Jan. 18, 2003
It appears Sharon Dickie's success in cross country during the fall is translating into a similar performance on the track. The senior Lady Vol distance standout made an impressive 2003 debut Saturday afternoon at Rector Fieldhouse, placing second among collegians and third overall in the 3000 meters and leading the University of Tennessee women's track & field team on the final day of the Virginia Tech Kroger Invitational.
Dickie, from Grand Blanc, Mich., turned in a 9:42.98 pace to finish behind only NCAA distance stars Kristin Price of North Carolina State (9:35.63) and Heather Sagan of adidas (9:38.05) in the top section of the 3K. Dickie's clocking was the second-fastest of her career and her best indoor 3000m race since her freshman season, when she logged a personal-best 9:36.65 at the Cannon IV Classic in Indianapolis, Ind.
Early in the race, it appeared the flow may have been going too fast for Dickie. On the contrary, Dickie was just content to follow her race plan and run near the back of the pack until receiving word to kick it into high gear from Tennessee Head Coach J.J. Clark. When she got the signal, Dickie caught and passed every member of a seven-runner pack and gave chase to second-place Sagan. Despite a hard charge over the final 400 meters, she came up a little short of walking down the top two. Still, it was an indication that Dickie is making strides toward another NCAA berth in the 5000 meters as she did in earning All-America honors in 2001.
"It was good to see Sharon have such a confident race this early in the
season," Clark said. "I believe she could have won the race if we had
decided to go out a little faster. As it was, she executed the race plan
perfectly and made a strong push at the end. I'm very pleased with her
"The plan is for her to run the mile at next weekend's meet (SEC Challenge) in Lexington then run a nice 5000m race the following week. She's working hard, so hopefully good things will continue to happen for her."
Sophomore Elizabeth McCalley (Knoxville, Tenn.) also gave a good account of herself in the 3000m, winning section three in a career-best 10:29.34 and placing 19th overall. Junior Erin Anderson (Kent, Ohio), meanwhile, was 26th overall in 10:40.44.
In the sprints, sophomore Toyin Olupona (Orillia, Canada) hit the finish line in 7.50 to place fourth in the 60m dash, while sophomore Dee Dee Trotter (Decatur, Ga.) was 12th in 7.71. Trotter, who stumbled during her trip down the track in the short sprint, bounced back strong in the 200-meter dash and posted a 24.28 to wind up eighth. Olupona lowered her personal record to 24.52 in the 200 and placed 13th, while freshman Caitlin Ward (Gibsonia, Pa.) was 46th in 26.35.
In the mile run, sophomore 800m standout Nicole Cook (Petersburg, Va.) was the fastest Lady Vol, covering the distance in 5:04.97 to place 11th out of 54 entrants. Junior Jessica Southers (Ashland, Ky.) had the most memorable performance, however, demonstrating a strong kick and showing remarkable improvement in her personal best from 5:18.54 a year ago to a 15th-place clocking of 5:06.35. Also finishing were freshmen Mindy Sullivan (Lubbock, Texas) in 32nd at 5:17.40 and Katie Flaute (Dayton, Ohio) in 41st in 5:25.23.
Elsewhere, junior Kelly Flowers (Westerville, Ohio) tied for sixth in the high jump at 5-3/1.60m but was unable to land a fair leap in the long jump; Ward threw the shot for the first time but failed to land a measurable mark; and the 4x400m relay combination of Trotter, Ward, Sullivan and sophomore Brooke Novak (Kaukauna, Wis.), entered for individual training purposes, managed to take ninth in 3:56.70. In all, Clark was pleased with his team's efforts.
"It was a good start," Clark said. "We came out with four personal bests and an individual winner in Christie Elwin (pole vault on Friday). The next steps are to start qualifying people for nationals and begin preparing for the SEC meet. I look forward to seeing what we can do in Lexington next weekend."
The Lady Vols will return to action on Jan. 25, when they travel to the Southeastern Conference Challenge at Nutter Fieldhouse in Lexington, Ky.
NOTE: Members of the Clark family, coached by J.J. Clark, were again in action. Clark's wife, Jearl Miles-Clark, took third in the 400 meters in 54.00, while his sister, Hazel, posted a mile time of 5:06.07 to place 14th.
|SATURDAY, JAN. 18|
|EVENT (NCAA QUALIFYING MARKS)|
|High Jump (Auto: 1.84, Prov: 1.77)|
|Shot Put (Auto: 16.10, Prov: 15.20)|
|Mile (Auto: 4:42.60; Prov: 4:48.40) b|
|Long Jump (Auto: 6.40, Prov: 6.20)|
|60m Finals (Auto: 7.30; Prov: 7.44)|
|12th||Dee Dee Trotter||7.71|
|200m (Auto: 23.50, Prov: 24.00) b|
|8th||Dee Dee Trotter||24.28b|
|3000m (Auto: 9:20.00, Prov: 9:35.00) b|
|4x400mR (Auto: 3:35.80, Prov: 3:40.00) b|
|9th||Dee Dee Trotter/Caitlin Ward/Mindy Sullivan/Brooke Novak|