Sharon Dickie took home fifth at this year's SEC Championships.
Nov. 4, 2002
University of Tennessee senior Sharon Dickie placed fifth to pace the Lady Volunteers to a third-place team finish at the 2002 Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championships at the University of Florida Golf Course on Monday morning. With that effort, Dickie became the first four-time all-league harrier in school history. Dickie, from Grand Blanc, Mich., finished in 21:42.64 on the 6000-meter course to cross the line first among UT runners for the 17th-consecutive race, dating back to Nov. 23, 1998. She was joined in the All-SEC club by sophomore Brooke Novak (Kaukauna, Wis.), who took eighth in 21:54.94 to garner league honors for the second-straight season. Their efforts on a humid but otherwise beautiful day enabled the Big Orange to post its second-consecutive top-three finish with 86 points. It was also the school's eighth top-three finish all-time.
Unfortunately, the Lady Vols were not able to prevent Arkansas from claiming victory for the 10th time since joining the league in 1991. The Lady Razorbacks packed their first five runners into the top 13 to tally 39 points and win their fifth-straight trophy. UA's Christin Wurth, the 2001 runner-up, grabbed the individual title in 21:04.87, finishing three seconds ahead of second-place teammate Londa Bevins (21:07.99).
Kentucky, fueled by a fourth-place result from Caitlin Phillips, logged a strong performance to finish just ahead of Tennessee with 78 points. Behind UT came Auburn (117), Mississippi State (140), Florida (152), Georgia (188), Vanderbilt (210), LSU (229), Alabama (291), South Carolina (305) and Ole Miss (331).
"We went in thinking we had a shot to win, but we realized it would take a fantastic race to pull it off," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark
said. "Arkansas executed its plan very well, and Kentucky deserves credit for its effort. Overall, we were competitive and were close
to making it a very good race, but it just wasn't our day.
??oeTo have it not be our day and still finish third in this conference is a positive. I looked out there and saw three freshmen, two
sophomores, two juniors and a senior running and am reminded of how bright our future looks. I think all of us are anxious to come back
and see what we can do at the regional meet."
The Lady Vols also got a season-best effort from freshman Megan Cauble. The Knoxville, Tenn., native, who scored twice previously for her squad in the number four slot, came up big with a third-place run of 22:28.57 to take 20th. Also scoring for Tennessee were junior Jessica Southers (Ashland, Ky.) in 27th at 22:51.30 and junior Erin Anderson (Kent, Ohio) in 29th at 22:56.21.
Freshman Felicia Guliford (Gallup, N.M.), UT's number-two finisher in the past three outings, came in 30th in 22:57.79 to finish just outside of the team's top five. Fellow freshman Mindy Sullivan (Lubbock, Texas) was 48th in 23:51.54, while sophomore Elizabeth McCalley (Knoxville, Tenn.) was unable to finish after re-injuring an ankle she had sprained in a previous meet.
"I am very proud of Sharon and what she's accomplished," Clark said. "She is so consistent and dependable. I also tip my hat to Brooke Novak. She had a slow start this season, but now she is running with a lot of confidence, and I think she is starting to realize she is a talented cross country runner.
"Megan Cauble is one of our outstanding freshmen, and she really came through today. She has a bright future ahead of her." For Dickie, it was the accomplishment of a goal she set. Her focus, however, was more on helping her team come together and get in a position to earn a trip to the NCAA Championships.
"I really didn't know as a freshman that making All-SEC was a really big deal until the coaches told me," Dickie said. "After that, I made it one of my goals every year. This conference has gotten tougher each season, so it really is an honor to accomplish that four times.
"Today, though, we were hoping to do a little better. We will continue to work on trying to run together as a team, and hopefully we can surprise some people in the coming weeks. To have the regional on our home course is something we look forward to. It's a great course, and we have always run well there with all of the Tennessee fans supporting us."
As Dickie mentioned, Tennessee's attention now turns to Nov. 16, when the Lady Vols and Vols play host to the NCAA South Regional at the Lambert Acres Golf Club in Maryville, Tenn. The women's race will begin at 10 a.m., while the men get underway at 11 a.m. At stake, a trip for the top two team finishers to the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 25.