JOLIET, Ill. -- Azusa Pacific athletes took an early lead in the decathlon and heptathlon events at the 2013 National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Outdoor Track & Field Championships Thursday afternoon, giving the Cougars a promising start to a potential sweep of the men’s and women’s national titles.
With storm clouds looming in the distance while temperatures dropped over 20 degrees from Wednesday with an approaching winter storm, Megan VanWinkle scored 3,037 points to secure a 157-point lead over second-place Lindsey Honea (Point Loma) through the first four events of the heptathlon while Tomek Czerwinski scored 3,435 points to share the opening-day lead with Cedarville’s James Blackwell. Justin Young sits just one point out of third place, scoring 3,295 points in the first five events of the decathlon, and Matt Nash ended the day in seventh with 3,099 points.
VanWinkle closed out her solid first day with a personal-best of 25.39 seconds in the 200, posting the fastest time of all 10 heptathletes in the event.
All three Azusa Pacific decathletes registered career-bests in the opening event of the competition, the 100 meters, and the trio all set personal-bests in the high jump, as well. Czerwinski also registered a season-best in the long jump with a leap of 21-feet, 11.75-inches, while Young’s long jump of 21-feet, 2-inches was just two inches shy of his personal best.
The Cougars’ NCCAA title pursuit begins in earnest Friday, with the conclusion of the heptathlon and decathlon along with opening heats of running events and finals in five different men’s and women’s field events.