Aug. 23, 2002
The 2002 Southeastern Conference Preseason Cross Country Poll was released Friday, and the league's coaches have chosen the University of Tennessee women's team to finish second behind nine-time champion Arkansas.
The Lady Volunteers, under the direction of first-year Head Coach J.J. Clark, received two first-place votes and tallied 104 total points to earn the runner-up nod. The Lady Razorbacks, who won their fourth-straight conference crown in 2001 and ninth overall, tallied 10 first-place votes and accumulated 120 points. Auburn (99), Florida (87) and Vanderbilt (83) rounded out the top five.
UT begins the Clark era with 10 returning letterwinners, including 2001 All-SEC selections Sharon Dickie (Sr., Grand Blanc, Mich.), Brooke Novak (So., Kaukauna, Wis.) and Jessica Southers (Jr., Ashland, Ky.). The Big Orange harriers also have the services of Christy Baird (Jr., Knoxville, Tenn.) and Elizabeth McCalley (So., Knoxville, Tenn.), the team's other two scorers at the league meet a year ago.
Additionally, Clark has five more veterans waiting in the wings to step in and four freshmen, including Foot Locker National Championships finalists Felicia Guliford (Gallup, N.M.) and Mindy Sullivan (Lubbock, Texas), to provide competition for the top five spots on the team. It is hoped that combination will help Tennessee make progress toward competing for an SEC title and a berth in the NCAA Championships meet.
Incidentally, Clark is the only coach in the SEC who has been unable to unseat UA as league kingpins. He guided his former school, the University of Florida, to conference trophies in 1996 and 1997, earning league coach of the year honors on both occasions. The agenda in 2002 shows the SEC Championships on Nov. 4 in Gainesville, Fla., where Clark lived the past 11 years. It is also the last place Tennessee claimed a league cross country crown when it did so in 1990.
The UT women open the campaign on Sept. 13, when they join the men's program in hosting the Tennessee Invitational at Lambert Acres Golf Club in Maryville, Tenn. The women's race begins at 5:45 p.m.
|SEC Women's Cross Country Preseason Coaches' Poll|
|Pl.||Team (1st-Place Votes)||Pts.|