FRESNO, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific wanted to return to the top of the Golden State Athletic Conference in its final conference cross country championship meet. Not only did the NAIA’s top-ranked Cougars claim the women’s title for the eighth time in the past 11 years, it did so in unforgettable fashion by posting a conference-record score of just 20 points.
While senior Lauren Jimison won the women’s individual title in 17:01 for her fourth individual victory in five races this season, the next four Cougars to finish also placed in the top eight. Jimison was followed by Poppy Lawman (17:44) and Melissa Telon (season-best 17:56) for a one-two-three Azusa Pacific finish. The next two Cougars were 13 seconds away from pulling off a perfect score of 15, which would have resulted if the Cougars had swept the top five spots.
Sarah Higgens (18:04) finished sixth overall as the fourth Cougar to finish, and Kristie Sikma (18:11) edged out Vanguard’s Kim Jennings for eighth place overall, with both posting season-best times. Other Azusa Pacific participants included Diandra Carstensen and Jacky Kipwambok, who finished just a second apart in the 18th and 19th spots in the race. Carstensen’s time of 18:45 and Kipwambok’s 18:46 both represented an improvement by at least a minute for each of their previous season-bests.
A young Azusa Pacific men’s team was unable to qualify for the upcoming NAIA Cross Country National Championship Nov. 19, but Wade Meddles posted his fourth top-five finish in five races this year with his fourth-place run in the men’s race.
Zach Ginn, who at 26:15 was just four seconds off his season-best, took 26th place overall, while Anthony Lacambra and Peter Buscheck finished just three seconds apart in 30th and 31st place, respectively.