Azusa Pacific adds to their illustrious track history with another championship.
It was a historic day last weekend in Virginia Beach at the NCAA Division II Indoor National Championship when Azusa Pacific’s women’s track team finished fourth overall. Junior multi-event athlete Nicole Warwick contributed to the Cougars’ hardware collection by bringing home the national championship in the pentathlon.
The finish marks the APU’s second consecutive placement at indoor nationals after placing third overall in 2022. In addition to their podium placement, the Cougars had five All-American finishers, including Warwick, junior Alysa Henry in the pentathlon, freshman Esther Conde-Turpin in 60-meter hurdles, sophomore Alayna Verner in the 400 meters and sophomore Kiayra Holmes in the 4×400 relay.
Warwick’s 4,066 points scored in the pentathlon placed her second all-time in school history and set a new personal record. Entering the event, Warwick was ranked first in the pentathlon and had prior experience competing at nationals after finishing second in 2018 as a freshman.
Upon realizing she had won the national championship, Warwick reflected on her hard work and was thankful for those who helped her along the way.
“I really just was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude. It’s been a long journey and I was thinking about what I’ve experienced and gone through over the last few years. In that moment I was overwhelmed with thankfulness towards God for never giving up on me, and towards my athletic community and family for supporting me throughout everything,” she said.
Her performance not only secured her a championship, but also a spot in Cougar athletic history. Warwick earned her status as a 10-time All-American, becoming only the 15th athlete in APU history to do so.
“It’s fun to know that I’ll be in APU history! It brings a sense of pride and accomplishment outside of just myself. It kinda shows me the bigger picture and how I’m only here for a little while so might as well make the most of it,” Warwick said.
She also noted how important her teammates were to her success, specifically in helping manage the stress and expectations of competing at such a high level.
“There was a lot of pressure going into nationals. I knew the other competitors wanted to win just as badly as I did, so I focused on myself and trusted my abilities. It was great having my teammate Alysa there with me, we hyped each other up and kept each other positive throughout the day. I couldn’t have done it without her honestly,” she said.
Her fellow pentathlon All-American, Henry, finished third in the event and set a personal best with 3,964 points scored.
As the Cougars end their indoor season in fourth place with an individual national champion, they now turn their attention to the outdoor track season. Both the men’s and women’s teams will compete next on Saturday, March 18 in the Ross and Sharon Irwin Invitational at Point Loma.