He was referring to Arizona junior Amy Skieresz, the prohibitive favorite for the women's individual title. As a sophomore Skieresz had won an unprecedented distance quadruple: the NCAA cross-country, the indoor 5,000 and outdoor 5,000, and the 10,000 title. At two miles into the 5,000 meter race she looked strong, pulling away to a 30-yard lead. But in the same hilly field where Riley and Lunn had made their move, Villanova's Carrie Tollefson learned from screaming onlookers that Skieresz was only five seconds ahead of her. With a bold dash on the lone steep hill, some 600 yards from the finish, Tollefson sailed by Skieresz, winning by 10 seconds in a course-record 16:29. Tollefson, who plays the trumpet, violin and piano and sings in a church choir, is the seventh Villanova women's winner in nine years.
Behind her the team race was between Stanford and Brigham Young. At the Stanford Invitational in late September, the Cardinal had taken the first three places against the No. 2-ranked Cougars. "I think we might have the most talented women's team ever," said Lananna the night before the meet. BYU's chances of toppling the Cardinal seemed slim.
Indeed, Stanford's talented freshman Julia Stamps finished fourth, and she and her next three teammates outscored their BYU counterparts 51-67. A strong fifth runner is a cross-country coach's ultimate blessing, and Lananna, who was tallying the score feverishly in blue ink on the palm of his hand, knew things looked grim as he stood at the finish, searching for the fifth Cardinal to score.
BYU coach Patrick Shane had promised his runners that if they won, they could shave off his impressive mustache, the only facial hair allowed by BYU's campus grooming code. When word finally came that BYU had beaten Stanford 100-102, thanks to BYU's fifth scorer, Emily Nay, who finished 46th, 18 points ahead of her Stanford counterpart, the Cougar women gathered around Shane. "Don't hurt him!" one implored.
First they tried a ladies' electric razor, but it made no impression on Shane's sturdy mustache. Someone found scissors and set about lopping it off. "I'm not sure it was worth it," Shane said of the victory, endeavoring to move only his lips while standing perfectly still amid a pack of eager Delilahs. "Is it gone yet?" he asked.
"No!" they shouted in chorus.
He endured the ordeal bravely. Having won by a hair, the least he could do was part with a few.