AZUSA, Calif. NAIA power Azusa Pacific used its first home meet of the season indoor season to stretch its squads and give a number of athletes wide variety of opportunities to compete. As a result, 5 Cougars recorded career-best marks, 14 registered season-best efforts and 24 competed in particular events for the first time this season.
“It was another terrific day for us,” said Azusa Pacific Women’s Head Coach Mike Barnett. “We had a number of quality performances that solidified our team for nationals.”
Azusa Pacific Men’s Head Coach Kevin Reid echoed a similar assessment.
“All in all, it was a very good day for us, and the weather was perfect.”
Indeed it was. Under near perfect weather conditions in which NAIA athletes are allowed to use outdoor competitions to qualify for indoor nationals events, the Cougars clicked off one strong performance after another.
Azusa Pacific swept the 400-meters with All-Americans Anthony Logan (NAIA-season-leading 48.06) and Mandy Ross (58.07) winning the men’s and women’s races, respectively. In his first run of the season, sophomore Zachary Keene won the men’s 200-meters with a career-best time (21.82, second-best in the NAIA this season), and freshman Poppy Lawman continued an impressive rookie season by not only winning the first-ever 1,000-meter run in she has competed but also coming within 2 seconds of the school record, clocking a 2:52.31.
Other Cougar winners included sophomore Liz Schwartz in the women’s pole vault (10’ 11¾”), senior Montrail Brooks in the men’s 600-meters (1:19.86, NAIA-season-leading time and ninth fastest in school history), and NAIA champion Monti Sutton in the men’s triple jump (season-best 49’ 3¾”).
NAIA champion Cedrique Smith finished second in the men’s 60-meter high hurdles with a season-best 7.96, the third fastest time in school history.
In the women’s 20-pound weight throw, senior Erin Dwyer was notified she’d be heading to the NAIA Indoor Championship meet when she met the NAIA provisional standard with a career-best throw of 48’ 10¾”.
Azusa Pacific made a strong showing in the in the women’s pentathlon and men’s heptathlon. All-American Tiffeny Parker posted a personal-record of 3,508 points to win the one-day pentathlon. Freshman Breanna Leslie likely earned a spot for the NAIA’s with a score of 3,331 points, while sophomore Emily Nash moved into the hunt for spot on the NAIA meet roster with a 5-event total of 3,223 points.
Senior Staphon Arnold registered the biggest surprise of the meet by winning the 2-day heptathlon, his first-ever attempt of the event, with a score of 4,888 points, the second-best point-total in the NAIA this year. Junior Jeff Altizer followed with an NAIA-qualifying tally of 4,871 points. His total was boosted by a season-best mark on the pole vault of 15’ 1”.
Azusa Pacific will home again next weekend to host a Last Chance Qualifying meet on Saturday (Feb. 20) at 10 a.m.