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SPORTSCOPE : Azusa Pacific Track Team Seeks Fifth Consecutive GSAC Title

The Azusa Pacific University men’s track and field team will bid for an unprecedented fifth consecutive title when it competes in the Golden State Athletic Conference championships at 10 a.m. Saturday in Azusa.

The Cougars, who finished second in the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics Indoor Championships on March 2 in Kansas City, are expected to receive their most difficult challenge from Point Loma Nazarene.

Azusa has been led by twins Davidson and Osmond Ezinwa in the sprints, Jason Wyatt and Ryan McCann in the weight events and Benjamin Koech in the long and triple jumps.

The Cougars also figure to battle Point Loma for the women’s title. Azusa won titles in 1987 and 1989 and Point Loma in 1988 and 1990.

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Azusa, which finished second last year, will rely on strong performances from Latrese Johnson in the high jump and Jenee Ellis in the mile. Johnson is three-time defending indoor champion in the high jump.

The Azusa Pacific baseball team, a perennial NAIA District 3 power, had a seven-game winning streak going into this week’s action.

Azusa (10-3) has a nonconference game against visiting Chapman at 2:30 p.m. today. As a team the Cougars are batting .354.

Outfielders Chris Garife, who is batting .447, and Chris Hanna, who is batting .429 with a team-leading five home runs and 15 runs batted in, are the team’s offensive leaders. Second baseman Eric Jeffres at .395 and first baseman Todd Patino at .333 also rank among the team batting leaders.

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Patino, a senior, was named District 3 player of the week last week after going nine for 13 with eight RBIs as the Cougars won four games.

After today’s game against Chapman, Azusa visits Point Loma Nazarene for a double-header at noon Saturday and returns home to play single games against Westmont at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and Pacific of Oregon at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Mt. San Antonio College will play host to the largest community college invitational swimming meet in Southern California on Friday and Saturday.

Twenty six teams will compete in the Mountie Invitational including Saddleback, Long Beach City College, L.A. Valley, Citrus, Pasadena, Rio Hondo, Chaffey and the host Mounties.

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The Mt. San Antonio men’s squad is expected to be particularly strong this season with the return of sophomores Javier Obando in the 200-yard backstroke, Jamie Herrera in one-meter diving and Lincoln Brown in the 200-yard butterfly.

Top newcomers for the Mounties include Juan Rojas, a freshman from Costa Rica in the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, and Steve English, a freshman from Wilson High of Hacienda Heights in the 100 butterfly.

The Cal Poly Pomona women’s softball team, coming off three wins over UC Santa Barbara and New Mexico last week, will host Nevada Las Vegas in a nonconference double-header at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Broncos (8-16) have been led on offense by senior utility player Nicky Luce, who is batting .274 with four RBIs. The team’s top pitcher has been sophomore Bonnie Ebenkamp, who is 4-6 with a 1.22 earned-run average.

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Senior Matt Burns of Azusa Pacific, a 6-foot-5 forward, has been named to the All-Golden State Athletic Conference squad by a vote of coaches.

Burns was fourth in the conference in scoring at 18.5 and first in free-throw percentage at 94.1.


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