June 3, 1998
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Washington senior Aretha Hill earned her fourth consecutive All-America certificate, registering a second-place women's discus performance Wednesday in her final collegiate competition during the first day of the NCAA Track & Field Championships at the University of Buffalo.
Hill, the 1998 Pacific-10 Conference champion, threw the discus 192-feet, 5-inches on her third throw of the competition. UCLA's Seilala Sua won the championship for the second straight season, posting an NCAA meet-record mark of 210-8 on her first attempt.
"This was my best finish at NCAAs and my best throw at nationals, but I wasn't first," said a disappointed Hill who finished fourth at the NCAA meet last year, third in 1996 and seventh in 1995. "I go into every meet thinking I can win. Today was my last chance to win the national championship and I just didn't throw well enough to win."
Colorado State's Shelly Borrman finished third in the discus (190-5) and Suzy Powell of UCLA was fourth (187-2).
The runner-up effort by Hill represented the highest national finish by a Washington track & field athlete since Jennifer Ponath won the NCAA shot put title in 1988. A product of Renton High School, Hill placed second despite an injured left foot that limited her to only one practice each of the last three weeks.
Hill, who represented the United States in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, will compete at the U.S. Track & Field Championships, June 19-21 in New Orleans, La. After that meet she will undergo surgery to remove a bone spur and repair other damage in her left foot. The post-surgery rehabilitation will prevent Hill from competing for at least three months.
Two Huskies raced in the women's 10,000-meter competition. Sophomore Anna Aoki (Fort Vancouver HS), who won the Pac-10 championship, finished 17th with a time of 35:42.65.
"It was a difficult race, having just run the Pac-10s two weeks ago," said Aoki. "The Pac-10s were pretty exciting for me. Competing at the NCAAs was a good goal for me because last year I wasn't able to with my stress fractures. Next year, I look for a much, much better placing."
Junior Deeja Youngquist (Enumclaw HS) placed 20th in 36:09.34. Arizona's Amy Skieresz won her ninth NCAA championship, her second straight 10,000 title, with a time of 33:04.12.
Washington junior Keisha Griffis was eliminated in the semifinals of the women's 400-meter hurdles for the second straight season. Griffis finished second in her heat with a time of 59.26 that was the ninth fastest qualifying mark, but only eight athletes advanced to the championship final. She entered the meet with a season-best time of 57.59 that ranked 10th among NCAA competitors.
Five of Washington's six men's qualifiers begin competition on Thursday, including Pac-10 champion Ja'Warren Hooker in the 100 meters and the 1,600-meter relay.