UT freshman Lynne Lane blazes to Pan Am Juniors gold medal

SAO PAULO, Brazil — University of Tennessee freshman Lynne Layne rocketed to victory Friday in the 100-meter dash at the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships, becoming the second Lady Vol to claim that title for the United States in the past three seasons.

Layne, who hails from New Rochelle, N.Y., got out of the blocks quickly and ran away from the field in a career-best and wind-legal time of 11.24 seconds to capture the gold medal. In a competition that features the top athletes, ages 16-19, from North and South America, Central America and the Caribbean, Layne easily out-distanced runner-up Rosangelo Cristina O. Santos of Brazil, who ran 11.44 to grab a silver medal for the host country.

After charting a reaction time of 2.11 in running 11.53 in the prelims, Layne was out of the starting blocks in 1.76 in the final. That initial burst helped the Big Orange rookie shatter her previous personal record of 11.31, which she established at the USA Junior Championships two weeks ago. Layne’s mark also tied for the third-best ever run by a Lady Vol in the 100 meters. Only Cleo Tyson (11.10, 2006 NCAA Mideast Regional) and Kelli White (11.20, 1999 NCAA Championships) ran faster. Tyson also logged an 11.24 readout at the 2006 SEC Championships.

In addition to matching Tyson’s 11.24 clocking, Layne also followed in her teammate’s footsteps by claiming gold at the Pan Am Junior meet for the U.S. During her freshman season of 2005, Tyson also pulled off the same feat and went on to aid a gold-medal-winning American 4x100m relay unit as well. Layne, however, is not expected to run on the 4x1 this week as the U.S. utilizes fresh legs on its baton tandems.

“I am so very proud of Lynne for the great job she has done,” UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. “It is really impressive that she has run so well so late in the season. The fact she’s run this consistently makes me believe there is more to Lynne Layne in the future. As it is, she has just put a cap on a great freshman year.”