Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Pomona-Pitzer won a combined six SCIAC Championships across five sports this fall, the most ever in a single season.
Without a doubt, the most compelling narrative of the SCIAC’s fall season was the historic Cinderella story of Pomona-Pitzer football. Ranked fifth in the beginning of the season, the Sagehens shocked the conference through thrilling comeback victories and a few beatdowns on the back of both elite offense and defense. Ultimately, the underdogs toppled CMS to win their first ever Championship and Nationals berth in joint program history.
Although the team fell to an undefeated Linfield, Adam Camargo PZ ’23, who took home All-SCIAC honors, spoke on what this season meant for the legacy of the Sagehens.
“A lot of credit to our team because we didn’t get lucky,” Camargo said. “These guys worked their butts off all off-season for the past year. This was years in the making. The guys who preceded us were the ones who changed this team. In less than seven years — from a team who’d go 0-9, 0-10 to a SCIAC championship team making the playoffs. So a lot of credit to those older guys who changed the culture and a lot of credit to our team for finishing it out and finally getting that SCIAC championship.”
While the Stags fell to the Sagehens in the Sixth Street rivalry game, knocking them out of Nationals contention, their record gave CMS co-ownership of the SCIAC title. Shutting out several teams on their way to 40-point wins, CMS football was a force to be reckoned with.
Players like All-SCIAC defensive back, Michael Colangelo CM ’23, led the conference’s top-rated defense. Colangelo reflected on how the Stags reached their goals.
“At the end of the day, it still is a conference title, and we shouldn’t hang our heads,” Colangelo said. “That was the big message at the end of the year: we came here to win a conference title. We got that, we got the ring. We’re all very proud of what the team did this year.”
Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Soccer
In the teams’ first-ever tournament match-up, the top-seeded Sagehens won their third straight SCIAC tournament championship Nov. 5, beating No. 3 rival Athenas 3-0. This win earned P-P an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, of which they were semifinalists in 2019, but they ultimately fell to the Trinity (TX) Tigers Nov. 12 in these teams’ second straight first round matchup.
Charlotte Tapp PO ’23 said that despite the ups and downs throughout the season, the team was happy when their hard work paid off in the end.
“We went into the game saying, ‘Don’t panic — just play a really strong game,’” Tapp said. “When the final whistle blew, it was just this really great feeling that all of our hard work really paid off in the season, and we were able to show that in the final game with a pretty big win, so we were super happy.”
After losing only a single set in the regular season, CMS women’s volleyball beat rival Pomona-Pitzer Nov. 5 for their fifth straight SCIAC championship. The undefeated Athenas swept the Sagehens 3-0 in the rivals’ third match-up this fall. Continuing CMS’s incredible season, the win added a 28th victory to its perfect record and gave it an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament. Unfortunately, the Athenas’ dream season ended when they were eliminated in their first loss of the season Nov. 12 to Trinity (TX) in the NCAA Regional Semifinals, which they hosted at Roberts Pavilion.
According to Brenna Bell CMC ’25, the sixth street rivalry face-off during the SCIAC finals gave the Athenas extra motivation.
“Winning the SCIAC was a really big deal, obviously, and doing it several years in a row is something that we like to carry with us,” Brenna said. “But I think it carried a little extra weight this year considering we were playing P-P for the SCIAC title, and I think that was really special
Pomona-Pitzer Men’s Cross Country
The Sagehens followed up their 2021 National Championship with another impressive season. Sweeping the podium, they dominated the SCIAC Championship race, giving them the momentum to take home the title at the NCAA DIII West Regionals competition. The team went on to finish fifth at Nationals.
Lucas Florsheim PO ’24, who won Regionals and came in second at the SCIAC Championship, looked back on the season as a whole.
“We were completely transparent about wanting to win the national championship for the third straight time,” Florsheim said. “It didn’t really come together at Nationals for whatever reason … So I think the guys were pretty disappointed. But I’d say that when we were talking about it, none of us were crushed by losing, which I think shows that we’re in it not just to win the championship … I think it was a good reminder that you’re capable of what you’re capable of, and that’s something to be proud of.”
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Women’s Cross Country
CMS women’s cross country earned its 12th consecutive SCIAC championship and their 31st total on Oct. 29. Despite their continued success, winning the title was no easy feat to accomplish. The runners-up in the race, the rival Sagehens trailed the Athenas by just 12 points. However, CMS was confident going into the race, after USTFCCCA ranked them fourth in the nation and they finished first at the Pomona-Pitzer Invite on Oct. 8. Following their SCIAC win, the Athenas continued to dominate, ultimately placing 10th at the NCAA championship Nov. 19.
Anika Kimme CM ’23 said that despite the team’s continual success, CMS works hard to stay humble.
“Our goal every year is to defend the title. Pomona-Pitzer always gives us a great run, but I think that we were confident that it was very possible to defend the title,” Kimme said. “It was our 12th year in a row, but we never want to go in assuming that we’ll win or taking it for granted.”