April 17, 2003

WALNUT, Calif.

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University of Tennessee senior Sharon Dickie charted a lifetime best and qualified for the NCAA Mideast Regional with a third-place finish Thursday night at Hilmer Lodge Stadium in the Invitational/Open 5000 meters at the 45th-annual Mt. SAC Relays.

Dickie, from Grand Blanc, Mich., rolled to a 16:21.12 clocking to easily meet the regional standard of 17:00.00 and earn a ticket to the first-year Mideast meet in Columbus, Ohio, on May 30-31. She finished behind only Sara Bei of Stanford (16:03.08) and Kristen Ogden of BYU (16:19.86) and crossed the line ahead of such notables as U.S. distance standout Mary-Jane Harrelson.

Dickie blew away her previous outdoor best of 17:00.29 in the 5000m, which she set at last year's Penn Relays, and bested her indoor PR of 16:28.19, which she recorded in an eighth-place finish at the 2001 NCAA Indoor Championships. The pace ranks as the 12th-fastest ever by a Lady Vol and puts Dickie fifth on the all-time performers list.

In terms of how the time compares to those in the Southeastern Conference, Dickie's effort ranks as the best this season by anyone in the league. Londa Bevins of Arkansas previously held that status with her 16:30.16 result on March 28 at the Stanford Invitational.

"Sharon ran a solid race tonight and looked about as strong as I've ever seen her look," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "It was her first time under 17 (minutes) outdoors and her fastest 5K time ever. To qualify for the regional meet in her first 5000 of the season is a nice start for her."



Dickie's best-ever effort is a testament to her maturity and confidence. She started the race a bit off rhythm and dropped to near the back of the 32-runner field. She didn't panic, however, gradually working her way back through the field and taking the lead after the first mile for about three laps. Only Bei and Ogden were able to top her on a cool and very breezy night in the Los Angeles suburb.

On Friday, redshirt freshman Brooke Novak will take her second crack this season at the 1500 meters, doing so in the University/Open Division at 8:20 p.m. PT. The Kaukauna, Wis., product charted a 4:35.71 reading at the SEC Challenge on April 5 in her only previous attempt this season. A time of 4:31.00 or below is needed to meet the NCAA regional standard.

Sophomore Dee Dee Trotter opens Saturday's Lady Vol itinerary with a spot in the University/Open Division of the 200 meters at 1:45 p.m. Trotter, who is qualified for the Mideast Regional Meet in the 100, 200 and 400 meters, will attempt to better her school ranking in the half-lapper. The native of Decatur, Ga., rates 10th in the 200m on the UT all-time performers lists.

Nicole Cook, the NCAA Indoor runner-up in the 800 meters, will make her outdoor half-mile debut at 2:50 p.m. PT on Saturday in the Invitational Division. The sophomore from Petersburg (Va.) High School will face NCAA veterans Marian Burnett, formerly a national champion at LSU; Brigitta Langerholc, formerly a national champion at Southern California, Neisha Bernard-Thomas of LSU, Aimee Teteris of Rice and UCLA's Lena Nilsson, who edged Cook by 7/100ths of a second for the NCAA Indoor title in Fayetteville, Ark., back on March 15. Cook needs only a reading of 2:10.30 to earn a trip to regionals.

UT's California quartet and the rest of their teammates will be back in action next weekend as the Lady Vols travel to the Penn Relays on April 24-26 and join the Tennessee men in hosting the Knoxville Invitational on April 27 at Tom Black Track.

U/O 5000m Run (17:00.00)7:45 p.m. ET
3rdSharon Dickie16:21.12!#
U/O 1500m Run (4:31)11:20 p.m. ET
Brooke Novak
U/O 200m Dash (24.00)4:45 p.m. ET
Dee Dee Trotter
Inv. 800m Run (2:10.30)5:50 p.m. ET
Nicole Cook


1 - SC Standard For 10-Foot Pit
2 - SC Standard For 12-Foot Pit
b - Banked Track Qualifying Standard
DNF - Did Not Finish
DNQ - Did Not Qualify
DNR - Did Not Run
DNS - Did Not Start
f - Facility Record
h - Hand Times
NH - No Height
NM - No Mark
p - Prelims
sr - School Record (Indoors)
u - Undersized Track Qualifying Standard
# - NCAA Regional Qualifier
* - NCAA Automatic Qualifier
+ - NCAA Provisional Qualifier
! - Personal Record (Indoors)
^ - Oversized Track Qualifying Standard



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