9 Lady Vols to compete in track championships

The University of Tennessee women's track & field team heads to Sacramento Calif., where the squad will compete Wednesday through Saturday at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in hopes of putting a positive capper on what has been a difficult outdoor campaign for the Lady Volunteers.

"We've had a hard outdoor season," fifth-year UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "We've had stress fractures and hamstring pulls, but in a challenging outdoor season, we're still bringing nine people to the championship. We are a program that looks forward to the future and to the things that we can do. That's the way we will approach things in Sacramento and see what we can get done."

Tennessee will be represented by three juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex this week, as that venue hosts the NCAA Outdoor meet for the third straight season and for the fourth time in the past five years. This will mark the final year of a hosting run for Sacramento, though, as Des Moines, Iowa, Fayetteville, Ark., and Eugene, Ore., are slated to entertain over the next three seasons.

The Lady Vols, who won the 2007 SEC Indoor Championship and finished third at the NCAA Indoor Championships back in March, will be represented in nine different events over the four-day competition. Freshman Rose-Anne Galligan and sophomore Sarah Bowman are UT's top-rated qualifiers, standing at fifth and ninth, respectively, in the 1500-meter field with times of 4:17.20 and 4:17.87.

In other running events, the Big Orange will have freshman Lynne Layne in the 100 and 200 meters, sophomore Celriece Law in the 100m hurdles, junior LaTonya Loche in the 400 meters and Layne, Loche, junior Cleo Tyson and sophomore Tiki James in the 4x100m relay.

Tennessee also will have junior Shanna Dickenson, a three-event SEC scorer and UT hammer throw record-holder, in action in the hammer and discus, and freshman Nia Ali, the SEC champion, in the heptathlon.

Ali will not be able to take part in the open 100m hurdles event, though, because she suffered a right hamstring strain prior to the NCAA Mideast Regional and was not able to participate and qualify at that meet.

Junior Courtney Champion, who had a stellar indoor season and earned All-America honors in both the 60m and 200m, will not be making the trip. She also suffered a right hamstring strain at the regional meet and did not qualify in either the 100 or 200 meters because of that injury. Therefore, her season is finished.

Despite those setbacks, and the absence of several distance runners who were unable to make the NCAA field due to various ailments, UT still was able to match last year's total of outdoor national qualifiers.

"The numbers aren't necessarily important; it's what you do with the numbers you have," Clark said. "Hopefully, we can go to Sacramento with our 1500m, 4x1, sprints, hep and throwing events and put some good marks on the board and make for a top-10 performance in the team standings. We'll see what happens."

The Lady Vols are slated to practice Tuesday and then will begin competition on Wednesday at 11 a.m. Pacific Time (2 p.m. ET).

On day one, Dickenson takes part in the qualifying round of both the hammer and discus throws, Layne and Law face two rounds, respectively, of 100m dash and 100m hurdles qualifying and the 4x100m relay runs in the semifinals.

GOOD WORK: For all of the volunteer work and charitable ventures she has participated in around the UT campus, Knoxville area and even the world, senior Felicia Guliford has been named to the 2007 Southeastern Conference Women's Track & Field Community Service Team.

The SEC sponsors Community Service Teams for all 20 league-sponsored sports. The Community Service Team looks to highlight an athlete from each school who gives back to her community in superior service efforts.

Guliford, who hails from Gallup, N.M., assisted with the front desk, appointments and patient care at Free Medical Clinic for the Working Poor. She traveled to Chile on a mission trip last summer and is planning another one for Mexico in 2007. Guliford also volunteered at Catholic Charities, assisting Hispanic immigrants with English-Spanish translation in setting up appointments, translating legal documents and helping obtain visas or citizenship.

She participated in Read Across America and read to area school children. Guliford collected canned goods and distributed to local food banks on several different occasions and took part in April Play Day, mentoring children from the Boys and Girls Clubs. Additionally she volunteered at Montgomery Village Children's Outreach, assisting families in low income subdivisions with after-school and weekend activities for children and worked at WINGS Running and Fitness Camps, organizing and conducting day camps for students ages 5-18 on Native American reservations.

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