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The Final Tune-Up

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May 15, 2005
Gary Pine
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CLAREMONT, Calif. – In the final competition before the NAIA championship meet, Azusa Pacific enjoyed an outstanding tune-up at the Claremont Classic, posting 29 season bests, including 15 personal records, to give the Cougars an extra boost of confidence heading into the national meet.

However, among the numerous quality marks, none were more critical than Capree Bell’s 4,336 points tallied in the heptathlon, a personal best that launched her back into the top 10 of the NAIA and back into the national championship meet. Bell lost her spot for the NAIA meet just 2 weeks ago and was forced to compete in another heptathlon to hopefully gain a score that would put her back into the NAIA meet. She got that score at Claremont.

Teammate Morgan Altizer, who had already secured her berth in the NAIA hepatathlon, joined Bell to support her in the heptathlon, but in the process she tallied the best score in the NAIA this season, 4,790 points, the fourth best score in Azusa Pacific history. Altizer also cleared a personal-best 11’ 11 ¾” for the third best pole vault in program history.

In the throws, All-American Barbara Sugar tightened her hold on the NAIA’s top mark in the hammer with a season-best heave of 182’ 8.” Fellow junior Kristi Young went 158’ 4” in the hammer to improve her position as well.

On the men’s side, sophomore Peter Sherman posted a 6-second PR in the steeplechase with a 9:25.2, a top-10 effort in the NAIA this year.

Cougar decathletes Brian Bernard and David Pichler sharpened their marks in several events and have put themselves in prime positions to garner All-America status in the decathlon in 2 weeks. At Claremont, Bernard posted season-bests in the 100 (11.36), long jump (22’ 0 1/4”), high jump (6’ 7 1/2”), shot put (37’ 6 3/4”) and pole vault (15’ 11 3/4”). Pichler recorded improved marks in the 100 (11.45), 110-meter hurdles (14.79), high jump (5’ 8 ¾”) and shot put (41’ 1”).

The Claremont Classic was the last chance for Azusa Pacific to qualify athletes for the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The Cougars take next week off and then head to Louisville, Ky., for the NAIA meet which will be held on the campus of the University of Louisville, May 26-28.