn a second full-team bid into the NCAA Rowing Championships, which will be held on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on May 25-27, 2007.


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