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Fri, Aug. 23

Yavapai College to induct Williams-Jones, 1994 cross-country team into HOF

The 1994 Yavapai College cross-country team poses for a photo in the airport upon their return to Arizona after winning the national championship. (Yavapai College/Courtesy)

The 1994 Yavapai College cross-country team poses for a photo in the airport upon their return to Arizona after winning the national championship. (Yavapai College/Courtesy)

Former women’s cross-country coach/multi-sport athlete Julie Williams-Jones and her 1994 women’s cross-country team will be inducted into the Yavapai College Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend.

The 2017 class’ Hall of Fame luncheon will take place at noon Saturday at the Rock House Patio on the Yavapai College campus in Prescott.

As an athlete, Williams-Jones played basketball, volleyball, softball and tennis for the Roughriders in 1977 and 1978. In softball, both of her teams advanced to the NJCAA National Tournament, finishing ninth out of 18 squads in 1978.

Later, as the first head coach of Yavapai College’s women’s cross-country program, from 1987-1997, Williams-Jones led the Roughriders to several championships, including the NJCAA National Championship in 1994 (see graphic).

In 1994, Williams-Jones became the first woman to garner the NJCAA National Coach of the Year award. She coached 26 NJCAA All-Americans, three NJCAA Academic All-Americans and 34 NJCAA All-Region I athletes during her tenure.

1994 WOMEN’S CROSS-COUNTRY TEAM

Yavapai College’s 1994 women’s cross-country team was ranked second heading into the nationals meet that year at Alfred State College in New York, home of one of the toughest courses during that period.

The Roughriders overcame the muddy course to capture the program’s first Cross-Country National Championship, knocking off No. 1-ranked Ricks College by a score of 48-46. It was the closest nationals race of all time to that point.

Five Yavapai runners were named to the All-American team in 1994. Mirsada Buric-Adam, a 2015 Yavapai Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, won the nationals race, setting the course record in 18:31. Carla Estrella took ninth, Priscilla Boldt snagged 10th, Catherine Ellett finished 12th and Beth Cook claimed 14th.

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