Oct. 5, 2004
Brooke Novak's UT course-record effort on Friday evening at the Tennessee Invitational, in which she logged the fastest 5K race by a Southeastern Conference woman this season, was good enough to earn the senior the SEC Female Cross Country Athlete of the Week honor on Tuesday.
A native of Kaukauna, Wis., Novak rolled to a time of 17:16.96 to easily break her year-old Lambert Acres 5K mark (17:39.20) and notch a career-best performance in her second race of the current campaign. That clocking was good enough to also earn Novak her first individual victory this season and the initial triumph since she won her collegiate debut back on Aug. 31, 2001, at the Mountaineer Open in Boone, N.C.
The three-time All-SEC performer's heroics paced 10th-ranked Tennessee to its third-consecutive win in 2004, marking only the third time in school history that a Big Orange cross country unit has reeled off three straight to open a season. She also served as Team Orange's first finisher for the second straight week and for the sixth time in her past six outings.
Novak, who has now earned SEC cross country distinction three times in her career, will continue training with her teammates as they prepare for the Pre-NCAA Meet in Terre Haute, Ind., at 11 a.m. on Oct. 16. That 6K affair will be a gathering of the nation's elite teams, as they travel to the Wabash Valley Sports Center to run on the course that will host the 2004 NCAA Championship meet in November.