APU Track and Field continued their program’s success, adding five All-Americans
Azusa Pacific’s track and field teams finished a successful weekend at the NCAA Division II Indoor National Championships on Saturday. The Cougars were confident headed into the tournament, and that confidence paid off as the women’s team finished 10th overall, and both of the men’s athletes finished in the top-10 in their events.
Head coach Jack Hoyt, who is in his first year with the program, was confident in his team headed into the competition, but was also just excited to see how well his athletes performed in the circumstances.
“Looking at this meet, it’s kind of exciting with the women’s team because two people have the potential to score in events, Nicole [Warwick] and Eileen [Stressling], so I’m really looking forward to seeing how they respond to the pressure,” Hoyt said. “Eileen has been there and done it as an experienced All-American. Nicole, being a freshman, maybe she’ll be really relaxed and have no worries because she is a freshman. So that’ll be fun to watch how that all goes down.”
His praise didn’t stop with the women’s team, however. Hoyt continued to note that, although there were only two men’s athletes that would be competing, they were also expected to do well.
“The men, we’ve got a couple experienced guys with James [Jones] and Miles [Poullard]. I know they both want to win the thing, and I know they both could win. It’s just going to take handling the pressure and being focused on what we’ve been working on and those guys could represent APU really well,” Hoyt said.
Senior Miles Poullard, who competed in the high jump events, noted that he was ready to go out and win and leave his mark at APU.
“It’s going to be a nice, tough field for me, and that’s what I like. I always jump my best when I’m against tough guys, so I’m just ready to go win. That’s been my goal since I got cleared from my injury. I just want to win and be the first indoor high jump champion and leave my mark at APU before I graduate.”
The Cougars would leave Pittsburg, Kansas with five All-Americans. Senior Eileen Stressling finished second in the 5,000 meters and seventh in 3,000 meters, freshman Nicole Warwick placed seventh in long jump, and second in the Pentathlon, and senior Jacky Chasteler finished seventh in women’s weight throw. For the men, senior James Jones finished eighth in men’s shot-put and Poullard finished tied for sixth place in men’s high jump.
With the indoor season in the books, the Cougars have their eyes set on continuing their success into outdoor season.
“It’s a different game plan for outdoor. The name of the game is progression. We’re going to keep progressing,” Poullard said.
Azusa Pacific has just a short rest ahead of them, as they will be competing in two meets in two weeks. On March 17, the Cougars will head down to Point Loma for the Ross & Sharon Irwin Collegiate Scoring Meet. The following weekend, Azusa Pacific will head to the UC Riverside for the Spring Track Classic.