ALLENDALE, Mich. -- Azusa Pacific solidified its national qualifiers for next week’s National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Indoor National Championships, led by a pair of qualifiers in the men’s heptathlon, which wrapped up Saturday at the GVSU Big Meet hosted by Grand Valley State University.
Junior Tomek Czerwinski registered a season-best pole vault of 13-feet, 7.25-inches, as he finished the competition with 4,853 points, which leads all NCCAA qualifiers and is 398 points better than the second-best qualifier. Sophomore Justin Young scored a career-high 4,329 points to move up to fourth on the NCCAA qualifier list, registering career-bests in both the high jump (5-feet, 11.25-inches) and the 1,000 meters (3:07.17) of the two-day, seven-event competition.
In other men’s events, junior David Schulte climbed to sixth on the NCCAA long jump list, leaping a season-best 22-feet, 9.25-inches, and junior Riley McKee ran the tenth-fastest 400 meter time in the NCCAA this season in a season-best 50.33 seconds. Sophomore Peter Buscheck ran the 3,000 meters in 8:44.79, which ranks 20th on the NCCAA qualifier list and is less than 10 seconds away from being represented in the top-ten.
The women’s team, which was highlighted by Breanna Leslie’s school-record pentathlon effort one day earlier, added a pair of top-eight NCCAA marks in Saturday’s events. Senior Anita Fung ran a season-best 25.98 seconds in the 200 meters, while freshman Reika Kijima ran the mile in 5:13.25. Both were season-bests, and both currently rank eighth in the NCCAA to date in those respective events.
Several participants in field events turned in marks close to their season-bests. Mareka Clark hit 37-feet, 2.5-inches in the triple jump, just eight inches off her season-best, and freshman Sydney Eaton’s high jump of 5-feet, 3-inches was just 2.25 inches lower than the 5-feet, 5.25-inches she cleared last week at Northern Arizona to claim the number four spot on the NCCAA national list. In the pole vault, freshman Kim Sanchez currently ranks fifth in the NCCAA, although her vault of 10-feet, 6-inches was five inches short of the season-best she cleared two weeks ago in the Cougars’ first indoor qualifying meet of the season.
In the throws, Brad Beckwith, Talaiasi Taueli, and Cheri Smith already entered the weekend already owning NCCAA qualifying marks in both shot put and weight throw, and none of them were able to improve on their previous season-best marks.
The Cougars will wrap up the indoor season next weekend at the NCCAA indoor National Championships hosted by Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana.