April 12, 2003
The University of Tennessee women's distance medley relay team set a Tom Black Track collegiate record Saturday afternoon as the Lady Volunteers seized their first meet victory ever in that event on the final day of the 2003 Sea Ray Relays.
Beneath clear blue skies and with a warm April sun beating down on the UT oval, the Lady Vol quartet of sophomore Nicole Cook (Petersburg, Va.), sophomore Dee Dee Trotter (Decatur, Ga.), redshirt freshman Brooke Novak (Kaukauna, Wis.) and senior Sharon Dickie (Grand Blanc, Mich.) covered the distance in a victorious 11:19.19. That time supplanted the previous TBT collegiate mark of 11:23.97, which was set by Eastern Kentucky on April 11, 1998.
The Big Orange foursome became the first Tennessee relay to win an event at the meet since 1999, and it was UT's first triumph at Sea Rays since Kelli White claimed the 100m dash title in 2000. Additionally, the mark ranks as the seventh-fastest ever run by an outdoor contingent from Rocky Top.
Cook, the 2003 NCAA indoor runner-up in the 800 meters, got the host school off to a good start with a 3:27 1200-meter leg
and staked Tennessee to a 10 to 15-meter lead. Trotter took the baton next and rolled to a 53-second split in the quarter to push
the margin out a little further.
Running third, Novak extended UT's lead to about 75 meters with an 800m leg that was in the impressive neighborhood of 2:09. All Dickie had to do was run a consistent and easy 1500m, which she did in what appeared to be effortless fashion in preventing the next closest team from gaining any ground. Penn State would wind up second in 11:33.01, followed by Georgetown at 11:34.03.
Other Lady Vol finishes on day four included the 4x400m relay combination of sophomore Antoinette Gorham (Glenarden, Md.), Cook, junior Christina Billings (Madison, Wis.) and junior Erin Anderson (Kent, Ohio), which was 20th in 3:53.81; and junior Janine Tessarzik (Altamont, N.Y.), who was 21st in the shot put at 43-11.25/13.39m.
UT also had entries in the 4x100m and 4x200m relays, but both were disqualified due to exchange zone violations.
Selected members of the UT squad will travel to Walnut, Calif., next weekend for the Mt. SAC Relays. The large meet in the Los Angeles suburb runs from April 17 through April 19.