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With the Wind to His Back

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April 15, 2009
Gary Pine
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AZUSA, Calif. – Azusa Pacific sophomore Casey Stevick took advantage of some early day blustery wind and posted 4 personal-records, albeit 2 of them wind-aided, to tally 3,766 points and take the first-day lead in the California Invitational decathlon Wednesday at Azusa Pacific University.

The All-American out of Olympia, Wash., opened the day with personal-bests in the 100-meters (11.23) and long jump (22’ 10½”), though both marks came with the assistance of strong winds at +4.1 and +4.4, respectively. Nonetheless, the marks will stand in Stevick’s quest for qualification into the NAIA outdoor track & field decathlon championship in May.

As the winds subsided into the day, Stevick’s effort did not. He came back in the shot put to record a near-2-foot PR with a heave of 46’ 7½.” A fine leap of 6’ 4” followed in the high jump, and he closed out the first day with a 53.32 in the 400 meters. With an excellent 5-event, first-day showing, Stevick is well on his way to becoming the 16th Cougar to reach the 7000-point plateau.

Mitch Henry (3,630) and NAIA All-American Reid Gustavson of the University of British Columbia (3,575) follow in second and third, respectively, and will apply the most pressure on Stevick during Thursday’s second day of competition as he seeks his first-ever collegiate decathlon victory.

Stevick’s performance highlighted a long and full day of multi-event competition in which Azusa Pacific also hosted the California Invitational heptathlon and the Mt. SAC Relays decathlon and heptathlon.

Last year’s Big West Conference champion Sharon Day, formerly of Cal Poly SLO, grabbed the first-day lead in the Mt. SAC Relays heptathlon with 3,523 points. She won the high jump with a leap of 5’ 11¾” and took the 200 meters with a personal-heptathlon-best of 24.97. She also posted a heptathlon PR of 14.34 in the 100-meter hurdles.

Emily Pearson is second with 3,168 points, while University of Hawaii senior Annett Wichman is third at 3,161. Cougar junior Tiffeny Parker is 11th with 2,978 points, using a personal-record 26.21 in the 200 meters to close out the day.

In only her second heptathlon ever, UC Santa Barbara sophomore Barbara Nwaba leads the California Invitational heptathlon with 3,200 points. Nwaba, who attended University High in Los Angeles, used her speed to win the opening event of the competition, the 100-meter hurdles (14.55), and the closing event of the day, the 200 meters (25.17).

Hawaii senior Emily Sheppard, who a year ago finished 18th in this meet, is currently second with 3,005 points. Sheppard won the high jump with a leap of 5’ 7”.

Azusa Pacific freshman Emily Nash tallied 2,488 points through the first four events of the California Invitational Heptathlon.

Former Cal State L.A. standout and 2008 NCAA Division II All-American Desi Burt holds the advantage in the Mt. SAC Relays decathlon with 3,999 points. Burt wrestled the lead from U.S. Olympic trialist Mustafa Abdur-Rahim after the high jump, the fourth event of the day. Burt easily won the event by more than 3 inches with an impressive jump of 6’ 10¾”. He retained the overall lead by coming back with a 49.75 in the 400 meters.

NCAA All-American Nick Adcock of the University of Missouri is second with 3,925 points while his teammate Lars Rise is third at 3,921. Abdur-Rahim is fourth at 3,877 points, just 122 off the lead.

Day 2 of all 4 multi-events will continue Thursday (April 16) at 9:30 a.m. with the 110-meter high hurdles of the California Invitational decathlon.

Click here to follow all of Thursday action with real-time results.