Sea Ray Relays yesterday at Tom Black Track. Over 100 institutions are competing
in the four-day event, which continues today and runs through Saturday.
The action got underway yesterday with the Scott Hartman Decathlon and
the heptathlon, both of which will be concluded today.
The meet's "distance carnival" begins at 6 p.m. with the women's
open 3,000-meter run, and the evening comes to a close with the women's
10,000 meters at 8:50 p.m.
The final two days of the Sea Ray Relays feature a full slate of activities,
as Friday's agenda begins at noon with the men's open javelin and concludes
with the men's invitational hammer at 9:15 p.m. On Saturday, the men's open
hammer throw is the first event of the day, while the men's 4x400-meter
relay is the final race of the meet at 5:35 p.m.
Olympians Joetta Clark and Jearl Miles-Clark are two well-known athletes
in track and field circles, and their presence at the Sea Rays has become
an annual rite. This season, they will be joined by the University of Florida's
Hazel Clark, who happens to be the younger sister of Joetta and the 1998
NCAA Indoor 800-meter champ. The familial thread that links them also includes
Florida assistant coach J.J. Clark, who is a brother to Joetta and Hazel
and the wife of Jearl. The relationships of that quartet, and the talent
that lies within, should make the women's 100-meter hurdles, 200-meter dash,
800- and 1,500-meter events worthy of special attention.
Among the long list of female stars expected to compete are a couple
of 1997 NCAA outdoor champions. Sevatheda Fynes, who won the 100- and 200-meter
dashes last season for Michigan State, will compete in both events this
weekend for Flynn Sports Management, while Becki Wells of Nike (formerly
of Florida) will compete in the 1,500 meters, an event she won at nationals
Trecia Smith of Pittsburgh, a returning All-American in the triple jump,
will compete in the long and triple jumps. Vanderbilt's Leslie Vidmar highlights
the throws and unattached competitor Tisha Waller brings top-notch capabilities
to the high jump.
The women's pole vault will be intriguing as well, with Southeastern
Conference indoor champion Leslie Henley of Tennessee and NCAA indoor veterans
Shannon Gallagher (Kent) and Kristen Quackenbush (West Virginia) heading
the list of entrants. In the heptathlon, LaTonya Hill of Mississippi State
represents one of the SEC's best multi-event athletes.
Additionally, the University of Tennessee will boast six returning outdoor
All-Americans competing in the meet, including Janelle Briggs, Anissa Campbell,
Saidah Jones, Lesly Love, Kelli White and Erica Witter. White is the most
decorated athlete on the current Lady Vol roster, having earned a combined
total of seven All-America honors in her three-year career at UT.
This year's men's field includes a number of top athletes as well. The
field events should prove to be tightly contested as UT's own Chris Morland
is coming off two consecutive individual javelin titles in the College Station
Relays (Texas A&M) and the Raleigh Relays (NC State). In addition, the
Vols' Russell Johnson claimed the SEC's indoor pole vault championship in
February and will defend his Sea Ray title from last year in the event as
well. Current American record holder and former Vol Lawrence Johnson will
return to Knoxville as he tries to steal the pole vault title away from
his former teammate.
The Vols also pose a threat in the 100- and 200-meter dashes as newcomer
Russell Frye and Tennessee's fastest man, Tyrone Graham, compete at the
Sea Rays. However, returning to Knoxville for another attempt at a 100-
and 200-meter sweep is Michael Green. He is the defending Sea Ray champion
in both events and hopes to improve his personal-best and Sea Ray Relays
record time of 10.02 in the 100 meters.
Highlighting the distance events is two-time Olympian and former Vol
Todd Williams, who continues to hold the UT school record in the 5,000-meter
run. Williams also captured the 1996 U.S. 10,000-meter championship.
Also making an appearance in the 1998 competition will be the defending
NCAA Indoor Champion Arkansas Razorbacks, led by Robert Howard and Seneca
Lassiter. The Razorbacks took their 14th national indoor title over the
past 15 seasons this past March and hope to gain a great start toward capturing
their seventh straight and eighth overall NCAA outdoor title when they visit
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