LA JOLLA, Calif. – The Azusa Pacific women won 3 of 4 throwing events, and the Cougar men finished in the top 2 of 4 events as NAIA power Azusa Pacific posted a pair of top 4 finishes at the UC San Diego Collegiate Open.
Junior Barbara Sugar led Azusa Pacific to a second-place finish by winning both the hammer (162’ 11”) and discus (152’ 9”) throws with NAIA-qualifying marks. She led a contingent of Cougars in both events. In fact, Azusa Pacific scored 52 of its 107 team points between the 2 events. Fellow junior Kristi Young also qualified for the NAIA Outdoor Championships in both events by finishing second in the hammer (152’ 2”, automatic) and fourth in the discus (135’ 5”, provisional).
Freshman Megan Ilertsen enjoyed the best meet of her brief collegiate career with a surprise victory in her first-ever javelin throw (117’ 6”) competition. She then followed that effort by punching her ticket to the NAIA Outdoor Meet with a third-place showing in the discus (138’ 11”). She closed the day with a fifth in the hammer (137’ 4”), and a ninth in the shot put (33’ 9 ½”).
Freshman Capree Bell continued to dazzle in her rookie season by reaching the provisional NAIA meet standard in the high jump and 100-meter hurdles. She posted a second-place finish in the women’s high jump with a career-best leap (5’ 5”) and then clocked a 14.94 to finish fifth in the hurdles.
The Cougar men took fourth in the 18-team competition, tallying 67 points.
Sophomore Matt Sparks paced the Cougar men by winning the 110-meter high hurdles with a fine early-season time of 14.67, a career-best for him and an NAIA automatic-qualifying time.
NAIA champion Tony Ramirez was second in the 400 meters with an outstanding time of 47.95, the NAIA’s best mark to date in the young outdoor season, while senior Dan Grubbs qualified for the NAIA meet in the javelin after finishing second (185’ 7”).
The men’s 4x100-meter relay of Rob Jarvis, Matt West, Nathaniel Nasca and Brett Bultje clocked 42.67 to also finish second in their respective event. It was the only relay run by either Cougar teams.
Meet host UC San Diego won both the men’s and women’s team competition with 135.5 and 222 points, respectively.
Earlier in the week, a handful of Cougar athletes competed in the Point Loma Nazarene heptathlon/decathlon. Sophomore Morgan Alitzer won the heptathlon with a career-best tally of 4,544 points, 1 point better than her previous best. Freshmen Rachel Johnson and Kjersti Houseman scored 3,659 and 3,634 points, respectively.
On the men's side, junior Brian Bernard scored 6,252 points to come in second in the decathlon. Freshman David Pichler recorded 6,002 points in his first collegiate decathlon.
Azusa Pacific returns to La Jolla this week for a 4-way meet against Point Loma Nazarene, Cal State San Marcos and host UC San Diego. The meet begins at 10 a.m.