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Last Chance Granted

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Photo by Joe Reinsch
Cedrique Smith anchored Azusa Pacific's 4x400 relay team that qualified for the NAIA Indoor National Championships.

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February 18, 2012
Joe Reinsch
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Full Meet Results (HTML format)

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS (filmed & edited by Rob Small)

AZUSA, Calif. -- With the success it enjoyed in the first four weeks of the indoor track and field season, Azusa Pacific didn’t have much to lose in Saturday’s Last Chance Qualifier.

However, the Cougars took advantage of the last chance to get its men’s 4 x 400 meter relay team on the board with a national qualifying time of 3:19.40, and a number of other notable performances highlighted the meet.

“We needed to get the relay done, and the guys stepped up and did it,” Azusa Pacific men’s track and field head coach Kevin Reid said. “Our national team will be a small team, meaning we’re short on numbers, but I think the quality is pretty good from top to bottom.”

On the men’s side, junior long jumper Michael Curry posted an “A” qualifying mark of 7.11m (23-feet, 4-inches) to add his name to the national team roster, and freshman sprinter Remontay McClain repeated his standout effort from a week ago by duplicating his time of 6.64 to win his star-studded heat of the 60 meter dash which included Mickey Grimes, who set the stadium record with a time of 6.61 to edge McClain at last week’s meet, along with reigning Olympic decathlon gold medalist Bryan Clay, who turned in his fastest 60 meter time outside of a world indoor championship meet with a 6.75.

Fellow sprinter Zach Keene won the next 60 meter heat with a personal-best time of 6.76, improving by nearly a tenth of a second on the 6.85 he ran at Northern Arizona University in late January, and later in the day, McClain and Keene took first (21.16) and second (21.29) in the 200 meter dash with season-best times.

“We wanted to see Remontay again, and now to see his consistency at that level is pretty exciting,” Reid said. “Zach is as good as he’s ever been, and he’s never been this fast this early in the year. Curry’s automatic qualifier will help us out a lot, so we’ll see where everything falls on the performance lists this weekend and set our (national) team from there.”

Kyle Clark and Riley McKee posted “B” qualifying marks in the 600 meters, and Abendego Magut and Wade Meddles both notched “A” marks in the 3000 meters.

For the women, Victoria Martinez turned in an “A” qualifying time in the 800 meters, winning in 2:13.87, the third-fastest in the NAIA this season, while Lauren Jimison’s 3000 meter time of 9:49.44 ranks second in the NAIA.

“For the most part, we already did everything that we needed to do last week,” Cougar women’s track and field head coach Mike Barnett said. “We wanted to do some events that could boost our confidence and keep us mentally strong. At this point, we’re excited about what the girls are doing, from jumps to throws, middle distance and distance. We’re firing on all cylinders right now, and in terms of peaking at the right time, we’re doing the right things.”

Jordan Chesley narrowly missed the qualifying 60-meter hurdles time (9.30) by less than a tenth of a second, posting a season-best 9.38. In the 60 meter dash, Anita Fung was only five-hundredths off the NAIA “B” standard (7.85) with her 7.90, marking the second time this year she’s come within five-hundredths of the required qualifying time.

The NAIA Indoor National Championships are held March 1-3 in Geneva, Ohio. Entry lists for the national championship meet will be announced later this week.