Saturday, April 26, the final day of the weekend-long NCATA National Championships, the Azusa Pacific Cougars faced off against defending national champion Oregon. Although the Cougars fought hard in front of a home crowd of more than 2,000 screaming fans, APU lost a heartbreaker by a final score of 290.825 to 282.600.
“They [Oregon] were at the top of their game. I don’t know if they made a mistake, they were amazing,” head coach Colleen Kausrud said. “Honestly, they were so impressive; even if we had been perfect, they still probably would have beat us and I’m OK with that because they were that good. They beat us. It’s hard to swallow, but they beat us.”
To start the weekend, Azusa Pacific brought home five national championships in individual events. Leading the way claiming three individual titles was sophomore base Ahnaliese Spitzer, who scored a 10 to win the aerial tumbling championship. Senior flyer Jessica Laughton and sophomore base/back Emily Sanchez added to the national championship titles by bringing in two of their own along with being named to the NCATA All-America Team.
Leading up to the championship matchup, the Cougars easily defeated Gannon by a score of 283.225 to 263.300 and followed with a win over Quinnipiac by a score of 284.725 to 278.140.
During the title faceoff, APU had near-perfect performances through the first half and only trailed 96.90 to 98.65. But in the second half, the Ducks proved why they are the No. 1 team, pulling away from Azusa Pacific by sealing the victory in the final team event, outscoring the Cougars 103.45 to 97.65.
“I’ve never had a team that’s been able to just bring it in and pull it out,” Kausrud said. “They are just all over the place at practice; to come together and work together and be as strong as they have been all season is awesome.”
Azusa Pacific closes the season ranked No. 2 in the nation with a 7-3 record.