Nov. 21, 2005
Cullowhee, N.C. -
Western Carolina cross country and track & field coach, Danny Williamson, today announced the signing of two for the 2006-07 season. Sara Dickson (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) and Morgan Peterson (Burnsville, N.C./Mountain Heritage HS) have signed National Letters of Intent with Western.
Dickson, a current senior at Port Charlotte High in Port Charlotte, Fla., has managed to shave time off her 5-K cross country times each of her first three seasons as a prep. In 2002 as a freshman, she recorded her top time of 20:13, but had her season ended early due to injury. Back into rotation as a sophomore, Dickson improved by 20 seconds on her 5-K, top-time running a seasonal-best 19:43 her second year. She also was a state qualifier, finishing 46th. Last year, she again trimmed time off her best overall mark, navigating the 5-K course in a career-best 19:17 in cross country, recording a road race record of 18:54. She again was a state qualifier, finishing 13th as a junior.
In track & field, Dickson has experience running the 400-meter (1:08 top-time), 800-meter (2:30 top-time), the 1,600-meter (5:14 top-time), and the 3,200-meter run (11:26 top-time). Like in cross country, she has managed to whittle time off her all-time best each year she runs in high school, which is a great sign entering her senior season this year. Dickson has been a state qualifier in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, finishing a career-best sixth in 1,600 and fifth in the 3,200 events last year.
Academically, Dickson ranks among the top 10 percent of her high school class and boasts a grade point average of 3.896.
"We are delighted that Sara has chosen Western Carolina University," said Williamson. "She chose to come to Cullowhee over some other great programs in both cross country and track. Her statistics speak for themselves and she is the caliber of athlete that has a chance to make an immediate impact both at Western and in the Southern Conference. Not only is she a great athlete and an outstanding student, Sara is an even better person overall."
Port Charlotte head cross country and track & field coach, Bethany Heslam, had nothing but high remarks for her rising-senior team member.
"Sara is the most competitive, hardest working student-athletes I have had in 13 years. Watching her run, she has a bouncing stride that makes her races seem effortless," Heslam commented. "I believe Sara is just beginning to realize her potential and she has yet to tap into her abilities. There are very few female athletes who are as competitive and hard-working as Sara Dickson."
Peterson, a Western North Carolina product from Burnsville, N.C., is a three-time, All-Highlands Conference selection in track & field. She was named the 2004 Highlands Conference Most Valuable Runner en route to claiming the `04 North Carolina state championship in the 300-meter hurdles as a sophomore. Last season, after sustaining a knee injury, Peterson earned the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) Courage Award while battling back to earn all-state honors.
Academically, Peterson ranks in the top 10-percent of class at Mountain Heritage, with a GPA over 3.5.
"It is always great to have a talented athlete from Western North Carolina sign here at Western Carolina to display their talents locally," Williamson said. "Morgan is one of the best in this area and from the state as a whole. She displayed a lot of courage to battle back from the injury her junior year after winning the state championship a year earlier. Morgan is another outstanding person that will bring a wealth of talent to our program."