NASHVILLE The University of Tennessee women's cross country team opened the 2000 season with a third-place finish at the Tennessee Intercollegiate Championship on Saturday.
The 4000-meter race, featuring teams from Western Kentucky, Belmont, Evansville, Tennessee, Tennessee State, Carson-Newman and David Lipscomb, was held at Vaughn's Creek in Percy Warner Park.
The Lady Vols were paced by sophomore Sharon Dickie (Grand Blanc, Mich.) in third place overall with a time of 14:29. The race marked Dickie's return to the course after a year-long absence due to a hip injury. Sophomore Christy Baird (Knoxville) finished fifth with a pace of 15:12 while freshman Jess Southers (Ashland, Ky.) followed close behind with a time of 15:14 in sixth place. The sixth-place finish was Southers' UT debut.
Rounding out the contingent from Tennessee, sophomore Rebecca Colins (Loveland, Ohio) finished 18th with a time of 16:33 while Amber Ayub finished 23rd with a 17:03 clip.
In the overall race, Western Kentucky won the title with a team score of 27 points while Belmont finished second with 52 points. Belmont also won the Tennessee state crown followed by UT in second.
I was pleased with the way we followed our race plan, first-year head coach Rodney Rothoff said. I am also pleased with the way we competed in our first events for both the athletes and myself as a coach. It was good to have three in the top ten and I am looking forward to having everyone healthy later this season. It was also very nice to see Sharon Dickie back in action and wearing a uniform after a year in absence.
The Lady Vols will continue with the 2000 campaign by playing host to the UT Invitational on Friday, Sept. 15, at Lambert Acres in Maryville.