Edit Pakay of Loyola Marymount has been playing tennis since she was 6 in her native Hungary, but running might hold more potential for her.
Pakay, 21, went to Loyola Marymount in the fall of 1999 on a tennis scholarship, but began running cross-country this season and has emerged as the team's leader.
Pakay was a highly ranked age-group tennis player in Hungary when she was 16 and 17, but several coaches noticed her running talents when she ran intervals as part of her training.
"They told me that perhaps I should give up tennis for running," she said. "But tennis was the sport I liked the most."
Paul Guerrero, the cross-country coach, saw Pakay's talents the first time he saw her run, in June.
A month later, she ran 17 minutes 58 seconds in a 5,000-meter track race at Hungary.
Pakay ran 18:30, 18:51 and 18:29 in three 5,000-meter cross-country races in September to earn West Coast Conference female runner-of-the-month honors.
Then she ran a stunning 36:03 in a 10,000-meter road race at Manhattan Beach on Oct. 6.