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CSUN Short in Long Runs


Injuries to its top two distance runners means Cal State Northridge will need help from opponents to win its second consecutive women's title in the Big Sky Conference track and field championships that start today at Cal State Sacramento.

Northridge appeared to have a solid shot to win its third conference title in four years two months ago, but Marisol Barajas probably will miss the meet because of a strained hip muscle and fellow senior Nancy Dollar is questionable because of blisters on her feet.

Barajas placed fourth in the 10,000 meters and sixth in the 5,000 in the conference championships last year and Dollar ranks third in the 3,000 and 10th in the 5,000 on the conference list this year.

"We need help," Coach Don Strametz of Northridge said. "We do not control our own destiny. We need some of the other teams to take away some points from Weber State [in the middle-distance and distance races]."

Weber State defeated Northridge, 188 1/2-173 1/2 for the 1998 Big Sky title by scoring 96 points in races ranging from 800 to 10,000 meters and Strametz fears a similar performance by the Wildcats.

Northridge will try to counter Weber State's expected onslaught in those events by scoring a slew of points in the sprints, hurdles and jumping events and totaling substantial points in the middle-distance events.

Junior Annetta Wells is defending Big Sky champion in the 200 and 400 and has posted conference bests of 23.58 in 200 and 54.05 in the 400 this season.

Wells will run on teams that have clocked a conference-leading 45.19 in the 400 relay and a conference-record 3:40.53 in the 1,600 relay.

Sophomore Frances Santin of Northridge leads the conference in the 400 low hurdles at 58.50, will run in the 400 and on the 1,600 relay in the meet that will be held at the site of the U.S. Olympic trials from July 14-23.

Senior Brandi Prieto, the conference leader at 43-1, will try to win her fourth consecutive triple jump title. She also is entered in the 100 high and 400 low hurdles, the high jump and the long jump.

She won the heptathlon with a 4,986-point total in the conference championships last year but isn't entered in the two-day, seven-event competition that starts today.

"We felt it would have been asking too much to put her in the heptathlon," Strametz said. "As it is, she's going to be very busy."

Senior Nancy James of Northridge is the conference leader in the 800 at 2:05.08 and ranks second in the 1,500 at 4:23.21.

Weber State, two-time defending champion, Idaho State and Northern Arizona are expected to battle for the men's title with Northridge hoping to crack the top five.

The Matadors finished second last year, but aren't as strong this season and sprinter Tim Brown suffered a season-ending hamstring injury last month.

Senior Billy Bush of Northridge leads the conference in the shotput at 60-5 and is ranked second in the discus at 168-1 and in the hammer throw at 201-11.

Clinte Motley, also a senior, is two-time defending champion and conference leader in the triple jump at 52-7 1/4, is ranked third in the long jump at 24-2 1/4 and tied for fifth in the high jump at 6-8.

The meet starts today with the first day of the decathlon and heptathlon, with the rest of the meet beginning Friday.

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