The Azusa Pacific University men's track team will try for an unprecedented eighth consecutive title when it competes in the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics championships today-Saturday at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Tex.
The Cougars will be led by senior weight thrower Ade Olukoju, who has won 12 NAIA outdoor and indoor titles in his career. He enters the meet with NAIA bests of 63 feet, 9 1/2 inches in the shot put, 211-3 in the discus and 196-3 in the hammer throw.
Azusa Pacific also has a strong contingent of competitors in the decathlon headed by senior Brian Chapman, who has a season-best 6,691.
Coach Terry Franson said a key to the team's success will be the performance of sophomore Eddie Carbin in the 110-meter high hurdles and long jump.
"I'm hoping he'll combine for a total of about 12 points in the long jump and hurdles," Franson said.
The Cougars will also count on points from Tommy Daniel and Brad Bowden in the hammer throw and Vince Beresford and Eric Whitcomb in the pole vault.
Azusa Pacific is expected to face its toughest challenge for the title since it defeated runner-up Saginaw Valley State of Michigan by 16 points in 1984. Adams State of Colorado, Prairie View of Texas and Oklahoma Baptist should be in title contention.
"We expect a close meet," Franson said. "Because we have a great deal of experience at the national meet, I expect our athletes to come through with flying colors. Whether or not that ends up in a team victory, we'll see after the 1,600-meter relay."
But Franson said the Cougars have little margin for error.
"Overall we can't have any major breakdowns and we need some surprise performances, especially from our people in the relays," he said. "Our four decathletes and four pole vaulters really need to come through strong."
Cal State Los Angeles, which last season had its best record in men's basketball since 1986, has signed players to national letters of intent.
The Golden Eagles, who went 14-14 after a 4-48 record the previous two seasons, have added Jamal Ross and Kelvin Harris from El Camino College, Jermoine Brantley and Aaron Lattimore from Granada Hills High and Craig Martin from St. Monica High in Santa Monica.
Ross and Harris helped El Camino reach the state community college semifinals the past two seasons. Ross is a 6-foot-7 forward and Harris a 6-5 swing man.
Coach Henry Dyer said the pair should help replace forward LaVar Ball and guard Bruce Turner.
Dyer said the signing of Brantley, Lattimore and Martin will improve the team's depth.
Brantley, 5-11, 155-pound guard, earned all-North Valley League first-team honors last season and Lattimore, a 6-4 and 165 forward, was an all-North Valley League second-team selection.
"Brantley is a pure point guard with a good handle on the ball," Dyer said. "He's a nice kid with a lot of heart and is real aggressive. Lattimore is a pretty good shooter and gets a lot of action on the boards."
Dyer, a former running back for the Los Angeles Rams, says he has known about Martin for a long time.
"He has a pretty good first step to the basket and is a pretty good defensive player," Dyer said. "He plays a lot like his dad (James) because I used to play at the recreation center along with his dad when I was playing for the Rams."
The Azusa Pacific women's softball team has placed two players on the all-National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics District 3 first team and three on the second team.
The first-team selections were sophomore infielder Kristi Van Zee and senior outfielder Tiffany Silvey. Van Zee led the district with a .411 average and also had two home runs and 13 RBIs. Silvey was among the leading hitters in the district at .316.
Second-team selections were freshman pitcher Julie Todd, senior catcher Lisa Perry and senior outfielder Stephanie Perdomo. The Cougars (19-19) finished fourth in the district.
After its 12th consecutive winning season, Citrus College (21-20) had three of its players selected to the all-Foothill Conference baseball squad.
The players are sophomore pitcher Ralph Montenegro, freshman outfielder Dave Richards and freshman utility player Mike Collett. Montenegro was 5-2 with a 3.17 earned-run average, Richards batted .329 and Collett batted .353 and was 2-3 with three saves as a pitcher.
Mt. San Antonio College of Walnut has two players on the all-South Coast Conference first team and two on the second team.
First-team selections were freshman outfielder Tony Fusco, who finished fifth in the conference with a .417 average, and freshman designated hitter Marcos Garcia, who was seventh at .380.
The second-team choices were sophomore catcher Alain Duhart, who batted .289, and freshman shortstop John Strycula, who batted .324.
For the third consecutive season, Nicky Luce of Cal Poly Pomona has been named to the all-Big West Conference team in women's softball.
Luce, a junior, received honorable mention as a utility player after a 14-12 record and 0.96 ERA. She also played second base and hit .247. She was the only Bronco named to the squad in Pomona's final season in the conference.
The Broncos, who finished at 34-32 and 16-20 in the Big West, will compete as an independent next season.