Dickie paces UT to 3rd in SEC meet

Sharon Dickie placed fifth Monday morning to pace Tennessee to a third-place team finish at the 2002 Women's Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championships at the University of Florida Golf Course. Dickie thus became the first four-time all-league harrier in school history.

Dickie, a senior from Grand Blanc, Mich., finished in 21:42.64 on the 6000-meter course to cross the line first among UT runners for the 17th-consecutive race, dating back to Nov. 23, 1998. She was joined in the All-SEC club by sophomore Brooke Novak (Kaukauna, Wis.), who took eighth in 21:54.94 to garner league honors for the second-straight season. Their efforts on a humid but otherwise beautiful day enabled the Big Orange to post its second-consecutive top-three finish with 86 points. It was also the school's eighth top-three finish all-time.

Arkansas won the event for the 10th time since joining the league in 1991. The Lady Razorbacks packed their first five runners into the top 13 to tally 39 points and win their fifth-straight trophy. Arkansas standout Christin Wurth, the 2001 runner-up, grabbed the individual title in 21:04.87, finishing three seconds ahead of second-place teammate Londa Bevins (21:07.99).

Kentucky, fueled by a fourth-place result from Caitlin Phillips, logged a strong performance to finish just ahead of Tennessee with 78 points. Behind UT came Auburn (117), Mississippi State (140), Florida (152), Georgia (188), Vanderbilt (210), LSU (229), Alabama (291), South Carolina (305) and Ole Miss (331).

''We went in thinking we had a shot to win, but we realized it would take a fantastic race to pull it off,'' UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. ''Arkansas executed its plan very well, and Kentucky deserves credit for its effort. Overall, we were competitive and were close to making it a very good race, but it just wasn't our day.

''To have it not be our day and still finish third in this conference is a positive. I looked out there and saw three freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors and a senior running and am reminded of how bright our future looks. I think all of us are anxious to come back and see what we can do at the regional meet.''

The Lady Vols also got a season-best effort from freshman Megan Cauble. The Knoxville native, who scored twice previously for her squad in the number four slot, came up big with a third-place run of 22:28.57 to take 20th. Also scoring for Tennessee were junior Jessica Southers (Ashland, Ky.) in 27th at 22:51.30 and junior Erin Anderson (Kent, Ohio) in 29th at 22:56.21.

Freshman Felicia Guliford (Gallup, N.M.), UT's number-two finisher in the past three outings, came in 30th in 22:57.79 to finish just outside of the team's top five. Fellow freshman Mindy Sullivan (Lubbock, Texas) was 48th in 23:51.54, while sophomore Elizabeth McCalley (Knoxville) was unable to finish after re-injuring an ankle she had sprained in a previous meet.

''I am very proud of Sharon and what she's accomplished,'' Clark said. ''She is so consistent and dependable. I also tip my hat to Brooke Novak. She had a slow start this season, but now she is running with a lot of confidence, and I think she is starting to realize she is a talented cross country runner.

''Megan Cauble is one of our outstanding freshmen, and she really came through today. She has a bright future ahead of her.''

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