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Despite Injury, Former Palisades High Player May Compete at Riviera

October 29, 1992|ALAN OTA

The Riviera Women's All-American Tennis Championships begin today in Pacific Palisades, and one of players favored to do well in the tournament is injured.

Stanford junior Heather Willens, a two-time City Section singles champion from Palisades High who is ranked fourth in the nation, pulled a left hip flexor in a doubles match at the Rolex Northwest Regional on Monday.

But Willens is determined to play.

"It hurts when I walk and when I lift my arms above my shoulders," Willens said. "But I'm thinking that once the adrenaline starts it'll pull me through."

Her mother, Jane Willens, thinks that playing will only aggravate the injury. Jane was a national collegiate singles champion in 1964 and doubles champion in 1967 at Stanford. She suffered a similar injury when playing.

"I couldn't hit anything above my waist," Jane said. "It's like a groin injury in that it takes so long to heal.

"And what makes it really frustrating is that this is Heather's favorite tournament of them all."

Willens is among 20 of the nation's top 23 players entered in the Riviera tournament, which continues Sunday at the Riviera Tennis Club. It is the second Intercollegiate Assn. grand slam event of the year.

"It's by far the biggest of the fall tournaments," said Texas senior Susan Gilchrist, who with senior Vickie Paynter form the nation's top-ranked doubles team. "We've all been gearing up for it. It's really a barometer on knowing how well you're doing."

Gilchrist and Paynter are the defending doubles champions. They lost to UCLA's Mamie Ceniza and Iwalani McCalla in the 1991 NCAA final.

"The tournament acted as a springboard in that it gave us confidence that we could execute as a pair," Paynter said.

The UCLA men's and women's cross-country teams will compete in the Pacific 10 Conference championships at the Stanford golf course Saturday.

The men's 8-K will start at 3 p.m. and the women's 5-K begins at 3:45.

The No. 20 UCLA men are led by Eliazar Herrera, who ran his best race of the season on the Stanford course three weeks ago. He finished third in the Stanford invitational in 23 minutes 54 seconds.

UCLA Coach Bob Larsen is concerned about Herrera's conditioning. The junior missed several workouts the past two weeks because of academic demands.

"If he can overcome that, our team could have one of its best showings at the Pac-10 in the last several years," said Larsen, whose team finished seventh in 1991.

The race is expected to be a showdown between No. 2 Arizona, led by junior Martin Keino, and No. 9 Oregon. The individual favorite is Washington State junior Josephat Kapkory, a native of Kenya.

In the women's race, the unranked Bruins are led by sophomore Karen Hecox and junior Beth Bartholomew. Eighth-ranked Oregon, the two-time defending conference champion, and No. 10 Arizona are expected to battle for the team title.

Oregon senior Nicole Woodward, last year's third-place finisher, and undefeated Stanford sophomore Louise Watson, the Great Britain national champion, will compete against each other for the first time this season.

The Pepperdine men's and women's cross-country teams will compete in the West Coast Conference Championships Saturday at Belmont, Calif.

The men's 10-K begins at 9 a.m. and the women's 5-K starts at 10.

The Portland men's and women's teams will be defending their championships. Last year the Pepperdine men's team finished fifth and the women's team was fourth.

Notes

Duke senior Tracey Hiete of Pacific Palisades and Marymount High is in the main draw in singles and doubles at the Riviera tournament.

The No. 1 UCLA women's volleyball team (18-0, 11-0 in the Pac-10) plays host to second-ranked Stanford (17-1, 10-1) Friday and California (7-11, 4-7) Saturday. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. at the Wooden Center. Stanford lost to UCLA in a five-game match three weeks ago.

The Pepperdine women's volleyball team (7-13, 3-3 in the West Coast Conference) plays host to Loyola Marymount Saturday at 7 p.m. Loyola (15-7, 6-0) defeated the Waves for the first time in five years Saturday.

The UCLA soccer team (11-2-2, 4-1 in the Mountain Pacific Division) plays at UC Irvine (7-9, 1-3) today at 3 p.m. The Bruins will play host to Cal State Fullerton (11-4, 5-0) Sunday on the North Soccer Field at 1 p.m. UCLA junior goalkeeper Brad Friedel and junior midfielder Joe-Max Moore were named candidates for the seventh annual Missouri Athletic Club Collegiate Soccer Player of the Year Award last week.

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