9 Lady Vols qualify for track championships

The NCAA released its list of qualifiers for the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships next week, and the University of Tennessee will be sending nine women to compete in nine different events June 6-9 at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex in Sacramento, Calif.

Making the list for the Lady Volunteers are three juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen, covering the 100m, 200m and 400m dashes, the 1500m run, the 100m hurdles, the 4x100m relay, the hammer and discus throws and the heptathlon. The UT contingent is slated to depart Monday.

Freshman Lynne Layne made the cut in three events. She automatically qualified for the meet in the 100m and 4x100m relay via her regional finishes and made the 200m field as an at-large entry. She will be joined on the 4x1 tandem by junior Cleo Tyson, junior LaTonya Loche and sophomore Tiki James, who will be running in place of the injured Courtney Champion. That group finished second at the Mideast Regional meet over the weekend prior to Champion's injury.

Other automatic qualifiers include sophomore Shanna Dickenson in the discus throw as well as freshman Rose-Anne Galligan and sophomore Sarah Bowman in the 1500m. Galligan and Bowman stand as UT's top-rated NCAA qualifiers, ranking fifth and ninth, respectively, with times of 4:17.20 and 4:17.87. They were third and fourth at the regional meet, while Dickenson was the runner-up in the discus.

Freshman Nia Ali's SEC-winning heptathlon effort earned her a spot in the NCAA field as an at-large entry in that event. In addition to running a leg on the 4x1, Loche picked up an invitation individually in the 400m, while Law, a 4x1 alternate, earned a lane in the 100m hurdles. Dickenson, meanwhile, will take on a second event as an at-large contestant in the hammer throw.

LADY VOL SOFTBALL: No. 1 and fifth-seeded Tennessee's (59-6) road at the Women's College World Series is slated to begin on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET when the Big Orange face off against the No. 7 and fourth-seeded Texas A&M Aggies (46-12) live on ESPN/HD.

UT is 2-0 all-time in its opening matchups at the WCWS with victories over No. 3 Arizona (1-0 in 2005) and No. 1 UCLA (4-3 in 2006).

The winner of the Lady Vol/Aggie matchup will move on to face the victor of the Arizona/Baylor game on Friday at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2/HD. The two losing teams will play on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN/HD.

This will be Tennessee's third consecutive trip to the Women's College World Series as the Lady Vols have finished third nationally in each of the past two seasons at NCAA Division I softball's ultimate event. The Big Orange maintain a 6-4 record at the WCWS after going 3-2 during both the 2005 & 2006 campaigns. UT is 23-10 all-time in five appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee advanced to Oklahoma City, Okla., with a best two-of-three Knoxville Super Regional victory over No. 12 Hawaii this past weekend at Tyson Park. The Orange & White took the opener, 9-0 (five innings), before falling, 9-6, in game two. The Lady Vols rebounded to nab a 7-1 decision in the series clincher to punch its ticket back to its third consecutive WCWS.

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