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Skieresz Wins 5,000 Meters at Drake

April 25, 1998

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ NCAA champion Amy Skieresz had more trouble with the wind than her opponents Saturday in winning the 5,000 meters at the blustery Drake Relays.

That same wind also slowed Washington speedster Ja’Warren Hooker, though not enough to keep the Husky freshman from winning the 100. Also Saturday, late entering SMU ended Arizona’s three-year hold on the title in the university distance medley relay.

Skieresz, an Arizona junior who has won five NCAA distance titles, lapped eight runners and beat second-place Mary Knisley by 25 1/2 seconds in posting a time of 16:11.61.

But a wind that gusted up to 25 mph and blew straight into her face on the home stretch of every lap meant that Skieresz had to work, despite the ease of her victory.

``The wind made it tough,″ she said. ``I went out a little faster than I wanted to, but it was OK. I had fun and I qualified for the NCAA (meet) and that was my main goal.″

Skieresz, the defending NCAA champion in the 5,000 and 10,000, did have the luxury of the wind at her back on the backstretch. But she also knew what was just around the curve.

``Every time I’d say, it’s not going to bother me. I’ll be fine,″ Skieresz said. ``Then I’d come around that turn and there it was.″

Hooker, who also plays football at Washington, burst into the lead at the start and held off fast-closing Quinn Harris of Iowa State to win the 100 in 10.41. Harris ran 10.62 and Ronald Promesse of Texas-El Paso was third in 10.69.

For Hooker, who skipped Washington’s spring football game to run this weekend, facing the wind was nothing new.

``Actually, I’ve been doing it all year,″ he said. ``I haven’t had a race where there has been no wind. So I’m kind of used to it.″

Still, it was a factor, he said.

``I was hoping for a lot better time,″ Hooker said. ``But I’m happy for the win.″

South African Clyde Colenso passed Arizona’s Abdi Abdirahman with 200 meters to go to give SMU the victory in the distance medley. Colenso covered the final 1,600 in 3:59.8 to make up a 50-yard deficit and won by 50 yards as the Mustangs finished in 9:41.98.

``I thought he would make his move at 250, but he wasn’t really doing anything,″ Colenso said. ``I sort of kicked around 200 and when I looked back, he was gone.″

Roman Oravec ran the opening 1,200 leg for SMU, which set the meet record of 9:30.45 in the sprint medley in 1983 but had not won the event since then. Alvis Hall ran the 400 and Bernard Maitai did the 800.

That group had never run together before and didn’t decide to do the race until Thursday night.

``Our coach didn’t want us to come,″ Colenso sad. ``I convinced him we could win at Drake, so he let us.″

Arizona, which won the 6,400 relay on Friday, was second in the distance medley at 9:47.43 and Missouri took third in 9:50.36.

The Iowa team of Dion Trowers, Tony Branch, Chris Davis and Bashir Yamini upset Baylor to win the university 400 relay in 40.24. Baylor, which had the fastest qualifying time, was second in 40.39.

Notre Dame’s Errol Williams won the 110 hurdles in 13.77 _ the first Irish runner to win that event at Drake since 1950.

Nebraska’s Cleophas Boor, a cross country All-American, won the men’s 5,000 in 14:15.70. Two-time Olympian Steve Plascenia, the cross country coach at Minnesota finished 10 yards behind in 14:18.30.

Paula Ruen anchored Iowa to a victory in the women’s shuttle hurdle relay in 56.54, then returned to the track 39 minutes later to win the 100 hurdles in 13.96. Teammate Colleen Prendergast, who also ran on the shuttle hurdle team, finished second _ just one-hundredth of a second back.

That completed a sweep of the women’s hurdles for the Hawkeyes. Iowa’s Wynsome Cole won the 400 hurdles on Friday.

Eastern Michigan’s Jenell Ali won the women’s 100 in 11.69, Georgia won the women’s 400 relay in 44.96 and Sarah Hamilton held off Iowa State’s Erin Bresnan to give Michigan a victory in the women’s 3,200 relay.

Bresnan made up 25 yards on Hamilton in the last lap and caught her at the final turn. But he didn’t have enough left and Hamilton pulled away. Michigan finished in 8:44.05, Iowa State in 8:45.35.

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