MARION, Ind. -- Azusa Pacific kicked off the 2012 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships with a pair of individual national champions who put 10 points on the board for both the men's and women's teams Thursday at Indiana Wesleyan University.
The Cougars met or exceeded expectations in every event in which it was represented Thursday, setting a solid foundation of performances to build on throughout the weekend.
In the women's 10,000 meters, senior Lauren Jimison patiently waited with the pack before eventually making her move after the two-mile mark. She quickly built up separation as she dropped her lap splits from 90 seconds into the low 80s, and that push quickly resulted in a 150-meter lead over the final mile-plus of the race.
Junior David Musson lived up to his top ranking in the javelin entering the meet, throwing a season-best 215-feet, 4-inches to become the sixth NAIA champion in men's javelin at Azusa Pacific. Musson beat his nearest competitor, Northwest (Wash.)'s Luke Fischer, by three feet, to deliver the first 10 points of Azusa Pacific's team scoring total.
Azusa Pacific's women's team also got onto the scoreboard with a school-record from Megan VanWinkle in the long jump and an All-American effort from Jordan Robusto in the hammer throw.
VanWinkle broke her own school record with her opening jump of 19-feet, 9-inches, and her very next jump she went 19-feet, 10.75-inches to establish the new standard. She finished second in the event, giving the Cougars eight points, and Robusto threw the hammer 166-feet, 4-inches for a sixth-place finish.
Temperatures continued to climb Thursday, reportedly into the high 80s, but a strong breeze throughout the day made the conditions very bearable for a large contingent of Cougars competing on the opening day of the three-day national championship meet. Friday and Saturday forecasts call for temperatures in the 90s.