Members of the University of Tennessee women's track and field team will have a pair of opportunities to perform this weekend, as the squad sends a platoon to Philadelphia, Pa., for the Penn Relays on Thursday and Friday and then joins the UT men in hosti
ng the Knoxville Invitational on Sunday at Tom Black Track.
Making the trip to Philly will be a group of 10 Lady Vols, headed by throwers Diane Slinden and Denita Miller and distance runners Sharon Dickie and Erika van Reenen. Slinden possesses an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships in the discus, while Mill
er and van Reenen are provisionally qualified in the javelin and 10,000m, respectively. Dickie is looking to repeat her performance from the indoor season, when she earned a trip to nationals in her first attempt ever at 5000 meters.
Slinden, who is ranked number one in the Southeastern Conference and second in the nation with a throw of 182-3/55.56m, will compete at noon on Friday. The Menomonie, Wis., native will go into battle with not only the idea of besting her career record but
also with the goal of taking home the title after finishing second a year ago with a then PR toss of 172-8/52.62m.
Miller, meanwhile, will be the first Lady Vol in action at the prestigious meet on Thursday at 2 p.m. With a solid provisional mark of 159-3/48.54, the freshman from Liberal, Kan., will be attempting to improve her status on the national scene and hopeful
ly chart an automatic measurement. Ranking first in the SEC and ninth in the nation, Miller also looks to top her high school personal record of 161-4/49.18m when she competes this weekend.
On Thursday evening, four distance runners will take to the track with Dickie and van Reenen feeling the most urgency. Much like the indoor portion of the schedule, Dickie will be attempting to qualify for the 5K the first time she runs the race outdoors.
The provisional standard is 16:48.00, while the auto time is 16:13.00. The Grand Blanc, Mich., native's indoor PR in the 5000m is 16:28.19, when she placed eighth and earned All-America honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships. She will run at 7:25 p.m.
For van Reenen, being in the same race with Dickie will provide a chance to see what she can do in the 5000m. She posted a 17:29.16 reading at the Sea Ray Relays a couple of weeks ago and hopes to drop that mark considerably, perhaps approaching her perso
nal best of 16:54. The competitive work should also assist the Norcross, Ga., native in her training for the 10K, where she owns a season best and NCAA provisional mark of 35:10.04. That reading was logged at the Raleigh Relays early in the outdoor itiner
ary.
Also running on Thursday evening will be Christy Baird (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Jessica Southers (Ashland, Ky.) in the 3000m at 7:15 p.m. On Friday at 5:40 p.m., the Big Orange's final entry in the Penn Relays will be the sprint medley relay at 5:40 p.m. Ru
nning in that group will be freshman Christina Clark (Madison, Wis.), junior Aoife Hearne (Waterford, Ire.), junior Samantha Coulson (Roswell, Ga.) and sophomore Kameisha Bennett (Dayton, Ohio). The distances of the legs are 200m, 200m, 400m and 800m.
Sunday's action at the Knoxville Invitational gets underway at 10:30 a.m. at Tom Black Track with the women's hammer throw. The bulk of the meet, however, begins at noon with the women's javelin throw. Running events begin at 2 p.m. with the 100m dash and
conclude at 4:15 p.m. with the 400m dash. The final field event is the women's discus at 4:30 p.m. with UT's Slinden scheduled to appear. Athletes from Auburn, Brevard, Carson-Newman, Gardner-Webb and Milligan as well as several club teams are slated to
attend.