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Cougars Splash Into GSAC Lead

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Photo by Joe Reinsch
Sarah Higgens finished second in the 3000 meter steeplechase with a time of 11:14.42, giving her three events this season in which she's met the NAIA "A" qualifying standard.

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April 27, 2012
Joe Reinsch
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2012 GSAC Track & Field Championships - LIVE RESULTS

AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific claimed the Day 1 men’s and women’s lead Friday on the opening day of the 2012 Golden State Athletic Conference Track & Field Championships, which are hosted by the Cougars this season.

The Cougar men jumped out to a 10-point lead over Biola through the first seven completed events, bolstered by a pair of individual GSAC championships in throwing event finals that took place Friday afternoon and evening. David Musson successfully defended his GSAC javelin title with a championship throw of 194-feet, 1-inch, while Brad Beckwith became Azusa Pacific’s first GSAC discus champion since 2006 by throwing 161-feet, 7-inches to wrap up Friday’s field events.

The women also surged into the lead over second-place Biola, scoring 65 points from a variety of sources. Megan Vanwinkle successfully defended her GSAC long jump crown with a leap of 19-feet, 2.5-inches, and she uncorked an NAIA “A”-qualifying throw of 138-feet, 6-inches in the javelin, good for second place and a PR of over 11 feet.

Vanwinkle was one of three scorers in the javelin, with Breanna Leslie claiming fourth and matching her PR with a throw of 123-feet, 8-inches while Emily Nash finished seventh overall at 113-feet, 6-inches. The Cougars also registered three scoring performances in the discus, led by Lauren Orris’ third-place toss of 133-feet, 7-inches that measured just two feet off her personal-best. Jordan Robusto and Cheri Smith were right behind in fourth and fifth place, respectively, each registering throws within two feet of their PRs, as well.

Azusa Pacific counted two second-place finishes in women’s events, starting with Ferin Barry’s runner-up effort in the pole vault. Barry cleared 11-feet, 5.75-inches for just the second time in her career, finishing behind Biola’s Taylor McCahon in the event, while Sarah Higgens ran an NAIA “A” qualifier with a runner-up finish in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Her time of 11:14.42 was the third different event (along with the 5,000 and 10,000 meters) this season in which Higgens has met the NAIA’s “A” standard.

Azusa Pacific’s pursuit of a GSAC Track & Field title sweep continues Saturday afternoon, with 30 more events (15 men’s and 15 women’s) scheduled before the conference champions can be crowned. Live results are available through the link above, and full meet results will be available following the conclusion of the meet.