Oct. 8, 2002
University of Tennessee cross country standout Sharon Dickie has been chosen as the first edsouth/Lady Vol Athlete of the Month for the 2002-03 campaign. The senior from Grand Blanc, Mich., earned the distinction based upon her impressive performance during September.
Dickie, a three-time All-SEC and NCAA All-South Region selection during her illustrious career at UT, began her final season with the promise of repeating those honors and possibly matching her All-America status of 2000. In two races, she has captured the individual championship each time and led the Big Orange to the team title on both occasions. Following those victories at the Tennessee Invitational and adidas Wolfpack Classic, she was voted as the Lady Vol Athlete of the Week on Sept. 17 and Sept. 24. Additionally, she garnered Southeastern Conference Female Cross Country Athlete of the Week accolades on Sept. 24 as well.
Dickie claimed the individual title and led the Big Orange harriers to victory at the Tennessee Invitational to open the season on Sept. 14. 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 headlined 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.
On Sept. 21, Dickie rolled to top honors for the second time in as many meets this season and spearheaded another Big Orange team victory, as Tennessee prevailed at the adidas Wolfpack Classic in Raleigh, N.C.
Paced by Dickie's triumph at the hilly, 5300-meter University Club course, 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's effort of 19:07 helped UT stave off second-place North Carolina State, which was ranked sixth in the nation that week, 23 to 46. The Big Orange also defeated five other squads to improve its record to 13-0 on the 2002 campaign.
With her body of work at the adidas Wolfpack Classic, Dickie finished as the squad's top scorer for the 14th time in her last 14 starts. The senior will put that streak on the line Saturday, as she and her teammates battle No. 8 Providence, No. 21 Villanova, No. 22 William & Mary and No. 25 host Penn State, among others, in the PSU National Invitational in University Park, Pa. Meet time is 10 a.m. for the Lady Vols' first 6000-meter race of the season.