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Sunday, 08 October 2017 22:54

1994 Women’s Cross Country Team Inducted Into Yavapai College Hall of Fame Featured

The twelve members and coach Julie Williams-Jones of the 1994 champion women's cross country team celebrate their Hall of Fame induction on Saturday, September 7th, 2017 in Prescott, Arizona. The twelve members and coach Julie Williams-Jones of the 1994 champion women's cross country team celebrate their Hall of Fame induction on Saturday, September 7th, 2017 in Prescott, Arizona. Photo Gallery by: Torrence Dunham

Twelve Members and Coach of 1994 Champion Women's Cross Country Team Inducted Into Hall of Fame

PRESCOTT- It has been 23 years since the Yavapai College women’s cross country team upset #1 ranked Ricks College by a score of 48-46, the closest national race ever recorded at that time, for the Cross Country National Championship in muddy and cold Alfred State College in New York.

On Saturday afternoon, October 7th, 2017, the team reunited as all twelve members of the 1994 team and coach Julie Williams-Jones were inducted into the Yavapai College Hall of Fame.

“It’s forever engrained in my memory so it’s nice to be able to share that with the rest of the community,” said 1994 Women’s Cross Country member Priscialla Schultz. “I think Yavapai College and Prescott are proud of us, proud of our accomplishments, and I know that being inducted will let those future athletes that come forward and see that the 1994 team was truly an awesome team.”

It was the goal of Williams-Jones, a former multi-sport athlete at Yavapai College, to revive both the women’s and men’s cross country team in 1987.

“I thought it was going to be such a special time because I was an alum and I had such a great time at Yavapai, I wanted to be able to pass that on to the next generation of athletes,” Williams-Jones said during a live Facetime call at the Hall of Fame induction. “I knew I wanted to produce quality programs…my goal was to win a national championship.”

After years of trying to achieve that goal, Williams-Jones knew the 1994 squad was different when the players didn’t waver after going through tough courses and training.

“In 1994, I was lucky enough to recruit these 12 outstanding, fabulous women,” Williams-Jones said. “I knew there was something about this team right from the get-go. In my gut, I felt like this could be our year.”

“I just remember this being one of the most special teams I ever coached,” Williams-Jones continued. “Their work ethics were phenomenal…their attitudes, as positive as anybody could have. These girls stayed so positive throughout the entire season.”\

Video Courtesy: Julie Williams-Jones

The work ethic and positivity would be put to the test when traveling the nearly 2,500-mile journey to New York to face the top team in the nation with a national championship on the line in less-than-ideal conditions.

“This course had extremely steep hills, long fast descents, sharp corners and it was very muddy,” recalled Williams-Jones, stating her job was to run to various spots on the course and let the girls know their position in the race. “We are clearly getting stomped, Ricks is way up, but I knew in the back of my head that these girls, their strength was the second half of the race.”

“There’s only a mile left by the time I get to the next spot,” Williams-Jones continued. “I’m watching and I see Yavapai start to make their move and they are moving up…I run to the finish line and these girls are sprinting in for their lives.”

Williams-Jones mentioned the interesting thing about cross country is the results of the race aren’t known until sometime after the race. She recalled collecting everyone’s cards and comparing numbers alongside the coach from Ricks College.

“He and I look at each other and neither one of us want to say our score first,” Williams-Jones said. “All of a sudden, we simultaneously blurt our scores and he said 48 and I said 46. At that moment, I was just so proud of all twelve of these girls…I can’t tell you what it meant to have that feeling. It wasn’t just that race, it was the entire season.”

Williams-Jones continued to say how proud she was of the team unity in 1994 and to see the success these women have gone on to achieve since that race 23 years ago.

Alongside the induction and recalling precious moments from that season, it also gave a chance for the team to reconnect and meet each other’s families.

“It’s been truly a journey trying to get everybody together, finding them,” Schultz said. “Catching up with them and meeting their families and seeing what they are up to and what they accomplished in the past 23 years.... It is truly amazing and what a great experience these past few weeks of coordinating everyone to get here and seeing their faces.”

Schultz mentioned the team will continue to stay connected and may even plan a trip to Spokane, Washington and visit their now Hall of Fame former coach.

 

 

Last modified on Sunday, 08 October 2017 23:11
Torrence Dunham

Torrence Dunham "TD" is a multimedia journalist who graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.  Torrence is our PrescottValleyeNews.com Correspondent covering local news and events in Prescott Valley. He is also the lead sports correspondent and play-by-play pro for all our multimedia news sites. If he's not adding to his extensive sports bobble-head collection, he's talking baseball, his favorite. Follow him on Twitter: @Tadunham.

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