Sept. 24, 2002
The Southeastern Conference has chosen the University of Tennessee's Sharon Dickie as its Female Cross Country Athlete of the Week, the league announced Tuesday. Dickie was chosen from a list of SEC nominees, based upon her performance over the past weekend.
A senior from Grand Blanc, Mich., Dickie reaped conference acclaim for the second time in her career. The three-year All-SEC choice also earned the distinction on Oct. 17, 2000. She and teammate Brooke Novak, a sophomore from Kaukauna, Wis., are the only two Lady Vols to garner the attention since the league began naming athletes of the week for cross country in 1999. Novak won it the first weekend of her freshman season in 2001.
Dickie built her case for this week's award when she rolled to first-place honors for the second time in as many meets this season and spearheaded the Lady Vols' second team victory in 2002, as Tennessee prevailed at the adidas Wolfpack Classic in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday. Her time of 19:07 on the 5.3 K University Club course was good enough for a 28-second win over teammate Felicia Guliford (Gallup, N.M.).
The effort by Dickie helped UT stave off second-place North Carolina State, which is ranked sixth in the nation this week in the FinishLynx/NCAA Division I Women's Cross Country Poll, 23 to 46. The Big Orange also defeated five other squads to improve its record to 13-0 on the 2002 campaign.
Dating back to Nov. 23, 1998, when Dickie ran as a freshman for Tennessee at the NCAA Championships, she has finished as the squad's top scorer in every race she has participated in since that day. Her streak reached 14 with her showing over the weekend.
Paced by Dickie's triumph in Raleigh, the Lady Volunteers put all five of their scorers in the top nine en route to opening a campaign with back-to-back victories for only the seventh time in school history. On five of six previous occasions, Tennessee has gone on to earn a berth in the national championship meet, including Dickie's rookie year of 1998.
Dickie and company will be idle the next two Saturdays before resuming action at the PSU National Invitational in University Park, Pa., at 10 a.m. on Oct. 12. The meet, hosted by 20th-ranked Penn State, will be the Lady Vols' first 6000-meter race of the season.