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Striking Distance

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Photo by Chuck Lyons
Kristie Sikma, Natalie Koskela, and Elizabeth Lyons finished in fourth, fifth and sixth in the 10,000 meters, to give Azusa Pacific 12 of its 29.5 points on the opening day of the 2014 NCCAA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships.

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Published
May 1, 2014
By
Joe Reinsch

2014 NCCAA Outdoor Track & Field National Championship: Thursday, May 1 Results

ROME, Ga. -- Azusa Pacific scored from multiple athletes in three different women’s events to keep the lead within its sights after the opening day of the National Christian College Athletic Association Outdoor Track and Field National Championship Thursday at Shorter University.

The Cougars got 12 points from a distance-running trio in the 10,000 meters, along with nine points from two athletes in the discus and another 8.5 points from a pair of pole vaulters to score in three of the first four event finals of the meet. With 29.5 points, Azusa Pacific sits just five points behind the early leader, Bethel (Ind.). The Cougar men started the meet with eight points, which currently has them tied for seventh in the early going.

The top Azusa Pacific finishers on the day were junior Danica Dobosy (discus) and sophomore Kim Sanchez (pole vault), who each posted national runner-up finishes in their respective events. Dobosy was less than two feet off her personal-best in the discus, throwing 141-feet, 1-inch to pick up the Cougars’ first NCCAA All-American performance (top-three finish) of the meet. Sanchez was also a national runner-up, tying for second after clearing 11-feet, 1.75-inches in the pole vault.

On the track, junior Kristie Sikma placed fourth in the 10,000 meters with a time of 38:42.42, finishing within 13 seconds of the race winner and less than a second out of third place. She was the first of three consecutive Azusa Pacific finishers which included sophomore Natalie Koskela in fifth (38:56.01) and a sixth-place scoring finish from junior Elizabeth Lyons (39:59.39).

Sanchez was one of eight vaulters who cleared her second-place height, along with freshman teammate Zoe Wilkens, although jump attempts broke the tie and left Wilkens tied for seventh overall. In the discus, Dobosy’s eight points were accompanied by another point from freshman Kaylee Fink, who placed eighth with a throw of 128-feet, 11-inches.

The men’s scoring was led by the fourth-place finish in the hammer from sophomore Miles Gastil, who picked up two places on the pre-meet performance list by throwing a personal-best 164-feet, 1-inch. His finish was worth five of Azusa Pacific’s eight team points, with senior long jumpers David Schulte and Sameer Sedam combining for three more by taking seventh (21-feet, 6-inches) and eighth (21-feet, 2.5-inches), respectively, in the long jump.

Junior decathlete Justin Young registered 3,226 points on the opening day of the decathlon, and he recorded an outdoor season-best in the shot put of 40-feet, 11.75-inches. Young sits 172 points behind second place and has a 76-point advantage over the fourth-place competitor.

Sedam and junior Tanner Henry both qualified for Saturday’s 400-meter hurdles finals, as Henry turned in the second-fastest qualifying time of the event. The Cougars also qualified second in the men’s 4x400 meter relay, but sophomore sprinter Ronald Douglas was five-hundredths of a second away from qualifying for the men’s 100-meter finals.

In women’s preliminary track events, senior Jordan Chesley turned in the fifth-place qualifier in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:04.84. The Cougars also ran the second-fastest qualifying time in the 4x400 meter relay (3:55.81).

Friday’s action begins with the continuation of the heptathlon and decathlon competitions, which will be followed by Cougar entries in the men’s discus and javelin and the women’s high jump, javelin, and hammer throws. The 4x800 meter relay is the only event final on the track Friday, although qualifying trials will also run for the women’s 4x100 meter relay, men’s and women’s 400 meters, men’s and women’s sprint hurdles, and the men’s and women’s 200 meters.