UA runner wins NCAA title

By Joel Flom
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 26, 1996

The NCAA Championships were being held on her home turf. She was undefeated all season long and was a heavy favorite to win it all.

All that was left for sophomore Amy Skieresz to do was to walk away from Dell Urich Golf Course with the individual title trophy.

She did just that yesterday, and the only shock may be by how much she distanced herself from the rest of the nation's best runners.

"I was kind of scared at the end of the race," said Skieresz, who won the race by 16 seconds. "I did not know where anyone was. I was not sure if anyone was gaining on me. I did not think that it would be the kind of race it was. I thought that it would be a lot closer."

Following a game plan she set up with help from University of Arizona head coach Dave Murray, Skieresz cruised to a first-place finish and became the first UA woman to win a national title in cross country. She finished in 17 minutes, 4 seconds in the 5,000-meter event, ahead of Providence University's Marie McMahon, who ran it in 17:20. Joanna Deeter, a freshman from Notre Dame, claimed third place with fashion. She became the second woman ever to repeat as the Pacific 10 Conference champion and won her second straight District VIII title after finishing 47 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.

Her dominance of the rest of the competition also contributed in the UA women's sixth-place finish overall, with 214 points. Stanford took home the women's team title 101 points, and Villanova claimed second with 106. Brigham Young rounded out the top three with 136 points.

Following Skieresz on the women's team was junior Virginia Camacho, who was 53rd with a time of 18:38, freshman Kristen Parrish, 60th, 18:42; sophomore Emily Nay, 70th, 18:50; senior Susan Scott, 108th, 19:17; junior Tone Bratteng, 150th, 20:00; and junior Kelly Chavez, 165th, 20:38.

For the men, Godfrey Siamusiye of Arkansas became the first man since 1977-78 to repeat as the NCAA national champion. His time of 29:49 on the 10,000-meter course helped him beat Jonah Kipatarus of Nebraska, who ran a 30:20, and Kipatarus' teammate, Cleophas Boor, who ran in a time of 30:24.

Stanford's men also took home the team title, with a score of 46, and placed five men in the top 20. Arkansas was second with 74 points. Another Pac-10 team, Oregon, claimed third with 140 points.

"They had tremendous confidence," Stanford head coach Vin Lananna said. "It took a tremendous amount of foresight to see both teams on the podium. Our goal was not necessarily to win both races. We discussed our chances of winning it, and decided that the only way was to stick our noses in it."

The Arizona men's team was represented by senior Jon Pillow, who earned an at-large berth after placing 17th at the District VIII championships. Pillow, a former walk-on and the No. 2 runner for the men this season, finished 97th with a time of 32:53.