Felicia Guliford finalist for Woman of Year

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - After starting out as one of 128 conference and independent nominees on July 2, former University of Tennessee track & field/cross country standout Felicia Guliford is among nine finalists for the 2007 NCAA Woman of the Year award, the organization has announced.

Guliford had previously made the NCAA's cut to 30 finalists on Aug. 27. She will join the eight other candidates on Oct. 27 at the Murat Centre's Egyptian Ballroom in Indianapolis, where the winner will be revealed at the NCAA Woman of the Year Banquet.

A product of Gallup, N.M., Guliford joins Shauneen Garrahan (Amherst College, track & field/cross country); Ana Gutierrez (Seattle University/softball); Jessica Javelet (University of Louisville/field hockey); Whitney Myers (University of Arizona/swimming & diving); Ashley Parker (Lincoln University [Pa.], track & field); Debbie Sharnak (Vassar College, tennis); Sarah Shearman (Truman State University, volleyball); and Jamie Wolf (Clarion University [Pa.], swimming & diving) in that illustrious group.

Guliford will attempt to follow in the footsteps of swimmer Catherine Byrne (1992) and diver Lauryn McCalley (2005) as Lady Volunteers who have previously been named NCAA Woman of the Year. She is the seventh UT woman to make the cut as a finalist, joining a group that includes McCalley (2005), Kara Lawson (2003, basketball), Lizzy Flynt Asti (2001, swimming & diving), Katharina Larsson (1994, golf), Byrne (1992) and Patty Wiegand (1991, track & field/cross country).

A graduate of UT in August of 2007 with a double major in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology and Spanish, Guliford was an ESPN the Magazine first-team Academic All-District IV track and field/cross country team member in 2007 and a second-team selection in 2005. Additionally, she was named to the Women's Intercollegiate Cross Country Coaches Association Academic All-America squad in 2004, was a ten-time Dean's List honoree and was a member of the Southeastern Conference Freshman Academic Honor Roll in 2003, the SEC Academic Honor Roll, 2003-07, and the Lady Vol Honor Roll, 2003-07.

Athletically, Guliford was a team captain and team peer mentor in 2006-07. She was a first-team All-American in track & field in 2005 and was a member of Tennessee's first NCAA track & field team championship (indoor) that season. She also was a member of the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track & Field Championship teams in 2005 and 2007, winning SEC titles indoors at 3,000 and 5,000 meters in 2005 and claiming an SEC Outdoor crown at 5,000 meters that season as well. Her effort at the indoor league meet earned her a share of the SEC Commissioner's Trophy, which goes to the event's high scorer.

In cross country, Guliford was a member of four NCAA South Region championships and three SEC team titles at UT, earning first-team All-SEC in cross country in 2004 and 2005 and NCAA All-South Region in cross country in 2002, 2004 and 2005. She is one of three Lady Vols in school history to appear in four NCAA Cross Country National Championships during her career and helped UT make its first run of four straight team appearances at the NCAA meet as well.

Guliford's list of service and leadership activities include serving as a volunteer at the Free Medical Clinic for the Working Poor and at Catholic Charities, coordinating after-school and weekend activities for children in a low-income subdivision as part of Montgomery Village Children's Outreach, and organizing and conducting day camps for students ages 5-18 on Native American reservations as part of WINGS Running and Fitness Camps.

Guliford was honored with track & field's Lady Vol Community Service Award in 2007, was an SEC Good Works Team selection in 2006, was a Brad Davis SEC Community Service Award winner in 2007, and was voted Miss Tennessee at UT Athletics' 2007 VOLSCARS award show, recognizing her as the female UT student-athlete who best demonstrated the traits of service, leadership, academics and athletics.

LADY VOL CROSS COUNTRY: Because last weekend's Tennessee Invitational had too few teams to count as an official meet, the Tennessee women's cross country team has added another trip to its travel itinerary. The Lady Vols will be in Athens on Saturday morning to compete in the University of Georgia's Bulldog Stampede.

The 5,000-meter race at the University of Georgia Golf Course will include the host Bulldogs, the Lady Vols, Auburn , Georgia Southern, Miami (Fla.), South Alabama and others. Georgia, picked to finish fourth in the Southeastern Conference by the league's coaches, currently ranks 13th in the USTFCCCA National Poll, while UT is 26th. Race time is 8 a.m. Eastern Time.

"The reason we are going to this meet is because our event (Tennessee Invitational) last week was not an NCAA-legal meet," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "Only four runners from the other team ( East Tennessee State ) were at the starting line, so I knew right off the bat that the race would not count for us. After the race, I immediately started looking for a meet to keep our team eligible for NCAA postseason.

"We found the Bulldog Stampede, and our purpose is to go to Athens, stay healthy and take the necessary step to try to get us NCAA-eligible for the end of the year. We'll do what we need to do, run this race and then gear up and fire hard next weekend at the Paul Short Run."

The last time Tennessee ran at this venue, the Lady Vols picked up their first SEC Championship trophy of the Clark era. It proved to be a launching pad for three straight conference victories for UT. None of the current squad's runners, though, have set foot on the UGA course.

Tennessee's top runners entering the meet are juniors Sarah Bowman and Katie Van Horn and sophomore Jackie Areson. Bowman, Van Horn and Areson finished first, third and fifth, respectively, at the Belmont Opener back on Aug. 31. Last weekend, unofficially, Bowman again triumphed, followed by Areson and Van Horn in second and third places at the Tennessee Invitational. All posted what would have been 5K personal bests, including a 17:36.66 readout by Bowman.

Freshman Brittany Sheffey and sophomore Phoebe Wright have established themselves as the team's fourth and fifth runners at this point in the season. They filled those roles in each of UT's meets thus far.

Wildcards in the process are juniors Heidi Magill-Dahl and Leah Soro, both of whom have not appeared in a race this season. It is likely that the two all-region and all-conference caliber runners will not see action until the Paul Short Run on Sept. 28.

Others slated to make the trip to Athens are juniors Rolanda Bell and Kimarra McDonald. They have been UT's sixth and seventh runners in the first two races.

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