COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Lauren Jimison led the NAIA's top-ranked Azusa Pacific to the team win at Saturday's Vanguard Invitational, winning the race in a course-record time of 17:10 to lead a pack of four Cougars in the top seven of the race.
While Jimison beat the first non-Azusa Pacific competitor by nearly a minute, Wade Meddles needed a late push in the lead pack of the men's race to hold off a pair of runners from The Master's College and pick up the men's individual title with another course-record time of 24:53.
The women's team performance was even more impressive considering the absence Saturday of Poppy Lawman due to illness. Lawman typically finishes second for the Cougars, and in her absence, a trio consisting of Sarah Higgens, Melissa Telon and Kristie Sikma crossed the line within seconds of each other to claim fifth, sixth, and seventh place finishes in the race. Jacky Kipwambok finished 21st overall with a time of 19:07.
The men's team finished seventh in the team standings, as the next closest finisher behind Meddles was Zach Ginn's 42nd-place performance. Starting with Ginn, seven Cougars finished among a pack of 17 runners who finished within 25 seconds of each other.