The Azusa Pacific men’s and women’s cross country teams both finished among the top 10 in their respective divisions at the NAIA Cross Country Championship Meet today in Kenosha, Wis. Azusa Pacific was 1 of 3 schools to accomplish such a feat (Eastern Oregon and Black Hills State also had the men’s and women’s teams finish among the top 10). Additionally, this set of Cougars joins the 1995 team as the only ones to have both the men’s and women’s teams finish in the top 10 of the national championship meet.
The Cougar women, who went into today’s meet ranked No. 6 in the final NAIA Coaches’ Poll, were fifth, their second best showing ever on the national level. Led by junior Christine Krause (Garden Grove, Calif./Pacifica HS), the Cougars tallied 177 points, just 9 behind fourth-place Cedarville (Ohio) College. Krause, who has come on strong toward the second half of the season, was again at the top of her form, clocking an 18:41 to finish seventh individually, the best showing ever by an Azusa Pacific woman. Not far off the pace, reigning GSAC champ Brianna Carstensen ran a 19:01 to finish 14th individually. For their efforts both Krause and Carstensen earned NAIA All-American honors, the first time in school history Azusa Pacific has had 2 All-Americans.
The Azusa Pacific men, making their first appearance at the NAIA meet since 1996, finished ninth as a team with 257 points, just 6 behind eighth place Southwestern College (Kan.). Senior Brian Wardell (Barstow, Calif./Barstow HS) finished 22nd with a 26:07 on the 8K course to register his second straight All-American effort. Wardell, who finished second at both the GSAC and NAIA regional meets, was the top Californian at today’s NAIA national meet. Sophomore Tim Ramirez (Simi Valley, Calif./Royal HS) was 38th with a 26:31. The Cougars, who finished second at the NAIA regional meet behind Cal State San Marcos, this time got the better of Cal State San Marcos, which finished 14th as a team.