Jan. 31, 2003
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.
University of Tennessee senior Sharon Dickie posted an NCAA provisional qualifying mark and placed first among collegians in the 5000 meters, and Christie Elwin and Toyin Olupona added runner-up finishes Friday, to lead the Lady Vol track & field team on the first night of the Penn State National Meet.
Dickie, from Grand Blanc, Mich., crossed the line in a time of 16:42.11 to edge third-place Sheila Klick of LaSalle. Only unattached competitor Karin Gould was faster, covering the distance at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track in 16:38.44. Taking part in her first 5K of the indoor campaign, Dickie got off to a strong start and maintained the lead through the first 3000 meters. By lap 13, it had become a four-person race with Dickie leading Gould and two others. Dickie continued to set the pace through 20 full trips around the 200-meter oval when Gould reached for another gear with four and a half laps remaining.
The Tennessee runner did not keep pace with Gould's burst and fell back a bit as she maintained her preset race plan. Dickie kicked
strong on the final lap, however, and closed the gap to finish in 16:42.11 behind Gould's 16:38.44. For the Lady Vol standout, the
mark met the NCAA provisional of 16:45 and represented the sixth-fastest ever run by a UT woman, including a pair of 16:28+
performances by Dickie in her All-America season of 2001.
"We had another good day," Tennessee Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "Sharon Dickie put up her first NCAA qualifying mark in a year and a half with a nice effort in the 5000 meters. She ran out front for nearly the entire race and looked sharp tonight. It's good to see her getting back to where she was in 2001."
In the pole vault, Elwin was not the victor for the first time in four meets this season. The senior from Adelaide, Australia, did finish second, however, clearing 12-6/3.81m to place behind Akron's Kira Sims, who nailed an NCAA provisional at 13-5/4.09m. Recording personal bests for the second-straight weekend were sophomore Jessica Andrews (Knoxville, Tenn.) in eighth at 11-6.25/3.51m and sophomore Lauren McNeil (Easton, Pa.) in 10th at 11-5.75/3.50m. Sophomore Kendra Rhyne (Andersonville, Tenn.) was 16th at 11-0.25/3.36m and freshman Jessica Reust (Knoxville, Tenn.) tied for 30th at 10-0/3.05m.
In the 60m dash, Olupona (Orillia, Canada) booked a 7.50 in the prelims, and the sophomore cranked out a 7.44 in the finals to place second behind Penn State's Consuella Moore (7.36). Sophomore Dee Dee Trotter (Decatur, Ga.) charted a 7.72 reading in the trials to finish fourth in her heat but did not advance to the finals.
Junior Janine Tessarik (Altamont, N.Y.) continued to demonstrate marked improvement in the weight throw, registering a fifth-place effort of 56-9.25/17.30m. That heave was a personal best and the second longest toss by a Lady Vol behind Diane Slinden's 2002 school record of 58-8.75.
"Toyin displayed more consistency in the 60m dash and was again right at the time she hit last week at Kentucky," Clark said. "We also got a great effort from the pole vaulters, who had good attempts from Christie Elwin at 13 feet and personal bests from Andrews and McNeil, as well as Janine in the weight throw."
Also competing on the first night of the meet was freshman Caitlin Ward (Gibsonia, Pa.), who posted a personal best of 9.80 in the 60m hurdle prelims but did not advance and was unable to land a measurable mark in the long jump.
The Lady Vols are back in action on Saturday with athletes in eight events. Highlighting the UT entries should be sophomore Nicole Cook (Petersburg, Va.) in the 800 meters, sophomore Antoinette Gorham (Glenarden, Md.) in the 400m, redshirt freshman Brooke Novak (Kaukauna, Wis.) in the mile and sophomores Olupona and Trotter in the 200 meters. The Big Orange will also attempt to line up a top flight 4x400m relay, which most likely will include Cook, Gorham, Trotter and junior Christina Billings (Madison, Wis.).