17 Lady Vols in Penn Relays

Entered in its greatest range of events in at least the past 10 years, the Tennessee women's track & field team will compete in the 113th Penn Relays in Philadelphia on Thursday through Saturday intent on adding to the collection of Championship of America "relay wheels" that adorns the office of Lady Vol Head Coach J.J. Clark.

A travel squad of 17 Lady Vols will make its way to historic Franklin Field on the University of Pennsylvania campus, where Tennessee will take part in nine individual events and six of the relays for which the meet is most well known.

The Big Orange women will get started Thursday morning and wrap up their stay in Philly on Saturday afternoon, where crowds typically approach the neighborhood of 50,000 in anticipation of watching the university division relay finals as well as the thrilling USA vs. the World competition.

"We are entered in several different events and are going up there to try to win and, if not, do the best that we possibly can," Clark said. "It's exciting, because we have a nice blend of sprint and distance athletes where we have the range to cover everything ... . I am looking for our team to get involved in supporting one another, competing and coming back home healthy as we approach the SEC and NCAA Mideast meets."

In recent years, Tennessee has surged back to the prominence it displayed at the meet in the early 1980s, when Clark's sister, Joetta, was a standout for the Orange and White.

A year ago, UT won the sprint medley relay, finished second in the 4x800m relay and took third in the 4x200m relay. In 2004, the Lady Vols pulled off a trifecta for the first time since 1984, winning the DMR, sprint medley and 4x8.

In 2007, Clark's club is slated to compete in the 4x100mR, 4x200mR, 4x800mR, 4x1500mR, DMR and shuttle hurdle relay, but it won't defend its SMR crown. UT's season-best times in those events are a victorious 44.05 in the Sea Ray Relays 4x1, a runner-up 1:34.12 in the Pepsi Florida Relays 4x2, a victorious 8:36.19 in the 4x8 at Florida, a runner-up 20:14.01 in the 4x1600mR at Florida, a fourth-place 11:17.96 in the Sea Rays DMR and a runner-up and school-record 55.29 in the SHR at Florida.

Individually, Tennessee is entered in six field events and three running events. Junior Shanna Dickenson is the most accomplished of the field corps, having set the school record in the hammer throw this season and qualified for the NCAA Mideast Regional in that event as well as the discus. She will compete in the championship division of those events in addition to throwing the shot. UT also will have entries in the javelin, long jump and triple jump.

There also are Lady Vols slated for action in the 100m dash, 100m hurdles and 5000-meter run. All-America juniors Courtney Champion and Cleo Tyson and freshman Lynne Layne are among the entries in the 100m prelims on Friday, while a pair of indoor All-Americans, freshman Nia Ali and sophomore Celriece Law, as well as sophomore Pavi'Elle "Tiki" James are penciled in for the 100m hurdles prelims that same day.

Sophomore Katie Van Horn, who is already qualified for regionals in the 5000 meters, will run in the championship division of that event at Thursday night's distance carnival, as will senior Katie Flaute and freshman Jackie Areson, who made the regional cut in the 3000m steeplechase last weekend at the Vanderbilt Invitational.

Also at the Penn Relays Team USA will compete with three female athletes with ties to Tennessee.

The first event of the 2007 USATF Outdoor Visa Championship Series, USA vs. The World will be broadcast live on ESPN2 from 1-3 p.m. Eastern Time.

An impressive array of U.S. men's stars led by Tyson Gay, Bershawn Jackson, Shawn Crawford, Nick Symmonds, Wallace Spearmon, Kerron Clement, Andrew Rock, Derrick Brew, LaShawn Merritt and Darold Williamson will look to keep Team USA on the winning track.

Standouts on Team USA's women's squad include former Lady Vol Dee Dee Trotter, Hazel Clark and Allyson Felix, Lauryn Williams, Torri Edwards, Moushaumi Robinson, Monique Henderson, Sheena Johnson, Rachelle Smith and Lisa Barber, among others.

Nearly 150 athletes from 10 countries around the globe - including the world's #1 ranked female sprinter, Sherone Simpson - will compete at this year's USA vs. The World, held annually at the Penn Relays since 2000 and featuring men's and women's 4x100 and 4x400m relays.

The event also will include a men's Distance Medley Relay and a women's Sprint Medley Relay. Countries challenging Team USA this year include Jamaica, Kenya, China, Russia, Germany, Great Britain, Canada Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago and the Dominican Republic.

Other U.S. stars expected to compete in the women's 4x400m relay include 2004 Olympic Games relay gold medalists Dee Dee Trotter and Monique Henderson, 2006 World Indoor relay gold medalist Mary (Danner) Wineburg and 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials 400m hurdles champion Sheena Johnson. Team USA will have its hands full in this race in facing challenges from Jamaica, Russia, China and Canada. Russia is the defending world champion in the event, with Jamaica finishing runner-up at the 2005 World Outdoor Championships.

Headlining the Team USA women's sprint medley relay list is 2005 World Outdoor Championships 200m silver medalist and reigning USA Outdoor champion Rachelle Smith.

2004 Olympic 4x400m relay gold medalist Moushaumi Robinson also will compete for Team USA, along with three-time USA Outdoor 800m champion and two-time Olympian Hazel Clark, who has anchored Team USA to world bests in this event each of the last two years, including a time of 3:36.17 in 2006.

Also in the sprint medley relay pool is for two-time (2005-2006) USA Outdoor 1,500m champion Treniere Clement and 2006 NCAA Division I Indoor 60m and long jump champion Marshevet Hooker.

Trotter trains with UT Assistant Coach Caryl Smith Gilbert. Hazel Clark and Treniere Clement train with J.J. Clark. All three athletes reside in Knoxville.

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