FRESNO, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific claimed 14 individual conference titles while posting second-place men’s and third-place women’s team finishes Friday and Saturday at the Pacific West Conference track and field championships at Fresno Pacific University.
The men scored 222 points on the strength of nine individual titles and finished second to championship host Fresno Pacific, which tallied 256 points despite winning only two individual events. Academy of Art tied Azusa Pacific with nine individual championships and finished third with 190 points.
The women’s championship went to Academy of Art, which is the defending NCAA Division II women’s outdoor track and field national champion, with 212 points. Fresno Pacific was second with 187.5 and the Cougars took third with a 182.5-point total. Azusa Pacific claimed five individual women’s conference titles and added seven individual runner-up performances, tying Academy of Art for the conference’s highest combined number of first- and second-place finishers with 12 each.
Azusa Pacific will conclude the outdoor track and field season with next week’s trip to Rome, Ga., for the 2014 National Christian College Athletic Association Outdoor Track and Field National Championships.
“The team as a whole really did well, and we are ready to go to outdoor nationals because we’re peaking at the right time,” Azusa Pacific Director of Track and Field Mike Barnett said. “This was good for us to compete against a national championship team (Academy of Art) and see that caliber of talent, which will help our team see where we’re heading in the future. We’re really proud of our entire team’s effort, and we are looking forward to nationals.”
Junior hurdler Tanner Henry won a pair of events, the 400-meter hurdles and the high jump, and junior Justin Young was also a two-event winner by claiming titles in the pole vault and discus throw. Henry put together one of the Cougars’ two individual performances that met the NCAA Division II provisional qualifying standards, running the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 53.49, although he had already hit the qualifier earlier in the year. Henry also won the high jump, even though it was his first collegiate competition in the event, clearing a height of 6-feet, 0.5-inches.
Young cleared 13-feet, 2.25-inches in the pole vault, setting a new personal-best while winning the event, and he had a winning throw in the discus of 125-feet, 8-inches. He added top-three finishes in the high jump (3rd place), shot put (3rd), and javelin throw (2nd).
Junior Jake Hare also met a Division II provisional mark by winning the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.44, although he, too, had already met the standard earlier this season. Junior Peter Buscheck, who last week ran a Division II provisional time in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the Mt. SAC Relays, was just 16-hundredths of a second off the provisional time again as he successfully defended his PacWest title in the event with a time of 9:25.16.
Senior Riley McKee went from the sixth-fastest 800-meter time in qualifying to win the event with a time of 1:55.73. The other two individual champions from Azusa Pacific came in the throws, as sophomore Miles Gastil won the hammer throw with a personal-best throw of 161-feet, 10-inches, and junior javelin thrower Richy Nance claimed the PacWest title in his event with a throw of 158-feet, 2-inches.
Junior Danica Dobosy led the women’s performance by winning two throwing events, the discus and the hammer, along with a second-place finish in the shot put. Dobosy threw 134-feet in the discus, and she recorded personal-bests in both shot put (39-feet, 8.75-inches) and the hammer throw (174-feet, 9-inches). Dobosy’s performance in the hammer resulted in both a PR and Division II provisional qualifying distance of 174-feet, 9-inches.
In addition, sophomore Allison Updike won the javelin with a throw of 142-feet, 11-inches, which was well off her season-best but did meet the standard for Division II provisional qualifying, which she had already achieved when she broke Azusa Pacific’s school javelin record three weeks earlier.
Joining Dobosy and Updike with PacWest individual titles were sophomore Reika Kijima with a time of 4:43.86 in the 1500 meters, just ahead of her teammate and the event runner-up Diandra Carstensen, who finished just a second behind at 4:44.90. The other victory was sophomore pole vaulter Kim Sanchez, who cleared a season-best 11-feet, 3-inches.
Senior Jordan Chesley added a personal-best Division II provisional qualifying performance when she took second in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.20. Chesley also ran in the finals of the 400-meter hurdles, finishing sixth with a 1:05.60 time in the prelims and a time of 1:05.88 in the finals.
The Cougars also claimed three of the top four spots, and five of the top eight, in the 10,0000 meters, led by junior Elizabeth Lyons who claimed second by running a 38:19.54. Within seconds of Lyons were teammates Kristie Sikma (38:21.99) and sophomore Natalie Koskela (38.23.94).