Azusa Pacific’s track and field has had both a strong indoor and outdoor season thus far, most recently with their success at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on April 8, and the California Collegiate Invitational hosted by UC San Diego on April 1. There, the Cougars placed second in the women’s team standings and third in the men’s.
At the California Collegiate Invitational, APU had a dozen personal-best individual performances with seven marks meeting NCAA provisional qualifying standards. Not included in the Invitational scoring, were seven additional individuals who competed in distance events at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival. This resulted in one additional provisional qualifier from Jeremy Porter in the 10,000 meters.
The team is getting close to the midway point of outdoor qualifying season, with a total of 15 provisional national qualifying marks, including three men’s performances which rank among the national top-12 and five women’s marks among the top-15 nationally.
In the next coming weeks, Azusa Pacific will be hosting the 47th annual Mt. SAC Relays and California Combined Events three-day competition from April 12-14, and the Bryan Clay Invitational on April 13-14, which are the two biggest events of the team’s entire season.
Two Cougar athletes, sophomore Corey Reid and senior Daphne Chambers, have qualified and been selected to participate in the Mt. SAC relays. Reid will compete in the men’s decathlon and Chambers will compete in the women’s heptathlon relays. Both will also compete in the Bryan Clay Invitational.
Reid is preparing for the two events by adjusting his current training schedule to a more intense level.
“There’s a lot of prep work for it,” Corey Reid said. “Our training is different now so that we peak at a certain point. We are working on technical things and getting more speed down for the big event. I’m feeling pretty good. It should be a good meet for me.”
Men’s head coach Kevin Reid anticipates a large turnout of high caliber athletes for the Mt. SAC event, considering it is one of the only home track meets APU has.
“Over this next two to three weeks is really what we’ve been looking at since September. We are hosting some of the best colleges and individual talents in the country,” Kevin Reid said. “So, for them to choose to come here to our meet is a testament to the school and the support we get from the administration.”
After the Mt. SAC event, the track and field team will look forward to the Bryan Clay Invitational shortly after. Mike Barnett, Director of men’s and women’s track and field, is directly in charge of this big event and is helping the team prepare.
“We are in a good place in our training where we are seeing better marks every single week. There’s nothing better than having the home advantage and competing where you train, so I think they’re pretty excited about it,” Barnett said.
Barnett went on to explain the significance and value the Bryan Clay Invitational holds for the Azusa Pacific staff and athletes.
“We’ve got some of the biggest names in most of the events, so we couldn’t be more excited,” Barnett said. “Some of the athletes will compete against Olympians and gold medalists and past world champions. And if they don’t get to compete next, they will get to watch them.”
While these home events are highly anticipated, both Corey Reid and Chambers are looking ahead by putting their efforts towards qualifying and preparing for the PacWest Conference Championships later in the month, and the NCAA Outdoor Nationals, which will take place towards the end of May.
“They are both really ready to go,” Kevin Reid said. “The first thing is to get good solid marks and get us qualified for NCAA’s, because our goal is to get a ticket to the NCAA championships.”