CLAREMONT, Calif. -- The focus is targeted towards peaking in six weeks, but several Azusa Pacific competitors set personal-record marks and nine NAIA national qualifying marks were hit by Cougar athletes in a pair of track & field meets Saturday afternoon.
Most of the Cougars competed at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational, which is where Kyle Clark registered an “A” qualifier along with a PR in the 400 meter hurdles. Clark ran a 53.54, improving his PR by one-hundredth of a second, and it was his first “A” mark after recording “B” qualifying times in his first two meets of the outdoor season.
“This time of the season starts a two-to-three week run where well start to get going for nationals,” Azusa Pacific men’s track & field head coach Kevin Reid said. “For others who haven’t qualified yet, this stretch represents their best chance to hit a mark to get to nationals.”
His was one of five “A” qualifiers for the Azusa Pacific men, which sent senior hurdler Cedrique Smith and freshman sprinter Remontay McClain to UCLA’s Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational. Smith ran a pair of events, hitting an “A” qualifier (14.74) in the 110 meter hurdles while running 57.53 in the 400 meter hurdles, an event in which he already owns a “B” mark. McClain, meanwhile, improved in the 100-meter dash to a 10.41, which currently ranks fourth in the NAIA.
In all, 19 men and 19 women competed Saturday, as the Cougars prepare for back-to-back home meets beginning with Friday’s Bryan Clay Invitational and concluding with the Golden State Athletic Conference Track & Field Championship meet.
“One of the advantages of being at home is that we’ll get to set up competitive situations for everybody,” Reid said. “For the ones that need to be at their best to qualify, this is going to be their best chance to do that. The emphasis, if anything, is to try to stay sharp and stay healthy during these next two weeks. The volume of the workouts may go down, but the emphasis will go up.”
Javen Correia ran his third consecutive “A” time in the 110 meter hurdles at Pomona-Pitzer, improving by one-hundredth of a second over last week’s race at Stanford to 14.66. In the discus, Brad Beckwith missed his PR by an inch, throwing 164-feet, 8-inches to hit the “A” standard for the fourth time in four meets during the outdoor season.
The women’s performances included four qualifiers, all of which already had qualifying marks. Kathleen Luna registered a PR in the hammer with a “B” mark of 158-feet, 2-inches which surpassed her previous personal-best throw by three inches. Megan Vanwinkle also PR’d in the javelin, throwing 125-feet, 9-inches to just miss the “B” standard by less than three feet. Vanwinkle also narrowly missed qualifying in the 100 meter hurdles, recording a 15.25 that barely missed the NAIA’s “B” standard for the event, which is 15.09.
The other qualifiers included Breanna Leslie’s “A” time in the 100 meter hurdles (14.50), an event in which she has already run in under 14 seconds for the NAIA’s third-fastest time. Diandra Carstensen hit her second “B” qualifier this season in the 1,500 meters, running a 4:42.15, and Jordan Robusto also collected a “B” mark with a throw of 159-feet, 7-inches in the hammer.
Megan Knippenberg, who hadn’t raced since running a half-marathon qualifier in February, notched a PR in the 5,000 meters (18:58.11).