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May 9, 2010
Gary Pine
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EAGLE ROCK, Calif. -- A handful of Cougars, those who have qualified for the NAIA Championship Meet and were not participating in Saturday’s graduation ceremonies at Azusa Pacific, competed at the Occidental Invitational and fine tuned their performances in preparation for the NAIA Championship Meet in 3 weeks.

In all, 24 Cougars were in Eagle Rock with 9 of them of posting season-best efforts.

Perhaps the most noteworthy showing came from junior Victoria Martinez who qualified for the NAIA Championships in the women’s 800 meters with a personal-best time of 2:15.40, finishing eighth among the 39 competitors, third among all collegians. Martinez had already qualified for the NAIAs in the 1500, and in the past she has enjoyed greater success in the longer races. Her ticket in the 800 is an added bonus for a Cougar women’s team that should be in the hunt for a national title come Memorial Day weekend.

Fellow junior Mandy Ross was strong in the sprints, registering season-best times in both the 100- (11.93) and 200-meters (24.40). In fact, her time in the 200 was best among all collegians in the meet and was fifth overall.

Poppy Lawman continued her amazing freshman season by winning the 1500-meters with a personal-record 4:28.59, the fourth fastest effort in Azusa Pacific history and the top time in the NAIA this year.

All-American Tiffeny Parker and freshman Breanna Leslie each lowered their season-best times in the 100-meter hurdles to 14.45 and 14.61, respectively.

On the men’s side, All-American Abednego Magut finished second in the 1500-meters with a personal-record 3:49.22, the seventh-best time in the NAIA this year and ninth-best in Azusa Pacific history.

Though it’s been a slow-developing season for senior Jordan Savidge, the reigning NAIA pole vault champion appears to be peaking at the right time. Savidge easily won the men’s pole vault competition with a clearance of 16’ 7¼”, his second-best showing ever at Azusa Pacific following his 17’ 0¾” leap in the Mt. SAC Relays last month.

Azusa Pacific returns to the track for one last meet for the NAIAs when the full national meet squad competes in a Last Chance Qualifier at Cal State L.A. Saturday (May 15).

Follow Cougar Athletics online with Twitter updates, at Cougar Athletics also is available on all web-enabled devices through Azusa Pacific’s mobile website: