Layne tears up track at USA meet

INDIANAPOLIS - Tennessee freshman Lynne Layne came oh-so-close Friday afternoon to pulling off a sprint double victory at the Finish Line USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships. After winning the 100m dash on Thursday, the Lady Vol rookie grabbed second-place honors a day later in the 200 meters at Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium.

Layne, who is from New Rochelle, N.Y., zoomed to the fastest half-lap time of her career, a wind-aided clocking of 22.94 seconds to chart runner-up accolades.

Bianca Knight, also pushed down the track by a 2.3 meters-per-second tailwind, hit the tape at 22.93, just 1/100th of a second ahead of the Big Orange speedster. As top-two finishers, both qualified to compete for the United States in that event at the Pan American Junior Championships, July 6-8, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The UT standout had previously qualified for the 100m dash and 4x100m relay duty at the Pan Am Juniors on Thursday when she won the straight sprint in Indy. Layne, though, will most likely choose the 100 or 200 and run a leg on the relay for the red, white and blue.

"Lynne did a fantastic job at this meet," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "She came here extremely focused and ran two personal bests. She came very near to pulling off a sprint double, and I'm very proud of her efforts."

In the prelims, Layne turned in a time of 23.79 to finish second in heat three and fourth-best of the qualifiers. Her readout in the final improved her to the fourth-fastest 200m dash sprinter in UT annals, falling in line behind Kelli White, Cleo Tyson and Sue Walton.

"She's a very talented young lady, and I look forward to her future development as Tennessee," Clark said.

Former Lady Vols Dee Dee Trotter and Nicole Cook, and Coach Clark's sister, Hazel Clark, are slated to be in action later Friday. Trotter is competing in the semifinals of the 400m dash at 6:45 p.m. ET, while Cook and Clark are running in the 800m prelims at 7:15 p.m. The 400m final is Saturday at 2:36 p.m., and the 800m final is Sunday at 1:50 p.m. Another former UT standout, Tianna Madison, will take part in the long jump Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Portions of the AT&T USA Championships will be televised by ESPN2 and NBC. The TV schedule includes: June 23, 2-3 p.m., NBC; June 23, 7-8 p.m., ESPN2; June 24, 1-3 p.m., NBC.

NOTE: Coaching Lynne Layne in today's races was UT assistant coach Caryl Smith Gilbert's final meet-related act as a Lady Vol aide. The five-year assistant to J.J. Clark will begin duties as head coach of the women's program at the University of Central Florida on July 1.

On Thursday, Layne cruised to victory in the 100-meter dash and became the second Lady Vol to win that race at this meet in the past three years. She follows in the footsteps of Big Orange teammate Cleo Tyson, who won the 100 meters at USA Juniors at the conclusion of her freshman campaign in 2005.

Layne rolled to a career-best time of 11.31 seconds to hit the tape first, 7/100ths of a second ahead of runner-up Shayla Mahan (11.38).

En route to victory Thursday, the freshman NCAA All-American toppled her previous personal best of 11.40, which she recorded in the prelims of the Penn Relays in April.

Layne, who also had a wind-aided clocking of 11.26 in the qualifying round to win heat two and lead the field, moved into a tie for fourth on UT's all-time outdoor performers list in the 100 meters, matching the 11.31 Dedra Davis posted in 1994. Only Cleo Tyson (11.10, 2006), Kelli White (11.20, 1999) and Tisha Prather (11.29, 1993) have run faster as Lady Vols.

UT sophomore Sarah Bowman saw her season come to an end in the prelims of the 1500-meter run. She wound up 10th in heat one and 18th overall at 4:21.79.

Knoxvillian and J.J. Clark pupil Treniere Clement, two-time defending U.S. 1500m champion, won her heat in 4:10.68 to advance to the finals.

Former Lady Vols Dee Dee Trotter and Nicole Cook advanced to the 400m and 800m semifinals, respectively. Trotter won heat one of the 400m trials in 52.39, while Cook was fifth in heat two of the 800m prelims in 2:04.84.

J.J. Clark's sister, Hazel Clark, won heat one of the 800 in 2:04.16. She is trying to win a fourth U.S. outdoor title in that event to go with crowns in 2000, 2005 and 2006.

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