The University of Tennessee women's cross country contingent will compete at the NCAA South Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday. The race will be hosted by the University of Alabama, at Henry Prichett Golf Course.
Tennessee's squad is no stranger to the course at Alabama, as the Lady Vols will compete there for the second time in less than two weeks. The Tide also hosted the SEC Championships at the same 6K course on Oct. 30. Tennessee finished eighth out of 12 teams with sophomore Sharon Dickie taking third place overall.
Dickie, following her finish at the SEC meet, is one of the favorites to win the regional race. She finished behind a pair of runners from Arkansas at the SECs, but Arkansas does not compete in the South Regional. Dickie has already earned All-Region honors once in her career after a 12th-place showing in 1998. She did not compete at last year's meet due to injury and redshirted the 1999 season.
In addition to Dickie, the Lady Vols are also looking for strong performances from freshmen Jessica Southers and Erin Anderson. Southers, a candidate for SEC Freshman of the Year honors, finished 17th at the SEC race and has been UT's number-two runner all year. Anderson has come on strong at the end of the 2000 campaign and had a solid effort at the conference championships with a 34th-place finish.
We are looking forward to the opportunity to compete at the same course that we ran at for the conference meet, cross country coach Rodney Rothoff said. I think this is an advantage for our team. Obviously, Sharon Dickie will have the opportunity to qualify for nationals if she repeats what she has been doing all year. We are hoping to cap the season off with the same improvement we have shown over the rest of the campaign.
At the NCAA Regional, the top two teams advance to the NCAA Championships while the top four individuals not affiliated with advancing teams will also be invited to compete at the championships in Ames, Iowa, on Nov. 20. There are also at-large team and individual selections from across the nine regions. The top 25 runners at the regional meet earn All-Region distinction.