Jeremy Porter and the rest of the Cougars end on a high note at the NCAA Division II West Regionals
The Azusa Pacific cross country teams closed out the 2017 season with a great performance at the Division II West Region Championships in Monmouth, Oregon. The men’s team finished in 12th place overall in the 10k race while the women’s team found themselves in 16th in the 6k race.
Senior Jeremy Porter led the men’s team with a time of 30:12.6 and a seventh place finish. Porter stayed with the leaders for the entire race and ended up with only a five second difference between him and a top-five finish.
“We discussed before the race what we wanted to happen, and it pretty much went exactly as planned,” Porter said after the race.
A large pack of runners started out in front and after every mile more runners would fall off from the leading pack.
“It got down to the top five people and I was still there, that’s when they started to move from there and I just gave it everything I could,” Porter said.
Porter’s seventh-place finish may lead to him being selected to race in the NCAA Division II National Championships in Indiana later in the month.
“As I reflect on it even in the slightest way, it’s crazy that I’m in the position that I’m in now. I didn’t start out as a stellar athlete coming in to APU… I’m just grateful to have the opportunity that I have now and hopefully there’s another two weeks [left in the season],” Porter said while reflecting of his four years running for Azusa Pacific.
Senior Cody Drisko finished in 45th place with a time of 31:32.3 in the last race of his collegiate career. Freshmen Nathaniel Tamminga and Mark Field both finished their first collegiate 10k race with top-100 finishes. Tamminga ran 32:17.4 for a 87th place finish while Field finished in 32:26.2 for 96th place.
Sophomore Kurt Hake and freshmen James Logan and Isaiah Madrigal also completed in the last team race of the 2017 season for the Cougars.
The Azusa Pacific women’s team was led by freshman Jenna Wilson who clocked a time of 22:02.6 for a 32nd place finish in the 6k race. Junior Elise Larson was the second Cougar to finish with a time of 22:20.2 and a 50th place finish.
“I think overall our team really stepped forward and conquered all these different conditions that we had today. I think we really stepped up to the plate today figuring we had nothing to lose so we would just run for each other and try to beat our times,” Wilson said.
Sophomore Isabelle Moran ran a time of 22:59.9 to claim a 86th place finish and was the third Cougar to finish, while juniors Taylor Hurlock ran 23:54.3 and Brooke Caravello ran a 24:03.8 to help the Cougars finish 16th overall.
Freshman Natali Contreras and sophomore Carly Halm rounded out the APU women’s team this weekend.
“We came here [to Regionals] last year and just had awful races. We pride ourselves in being a program that runs well at championship meets, so wanted to redeem ourselves a little bit and show that we might have had a bad meet last year, but that’s not who we are,” head coach Preston Grey said.
Grey praised both teams on meeting their goals with overall placement and also the individuals for stepping up to the challenge at such a large stage.
“We’re a program that runs up to our abilities at a championship race and I think we can move forward and build on that.”
The NCAA will announce the selections for 2017 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships on Monday, which will be held on Nov. 18 in Evansville, Ind.