Azusa Pacific relied on splash in the field and depth on the track to sweep the men’s and women’s titles of the sixth annual Pacific West Conference Track & Field Championship at Franson Field Saturday afternoon.
It’s the fourth straight year the Cougars have swept both crowns, though these titles might have come with more fret than the prior ones.
The Cougars won nine of 16 field events, including five-of-eight in the men’s competition, tossed in a victory in the men’s decathlon, and then leaned into third, fourth- and fifth-place finishes in the races to keep all challengers at bay.
“There’s a little pressure in a four-peat because you don’t want the streak to end,” said Azusa Pacific head coach Jack Hoyt. “It was a tough one, and for the men I was a little surprised because Academy of Art came after us with a great team, with the best sprint corps in all of Division II. We relied on a lot of guys getting into the finals to displace other teams’ points. I believed that if our great athletes on the women’s side did what they were capable of doing, the championship would be ours. And they did.”
In all, Azusa Pacific collected just three victories on the track. Freshmen shined for both teams, including rookie Mechaela Hyacinth, the Saint Lucian speedster clocking the second fastest 100 metres race in Azusa Pacific history, winning the event in 11.61 seconds. That time is the third fastest effort by an NCAA DII woman this year.
What’s more impressive about her 100 time is that less than an hour earlier she teamed with senior Jazmine Robertson to lead the Cougars’ 4x100m relay to a season-best time of 46.76 and a second-place finish.
Hyacinth closed out her day with a sixth-placed showing in the 200 metres with 24.75, while Robertson was second with a 24.21.
In the prelims, though, Hyacinth ran a personal-best 24.27.
Her previous PB’s were 11.71 for the 100 earlier in April at Claremont, California, and 24.54 for the 200 in a home meet, also in April.
The Cougar women tallied 204.5 points to out-distance second-place Point Loma, which had 153 points, and third-place Fresno Pacific, which finished with 135 points. Azusa Pacific won six women’s individual events, four in the field, two on the track.
In the end, Azusa Pacific’s men registered 218 points to collect the team title, while Academy of Art was second with 179 points.
Concordia finished third with 136 points.