RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific's nationally-ranked men's and women's cross country teams lived up to the status of their national ranking by posting strong performances at the highly competitive UC Riverside Invitational today.
The Cougar women, who are ranked No. 6 in the NAIA, won the small college division race that featured 14 schools. Led by All-GSAC runners Brianna Carstenson and Christine Krause, Azusa Pacific tallied 45 points to finish well ahead of second-place Cal State San Marcos, the NAIA's No. 13-ranked team, which registered 66 points. Carstenson and Krause finished second and third, respectively, out of 147 runners. Carstenson clocked a 19:13 on the 5K course while Krause checked in with a 19:25. Senior Tanisha White wasn't far off the pace, finishing seventh with a 19:43. Sophomore Marissa Reeber (20:00) and Laurie Ramirez (20:13) rounded out the Cougars' scoring 5 by finishing 12th and 21st, respectively. The 1:38:36 collectively clocked by the 5 runners was quite impressive, especially when set against the backdrop that last year's nationally-ranked team didn't match a similar team time until late October at the GSAC Championship meet.
Meanwhile the NAIA's No. 17-ranked Cougar men finished ninth out of 27 teams, second among non-NCAA Division I and club programs. Only the NAIA's No. 7-ranked Cal State San Marcos beat the Cougars among the small college entrants. All-American Brian Wardell led Azusa Pacific with a 25:41 on the 8K course to finish 23rd individually. Sophomore Tim Gachago (26:21) was 49th out of 281runners. Freshman Danny Reid (26:31) was just 10 seconds behind Gachago, finishing 58th. Sophomore Tim Ramirez (26:56) and freshman Kevin Lindsey (27:46) rounded out Azusa Pacific's scoring 5. The Cougars averaged a 26:39 on UC Riverside's "Farm" course.