Monday, December 13, 1999
by national title
The Punahou senior sets aBy Pat Bigold
course record in the prep cross
Victoria's secret is out.
She is America's best female prep cross-country runner.
But Punahou senior Victoria Chang said she was stunned when she hit the tape Saturday to win the prestigious Foot Locker National High School Cross-Country Championships in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
"I didn't believe it because, at first, I didn't think I did very good," she said. "I kept thinking Felicia should've won."
"Felicia" is Felicia Guliford of New Mexico, who had a clear lead on Chang heading to the finish but collapsed with an asthma attack.
Chang had seen the same thing happen to Guliford the weekend before at the West Regional held at Mt. San Antonio College in California. But in the regional, Guliford recovered to beat out Chang for second place.
"Actually, I was trying to hold on to second place," Chang said. "I didn't even think I could pass her because she was so far ahead and I could see the finish approaching. I wasn't really planning on trying to catch up to her."
But when Guliford went down, Chang maintained her own pace and raced past her West teammate to win.
When she finished, she found herself surrounded.
"I wanted to look back to see how Felicia was but I couldn't, they just pushed me forward," said Chang. "In Hawaii, I'm used to standing around and waiting for everyone to finish so I can congratulate them. But here they moved me right into the chute and after that they had me in a warmdown area and the media came in."
Chang said there were six or seven reporters and an ESPN camera. The race will be shown on ESPN tomorrow and Friday.
"They asked a lot about my school," she said. "They asked a lot about my coach (Duncan Macdonald)."
Macdonald, the former U.S. 5,000-meter record holder, coached Punahou in cross country last season.
Chang finished nine seconds ahead of runner-up Victoria Jackson.
Chang's time of 17:05.8 over the 3.1-mile (5 kilometers) Oak Trail Golf Course smashed the course record by 16 seconds.
The Foot Locker victory culminates a remarkable year for Chang. She won the Golden West Invitational 3,200 meters title, placed second in the USATF National 3,000, and third in the Pan Am Junior 3,000 last summer.