APU men’s and women’s winter sports teams all experienced several victories last year and are on track to add more accolades this season.
Men’s basketball ended their pre-season on a high with four consecutive wins. The two latest victories occurred during the Northwest Nazarene Tournament in Nampa, Idaho during Thanksgiving break. Compared to last year’s pre-season, APU is off to a better start, so fans can look forward to the Cougars’ growing momentum as the season continues. Also, the team was voted by the PacWest Conference as pre-season favorites to win the conference title.
The Cougars had their conference opener on Dec. 1 in an away game against Holy Names (81-52). The first conference home game will be on Dec. 7 against Concordia. Other notable matchups include a week in Hawaii where they’ll face Hawai’i Hilo, Hawaii Pacific and Chaminade. Then on Jan. 25, APU will have its anticipated rivalry home game against Biola, a team that the Cougars defeated in all three games against them last season.
The conference finale will take place on Feb. 26. As they did last season, the Cougars take on Concordia. Although last season the team lost to Concordia, falling just short of the conference title, their efforts went onto take them up to the NCAA West Regional Championships where they fell by one point to #8 Alaska Fairbanks in overtime.
APU women’s basketball team has also had a successful preseason with five wins and two losses so far. Though they lost their first game, the girls made a comeback with a three-game winning streak and closed out the preseason with a win over Westminster during the Azusa Pacific Thanksgiving Classic.
The women’s team also had their first conference game on Dec. 1 against Holy Names. Repeating the same success from last year’s opener, they won with a 38 point lead 77-39.
Overall, the women’s team had an incredible season last year, winning the Pacwest Tournament. They also had a successful run during the West region semifinal before falling to #1 Cal State East Bay. Judging off of pre-season and last year’s performances, it will be an exciting conference season that APU students will not want to miss!
Women’s Swim and Dive
APU’s women’s swim and dive team was established in 2007. Since then, the team has only strengthened their competitive edge. Their last season was a historic one. For the first time, the team had the two top swimmers in the PCSC championships. Additionally, the girls placed third in the PCSC, tying their best ever finish.
During the NCAA Swim and Dive Championships, Amy Crayne placed fifth in the 1-meter dive competition and the team placed 22nd. Both were program bests for swim and dive, and the latter was the top score out of the division two teams from the PCSC Conference.
It was diving coach Jim Luci’s first season with the girls last season. He proved himself to be a good fit, earning Dive Coach of the Meet during the PCSC championships.
Coach Tim Kyle said the last season was one of the best yet, and they have continued to ride off of this success. So far, the team is undefeated and soaring over their opponents in each meet. Looking ahead, their next meet will be at Westmont on Dec. 3. Then they will be swimming in Azusa’s Slauson Pool against Biola for the Alumni meet. Following that, the girls will face off against Pepperdine before heading into the PCSC Championships from Feb. 8 to Feb. 11.
Men and Women’s Track and Field
Men’s and women’s indoor track kicks off their season in Missouri on Dec. 9 at the Mel Tjeerdsma Classic. The season will take the Cougars all across the county as they compete in New Mexico, Nebraska, Massachusetts and Virginia for those who qualify for the NCAA Division Two Indoor Nationals on March 10 to March 11.
A highlight from last season for the men’s team was when Jeremel Jone became division two’s long jump national champion after a winning final jump. On the women’s side, they had a thrilling and historic moment when they achieved the school’s highest NCAA indoor finish at third place.
For those looking to cheer on the men’s and women’s track team, they may have to wait for more local meets in California during the outdoor season, which kicks off on Feb. 18. Nonetheless, supporters can look forward to seeing what records and personal bests these athletes earn during the indoor season and beyond.