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SPORTSSCOPE : Azusa Pacific Gridders Try to Crack Their Road-Trip Jinx Against Menlo

November 05, 1987

The Azusa Pacific University football team has traveled to Northern California two times this season with the same result--losses to Humboldt State and St. Mary's.

The Cougars are hoping that their third trip north is a little more successful. But they do not have an easy opponent in Menlo at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Atherton.

Menlo has a 5-2 record and the Oaks have been ranked in the NCAA Division III top 20 most of the season. Menlo's only losses have been on the road against Division II schools Sonoma State and St. Mary's.

Azusa Pacific, struggling through a 2-6 season, hasn't had much success against Northern California teams this year regardless of the location. The Cougars dropped a 20-7 decision to then-winless San Francisco State last week in Azusa.

Trailing 13-7 with less than a minute remaining, Azusa Pacific drove to the San Francisco 42 only to have a pass by quarterback Rich Jimenez intercepted and returned 63 yards for the game-clinching touchdown.

Azusa has struggled on offense but the Cougar defense has played well, led by sophomore linebacker Jeff Gustin (6-1, 220). The former Charter Oak High standout leads the team in tackles with 81.

In other games matching four-year colleges at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Claremont-Mudd (3-4) hosts Redlands (1-6), Occidental (4-2-1) visits Pomona-Pitzer (2-5) and La Verne (1-5) hosts Whittier (4-4).

After winning three of its first four games and being ranked No. 12 in Division III, Claremont-Mudd has stumbled to three straight losses. But the Stags, who have won three of four Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference games, are tied for the conference lead with Occidental.

Claremont was shut out by Occidental, 17-0, last week after defeating Occidental, 33-30, in overtime in October. But Claremont has a good chance to rebound against a Redlands team that has lost its last five games.

Claremont still has the top rushing attack in the conference led by senior running back Chris Dabrow. He ran for 130 yards in 21 carries last week and has run for 1,021 yards and 9 touchdowns in 193 carries for the season. Dabrow's average of 145.9 yards a game is the best in Division III.

Occidental has a strong rushing attack. Against Claremont the Tigers were led by running back Tim Carlson's 135 yards in 35 carries. They have two other fine running backs in Mike Sandlin, who is second in the conference in rushing, and George Conahey.

Pomona-Pitzer will counter with the passing attack of wide receiver Dan Daley and quarterback Ed Irick. Daley, a junior, leads the conference with 48 receptions for 580 yards and 3 touchdowns and holds the school career record for receptions with 159.

After winning the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. title for the first time, the Cal State Los Angeles men's cross-country team will be favored in the NCAA Division II West Regionals on Saturday in Seattle.

"We're just taking our briefcases--it's just business this week," Cal State Coach John Tansley said. "I think we're certainly favored to win, but we're just going to qualify for nationals. We're definitely a national contender."

The Golden Eagles won the conference meet last week behind the first-place finish of junior Benny Cruz who posted a fast five-mile time of 25:15 despite running on a rain-soaked course at Cal State Northridge and second- and third-place finishes from Rob Arsenault and Martine Sandoval.

"I knew we'd have three of the top five finishers, but the sweep surprised me," Tansley said. "I felt pretty good when they went by the four-mile mark 1-2-3."

Among the top opponents for the Golden Eagles on Saturday are sixth-ranked Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, No. 10 Sacramento State, No. 12 UC Davis and No. 13 Cal State Northridge.

The Golden Eagles also figure to finish among the leaders in the women's division behind former San Gabriel High standout Sylvia Mosqueda and Gretchen Lohr.

Competing without Mosqueda at the CCAA finals last week, Cal State still finished third behind favorites San Luis Obispo and Northridge. San Luis Obispo, ranked No. 1 in Division II, and Northridge, ranked No. 2, are the favorites in Saturday's meet.

The Golden Eagles, ranked No. 4 in Division II, received an outstanding effort from Lohr at the CCAA meet. She placed sixth in a 5-K time of 18:31.

Three players from the San Gabriel Valley have earned honorable mention on the 1987 Street and Smith's Basketball Prep All-American team.

Senior Brian Hendrick of Diamond Bar received high honorable mention and junior forward Tracy Murray of Glendora and senior forward Wayne Womack of Muir were accorded honorable mention.

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