AZUSA, Calif. –- Azusa Pacific took center stage in the opening hour of the first-ever Azusa Pacific Invitational, paving the way for full day of track & field at Cougar Stadium.
In the opening hour of competition, freshman Caleb Mesa won the 10,000 meters with an NAIA-qualifying time of 31:20.03, while senior Peter Sherman held off Weber State’s Drew Casselberry over the final lap to take the men’s steeplechase with another NAIA-qualifying effort of 9:20.50.
In other early events, Celene Reyes of UC Riverside ran away from the field to win the women’s steeplechase with an 11:01.04, while Katie DeRusso of Notre Dame captured the women’s 1500 meters with a 4:39.07. The Fighting Irish quartet also won the women’s 4x100-meter relay at 45.56.
On the men’s side, Bennie Robinson clocked a fine early-season time of 10.24 to win the 100 meters, while Steve Shepherd of Weber State took the 1500 at 3:50.55. In the field, Tony Allmond of Southern California Cheetahs easily won the long jump with a leap of 25’ 5½”, and Dylan Armstrong took the shot put with a fine mark of 66’ 1½”.
In the women’s 800 meters, Canadians Rebecca Johnstone and Julia Howard, former teammates at Simon Fraser University (B.C.), went head-to-head in a battle for the stadium record, but neither could eclipse 2:02. Nonetheless, they ran fine times with Johnstone edging Howard, 2:05.11 to 2:05.73.
Three-time Canadian national heptathlon champion Jessica Zelinka enjoyed a terrific day, winning the 100-meter hurdles (13.39), finishing second in the 200 (24.36) and taking fourth in the shot put (45’ 8½”).
Southern Utah sophomore Sharla Platt broke the SUU school record in winning the women’s 5000 meters with a sterling time of 16:51.53, bettering the former school standard by nearly 2 seconds. Azusa Pacific’s Jaime Canterbury took advantage of Platt’s blistering pace to finish fifth in the race with a PR and the second-fastest 5000 in school history at 17:22.15.
In all, more than 1,000 athletes competed during today’s ten-and-a-half hours of competition.