Immediate impact for Annie Alexander

The University of Tennessee women, ranked third in the nation in the USTFCCCA Preseason Poll, collected two of the Southeastern Conference's three female track & field athlete of the week honors during the season's first voting period, the league announced Tuesday.

Sophomore sprinter Lynne Layne (New Rochelle, N.Y.) was named the SEC Female Runner of the Week, while rookie thrower Annie Alexander (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) was chosen as the Female Freshman of the Week.

Pole vaulter Katie Stripling of Arkansas was selected as the Female Field Athlete of the Week.

Layne opened her 2008 campaign by winning the 60-meter dash title at the Kentucky Invitational on Jan. 12. The second-year performer raced to a career-best and NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 7.37 seconds to claim victory at Kentucky's Nutter Field House. It marked the first individual indoor victory of Layne's career, and her time moved her to No. 6 on UT's all-time performers list in that event.

To win the race, Layne defeated senior teammates in 12-time All-American Cleo Tyson and 10-time All-American Courtney Champion, the school record-holder in the 60m and the SEC Championships runner-up in that event in 2005 and 2007. Her time ranks her number one in the conference this week.

Alexander, meanwhile, won the shot put and indoor discus throw competitions in Lexington. She moved to number two and number one, respectively, on the school's all-time performers lists in those events and was named earlier Tuesday as the Lady Vol Athlete of the Week.

In the shot, Alexander stretched the tape to an indoor career best and an SEC-leading measurement of 53 feet, 9 1/2 inches to claim victory. Her mark, which easily met the NCAA provisional qualifying standard, was the farthest by a Lady Vol in 12 seasons and the seventh-longest ever achieved indoors by a UT woman. It would have been good enough to place her third at last year's SEC Indoor Championship meet.

Her effort in the discus, 164-3, was more than enough for first-place honors in an event that is not usually contested indoors. Alexander's mark was the best ever by a UT performer in that event.

Alexander, who enrolled at UT just last week, wasted little time in demonstrating her abilities.

"For Annie Alexander to arrive here in January and throw a PR and strong provisional in the shot in her first meet with us indicates how talented she is and shows what she is capable of contributing to this team," Lady Vol Head Coach J.J. Clark said.

"I also was happy to see Lynne Layne PR in her first meet of the season and Courtney Champion to run a 7.39 provisional in the prelims as well.

"The sprinters came back and ran well in the finals and 4x400m relay, and Brittany Sheffey and Phoebe Wright had nice races, so there were a lot of positives. We look forward to returning to training and getting ready for our next meet in two weeks."

The Penn State National Invitational will be held Jan. 25-26 at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track in University Park.

LADY VOL SOCCER: Tennessee women's soccer player Leslie Vineyard has been named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas Scholar All-South Region team. Following a productive season on-and-off the field, Vineyard earned a spot on the second team.

The junior was a key player in helping the Lady Vols post a 15-5-2 record during the 2007 campaign, reaching the NCAA Sweet 16. Vineyard garnered significant playing time in the midfield for Tennessee, starting 20 matches and spending 86 percent of the team's total minutes on the pitch this season.

Vineyard recorded the first point of her career, assisting on junior forward Kylee Rossi's goal in UT's 2-0 win over Nebraska on Sept. 14, 2007. The St. Louis, Mo., native also tied her career high by taking 21 shots.

All year, Vineyard helped to shut down opponents, contributing to the Lady Vols' 11 shutouts. In Tennessee's NCAA Sweet 16 loss to Portland, Vineyard handled the tough task of marking Pilot senior midfielder Angie Woznuk, holding the U.S. Under-23 National Team member to just two shots on the night.

In the classroom, Vineyard has been equally successful, accumulating a 3.63 grade point average in her first two years at Tennessee. The junior is a speech pathology major and a two-time member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll.

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