SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific completed its regular-season cross country schedule with a fast men’s performance, as junior Peter Buscheck ran the eighth-fastest time in school history while his teammates also took advantage of a fast course to register the fourth-fastest team performance in program history.
Buscheck’s time of 24:26.7 was good for a top-20 finish overall, and he was in the top-five of the non-Division I runners. His performance was the fastest by a Cougar in over two years, and the team time of 2:05:46.7 was the fourth-fastest all-time, and best since 2010, for Azusa Pacific’s men’s cross country program.
“This was a fast course, and we ran well on it today,” head coach Preston Grey said. “The guys did a great job putting it back together after a rough Minnesota trip, so I’m very pleased with today’s performance.”
Sophomore Aaron Potts’ time of 24:51.3 was the 15th-fastest in program history, and freshman Kyle Bueckert was just outside the top-20 of the program’s all-time list, claiming the 22nd spot on the list with a time of 25:08.1. The Cougars’ fourth and fifth finishers, Ryan Phillips and Danny Guerrero also finished under 26:00, and the Cougars’ top-five all placed within the top 31 of the non-Division I field.
With Devin Pierce clocking a 26:59.5, all six of the Cougars’ top men’s finishers improved on their season-bests.
As a team, Azusa Pacific finished 15th overall and was the fourth-finishing non-Division I men’s team, while the women’s team was 17th overall and third among non-Division I women’s programs.
“We got buried in the pack a little bit in the first mile, so we were just too far back to really do what we wanted,” Grey said. “We managed to move back up pretty well, and we still salvaged something out of it by beating California Baptist as a team for the third time this year.”
Junior Kristie Sikma was the women’s top finisher, placing 60th overall and 10th among non-Division I entries with a time of 21:43.6, nearly matching her season-best. Senior Sarah Higgens was just 10 seconds behind Sikma in her first race of the season, posting a time of 21:54.0 to finish 77th overall and 12th in the non-Division I standings.
Other than Sikma, who was three-tenths of a second off her season-best, the next five women’s finishers from Azusa Pacific all improved on their top times from this season. Sophomore Reika Kijima was the Cougars’ No. 3 finisher with a time of 22:11.9, while freshmen Kylie Betts (22:31.5) and Elizabeth Lyons (22:35.0) rounded out the top-five.
Dominican University is set to host the 2013 Pacific West Conference Cross Country Championship on Saturday, Nov. 2, and the Cougars will compete again two weeks later to defend its women’s cross country national championship at the 2013 National Christian College National Championships in Cedarville, Ohio, on Saturday, Nov. 16.