IRVINE, Calif. – Azusa Pacific might as well end the season right now considering the way the Cougars started the 2010 campaign today.
A full contingent of Cougars converged on the Concordia Open Saturday to open the 2010 season and a plethora of them qualified for the NAIA Indoor Championship Meet, in this the debut meet of the season.
“It was a great day,” said Cougar Women’s Head Coach Mike Barnett. “We qualified just about everybody we needed to. It was a nearly perfect.”
The Cougar performance was so strong across the board that one male athlete commented he may not have compete in his event for the next 4 weeks leading up to the NAIAs.
Azusa Pacific won 13 of the 40 events staged and qualified for the NAIA Championships in 15 events. Granted, there are more qualifications to secure in the coming weeks (i.e. NAIA pole vault champ Jordan Savidge), but for a season-opening meet, the Cougars posted some impressive marks.
For instance, NAIA champion Monti Sutton won the triple jump with a leap of 48’ 11”, already 3 inches better than the mark he achieved in last year’s NAIA meet.
On the women’s side, All-American Mandy Ross posted a pair of personal bests, first in the 60 meters (7.73) and then in the 200 (24.43), winning both events in rather easy form. In their first race together this season, the women’s distance medley relay of Kayla Carstensen, Becca Reyes, Poppy Lawman, and Jacky Kipwambok came within 4 seconds of the school record, clocking a blistering 11:58.69.
NAIA champion Tiffeny Parker won the women’s 60-meter hurdles with an outstanding early-season time of 8.73, a personal best by .12 of a second. Her male teammate and fellow champion Cedrique Smith ripped off an 8.04 in the 60-hurdles, a personal-best for the sophomore.
All-American Staphon Arnold became only the second Cougar history to clear 7-feet in the high jump, going 7’ 0¼”.
All-American junior Casey Stevick won the heptathlon and in the process punched his ticket for the NAIAs. Sophomore Zachary Keene is headed to the NAIAs after registering a 6.87 in the 60-meters. Likewise, multi-purpose sprinter Anthony Logan has a secured a place at the NAIAs in the 400 with his winning effort of 48.54. Senior Montrail Brooks won the 800 with an NAIA-qualifying 1:55.30.
As expected, All-American Abednego Magut took care of business by winning the men’s 5000 with an NAIA qualifying 15:01.08, while Stephanie Godfrey added her name in the NAIA women’s 5000 with her 18:20.81.
“We performed better than expected,” said Azusa Pacific Men’s Coach Kevin Reid. “For the first time out this season, this was a very good meet. We have some more marks we need to hit, but I’m pleased with how many we reached today and with how strong those marks are – several of them are among the NAIA’s top 5 for the season.”
Azusa Pacific will split squads next weekend with some team members headed to Fresno for the Run for the Dream Invitational while the rest of the team heads to Cerritos College for an all-comers meet.