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Daniel's Remarkable Comeback Eclipses Youngquist, Aoki in 10,000 meters
Release: 06/21/1999
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June 3, 1999

BOISE, Idaho - Senior Deeja Youngquist placed 17th in 36:24.33 in tonight's 10,000-meter run at the NCAA Track and Field Championships, an improvement on her 1998 performance, when she finished 20th. Junior Anna Aoki was right behind Youngquist, placing 19th in 36:54.34.

Aoki, up late Wednesday night battling food poisoning, stayed with Youngquist for most of the race, the senior finally pulling away with ten laps to go. The two are never far apart, both on the track and in the record books.

Aoki, 17th in the 10,000 meters at last year's NCAA meet in Buffalo, entered the national meet on the heels of a second place finish in the 10,000 meters at the Pac-10 Championships, an event she won at that meet in 1998. Her career-best qualifying time of 34:05.30 ranked ninth nationally this year, and was the third best in Husky history.

Just ahead of Aoki in both the national rankings and the Husky record books is Youngquist, who paced the Pac-10 conference with a time of 34:04.70, the eighth fastest 10,000-meter qualifying time in the nation in 1999, and the second-best all-time mark by a Husky. Her eighth-place finish at this year's conference meet broke a string of three consecutive third-place Pac-10 finishes in the 10,000 meters.

This night, however, belonged to Texas Tech's Leigh Daniel.

Daniel, ranked first nationally in the 10,000 meters, led early before losing her shoe at the 1,500-meter mark. Forced to stop and put the shoe back on, Daniel could only watch as the leaders pulled 120 meters ahead.

As the thousands in attendance at the University of Boise's Bronco Stadium cheered her on, Daniel began a remarkable comeback, steadily making up the lost ground before finally passing leader JoAnna Deeter of Notre Dame to a standing ovation with 800 meters to go. All that was left for Daniel was to hold off a late charge from BYU's Tara Rohatinsky, which she did, taking the national title in 34:01.63.

"The crowd helped so much," Daniel said afterward, "especially on the laps that I had to run by myself. I was more confident that I could catch up; I knew it was possible. I didn't freak out too much, but I was a little bit worried."

The Huskies will look to make some waves of their own tomorrow when sophomore javelin thrower Justin St. Clair attempts to improve on his 12th-ranked qualifying mark of 231 feet, three inches.

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