LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Azusa Pacific men’s and women’s cross country teams both finished in sixth place in their respective divisions of the NAIA Cross Country Championships staged at Tom Sawyer Park in Louisville, Ky., Saturday morning.
Led by a trio of All-Americans, the most ever garnered by a Cougar team in one meet, the Azusa Pacific women tallied 197 points. Junior Brianna Carstensen, the reigning GSAC champion, finished third out of 256 runners with a career-best 17:40, the best showing ever by a Cougar woman or man at the NAIA championships.
Senior Christine Krause clocked a season-best 18:18 to finish 14th while junior Marissa Reeber posted a 7-second PR with an 18:26 to finish 23rd. Reeber collected her first-ever All-American honor, and Krause picked up her second straight.
Along with Lisette Saucedo (career-best 19:19) and Kim Davids (19:47), the Cougars ran a team-time of 1:33.30, 5-and-a-half minutes better than they did on this same course nearly 2 months ago during the Greater Louisville Classic.
As they have all year, the Cougar men ran in a pack with only 45 seconds separating the scoring 5 of Azusa Pacific. For the first time this year, junior Peter Franz led the Cougar contingent with a season-best 25:42, narrowly missing All-American recognition by finishing 31st (top 30 are awarded All-American status).
Junior Tim Gachago, a picture of consistency over the past month, finished 38th with a 25:54, which was on par with the 25:51 and 25:53 he ran at Woodward Park during the GSAC and NAIA regional meets.
As a team, the Cougar men ran a 2:10.37, more than a minute better than what they ran on the same course in September.
Azusa Pacific joined fellow California rival Cal State San Marcos and Simon Fraser as the only teams to place both their men’s and women’s teams among the top 6 at the NAIA Championship Meet (San Marcos was third in both divisions). Simon Fraser won its sixth women’s crown while Minot State captured its second straight men’s championship.