SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- In its first-ever appearance in the California/Nevada Championships, hosted this year by UC San Diego, Azusa Pacific posted the top men’s and women’s team finishes among the non-Division I programs.
The Cougars claimed fourth place overall in the men’s team standings, leading a group of 12 programs from NCAA Divisions II and III and the NAIA. Azusa Pacific scored 71 points, and the closest Division II finishers were Cal Poly Pomona (58 points) and meet host UC San Diego (45 points). The Cougars were seventh overall in the women’s team standings, placing first among the 10 non-Division I programs who competed by scoring 53 points to finish well ahead of the next Division II finisher, which was meet host UC San Diego with 32.5 points.
Remontay McClain led the way, sweeping the 100-meter and 200-meter titles in times of 10.43 and 20.71 seconds, respectively. His winning time in the 200 tied him for the top collegiate 200-meter time at any NCAA level, surpassing the U.S. Outdoor Championship “B” qualifying standard and just a mere hundredth of a second away from meeting the “A” standard.
McClain’s 100-meter time was the fourth-fastest in Division II so far this season, and his 200-meter performance was the best in Division II outdoor season by a margin of 25-hundredths of a second. He also anchored the Cougars' 4x100 meter relay which clocked a 41.47 to finish third behind Division I entries from UC Santa Barbara and Sacramento State.
Nearly as impressive as McClain’s efforts were personal-best performances from Slater Ezell in the 400-meter hurdles and Brad Beckwith in the discus. After easily qualifying for the event finals by running 53 seconds flat in the prelims, the third-fastest time of his career, Ezell followed it up with a personal-best 51.71 to take third overall. His time currently ranks second nationally in Division II and 17th overall across all NCAA divisions.
Beckwith, who a week ago moved into sixth all-time on the Cougars’ top-10 list in the discus, jumped up a few more positions with another PR. His throw of 172-feet, 8-inches moved him into third all-time at Azusa Pacific, and his throw currently ranks third nationally at the NCAA Division II level.
Ezell, who also set a personal-record in the 110-meter hurdles while notching a time of 14.91 seconds, was joined in the 400-meter hurdle finals by Tanner Henry, who finished eighth overall with a time of 55.02 after he ran 54.48 during qualifying.
Leading the women’s performances was Diandra Carstensen, who claimed the 800-meter title by running a personal-record 2:11.17 which moved her up to sixth on Azusa Pacific’s career top-10 list. Her effort ranks as the fourth-fastest in NCAA Division II this year.
The Cougars had a half-dozen more top-five finishes, with Breanna Leslie placing fourth in the 100-meter hurdles (13.98 seconds) and third in the high jump (5-feet, 6-inches). Sydney Eaton was fourth in the high jump, clearing 5-feet, 4.25-inches, while Megan VanWinkle registered third place in the long jump with a mark of 18-feet, 11.25-inches.
Kristie Sikma took second place in the 10,000 meters, posting the seventh-fastest NCAA Division II time of the season at 36:16.31, while Sarah Higgens took fifth place in the 3,000 meter steeplechase with a PR of 10:51.44, her first career sub-11 minute performance.
Azusa Pacific returns to action next weekend at the Mangrum Invitational at Cal State San Marcos for the first of four April meets that precede the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Outdoor Championships the first weekend in May in Joliet, Ilinois.