March 1, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The most decorated athlete in the history of University of Tennessee women's cross country recently achieved perhaps the greatest feat of her post-collegiate running career. Sharon (Dickie) Thompson, a Lady Vol standout from 1998-2002, has earned a spot on the U.S. squad for the 2006 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, on April 1-2.
Thompson, who resides in Knoxville and still trains with Lady Vol Head Coach J.J. Clark, earned the spot with her sixth-place finish at the recent U.S. Cross Country Championships presented by Gleukos at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City. She logged a time of 27 minutes, 14 seconds on the 8,000-meter course to join Blake Russell (Marina, Calif.), Colleen De Reuck (Boulder, Colo.), Renee Metivier (Boulder, Colo.), Sara Slattery (Lafayette, Colo.) and Katie McGregor (St. Louis, Park, Minn.) on the squad.
During her career with the Big Orange, Dickie, as she was known then, was the first Lady Vol in the team's annals to qualify four times for the NCAA Cross Country Championships and earn both All-SEC and NCAA All-Region acclaim in each of her four campaigns. She charted All-America distinction in 2000 with a 28th-place finish at the NCAA Championships and helped Tennessee win its first-ever NCAA South Regional in 2002 and qualify for the NCAA meet as a team for the first time in four years.
She was a standout on the track as well, earning All-America certificates in 2001 for an eighth-place NCAA Indoor finish and in 2003 for an identical placing at the NCAA Outdoor meet. She capped her career in the spring of 2003 by winning the SEC Outdoor title in the 5000 meters at UT's Tom Black Track and later spent the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons as a graduate assistant on coach Clark's staff.