Sept. 18, 2002
University of Tennessee runner Sharon Dickie is the first cross country Lady Vol Athlete of the Week for the 2002-03 school year. The senior captain from Grand Blanc, Mich., was chosen in a vote by the UT Women's Athletics Media Relations staff on Wednesday.
Dickie, who claimed the individual title and led the Big Orange harriers to victory at the Tennessee Invitational last Friday, locked up the departmental honor against a talented field of nominees. Also considered for their impressive performances were golf's Violeta Retamoza (Aquascalientes, Mexico), soccer's Rhian Wilkinson (Baie d'Urfe, Quebec) and volleyball's Michelle Piantadosi (Boca Raton, Fla.).
In earning her victory on Tennessee's home course at Lambert Acres Golf Club in Maryville, Tenn., Dickie extended her personal streak of being the squad's top finisher to 13 consecutive meets. That string dates back to Nov. 23, 1998, when Dickie was the first orange-clad competitor to cross the line at the NCAA Championships.
Finishing with a reading of 17:56.60, Dickie recorded the fourth-fastest clocking ever by a Lady Vol on the 5000-meter Lambert Acres course. She also won the meet for the second-straight time, having to wait since 2000 to defend her crown after last year's event was cancelled due to the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
After enduring a career that has been plagued by nagging injuries, Dickie looked strong in the first race of her final campaign at Tennessee. Her effort spearheaded a strong team showing, which resulted in UT's five scorers all finishing within the top 12 and the Lady Vols comfortably defeating second-place Vanderbilt, 31-60. The victory also came over six other opponents, including two that defeated the Big Orange at last year's NCAA South Regional.
Dickie and company were rewarded Wednesday, when Tennessee received votes (3) in the first FinishLynx/NCAA Division I Women's Cross Country Poll of the regular season. The Lady Vols, who were picked to finish second in the Southeastern Conference this season by the league's coaches, travel to Raleigh, N.C., to compete in the Wolfpack Invitational on Saturday at 9:10 a.m.