SDSU Student Outruns a Talented Field

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Matt Clayton doesn't have any national championships notched on his running shoes. There are no Olympic medals gathering dust on his shelf.

But Sunday at the $20,000 Reebok Arturo Barrios Invitational, the 24-year-old San Diego State student raced against those who have such things--and won.

Clayton, of Imperial Beach, waited until the final 200 yards of the 10-kilometer race to pull away from a talented field to win in 28 minutes 30 seconds, an impressive 39-second improvement over his previous 10K best of 29:09, run just two weeks ago.

Although Clayton earned $4,000 for first place, the victory seemed reward enough. Among those he beat Sunday were Suleiman Nyambui, who won 15 NCAA championships in cross-country, indoor and outdoor track while competing for UTEP in the early 1980s.

Nyambui, 37, was second in 28:39, followed by Mexican standouts Salvador Garcia (28:44), Abundio Mondragon (28:52) and Jorge Marquez (29:12).

"Oh, this is a big-time thrill for me," said Clayton, a cross-country coach at Bonita Vista High School. "My main goal was to run under 29 minutes and break into the top five. I didn't think I'd win the thing."

In the women's division, Rosa Mota, the 1988 Olympic marathon champion from Portugal, had little trouble outrunning a quality field that included four-time U.S. Olympian Francie Larrieu-Smith, 1987 NCAA 10,000-meter champ Sylvia Mosqueda and Norway's Ingrid Kristiansen, the women's world-record holder at several distances, including 10K.

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