Nov. 24, 1997

Tollefson Wins NCAA Individual Title

GREENVILLE, S.C. ---- Villanova's Carrie Tollefson (Jr., Dawson, Minn.) carved her own niche in Wildcat track and field history on Monday, Nov. 24, 1997, by capturing the 1997 individual national championship in cross country at Furman University in Greenville, S.C.

Tollefson is the fifth woman in Wildcat history to win the individual crown, joining former standouts Vicki Huber (1989), Sonia O'Sullivan (1990, 1991), Carole Zajac (1992, 1993) and Jennifer Rhines (1994, 1995) in accomplishing the feat.

Tollefson covered the 5000-meter course in a blistering 16:29, 10 seconds faster than runner-up Amy Skieresz from Arizona. Tollefson's performance was her fastest in cross country all season, and set a new course record, shattering the previous mark of 16:33 set in 1982 by Leslie Welch of Virginia.

"I was just focusing on myself," Tollefson said. "I just couldn't believe it. My Dad always said to have fun out there, and that's what I was doing. I seized the moment. I pumped my fists in the air. That was my glory.

"I never thought I had her (Skieresz) coming back at me. I just tried to close the gap with her, and I guess that is what I did. I never had her where I wanted her, which was behind me. I hoped to outkick her and just hold on."

Villanova had one additional competitor in the NCAA race that featured 180 runners and 22 teams. Carmen Douma (So., Cambridge, Ontario) placed sixth overall to earn All-America honors, finishing in 16:50 and making a tremendous leap from her 44th-place finish a season ago.

This season, Tollefson won five individual titles in addition to the NCAA championship, capturing the Iona Meet of Champions crown, the Penn State Invitational title, the Big East individual championship, and the MidAtlantic Regional title. She only ran in six meets all season, and finished second at the NCAA Pre-Meet held at Furman on Oct. 11.

BYU captured the team NCAA title, narrowly defeating Stanford by only two points. Colorado, Dartmouth, and Wisconsin rounded out the top five. Villanova did not enter a squad in the NCAA team competition, as illness and injury decimated the John Marshall's Wildcats this season.

1997 NCAA CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Furman University, Nov. 24, 1997
5000 meters

Team Results
1.  BYU             100
2.  Stanford        102
3.  Colorado        178
4.  Dartmouth       205
5.  Wisconsin       227
6.  Providence      230
7.  Michigan        232
8.  Oregon          234
9.  Boston College  240
10. Georgetown      256
11. N.C. State      262
12. Colorado State  279
13. Arkansas        311
14. Washington      341
15. Missouri        382
16. Florida         386
17. Wake Forest     393
18. Baylor          411
19. Nebraska        457
20. West Virginia   485
21. Minnesota       493
22. Georgia         518
Individual Results
(Top 10 Finishers)
1.  Carrie Tollefson (VU)           16:29
2.  Amy Skieresz (Arizona)          16:39
3.  Angie Graham (Bost. College)    16:47
4.  Julia Stamps (Stanford)         16:47
5.  Katie McGregor (Michigan)       16:48
6.  Carmen Douma (VU)               16:50
7.  Amy Yoder (Arkansas)            16:56
8.  Courtney Pugmire (BYU)          16:58
9.  Marie Davis (Oregon)            16:59
10. Amy Swier (N. Arizona)          16:59