Pomona-Pitzer hosted its All-Comers track and field meet Feb. 19, the first large-scale meet of the season for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and P-P, alongside more than nine other schools.
CMS won a total of eight events, while P-P had six top-3 finishes.
Massimo Bertini CM ’25 was named SCIAC track athlete of the week after winning the 200-meter, 400-meter and 4×400-meter relay events. His times in the 200 and 400 place him in the top-ten CMS all-time records at eighth and fifth, respectively.
“I had said to people before the 200, ‘My goal is to go sub-22. I don’t think I can do it.’” Bertini said. “After the race, it was an amazing feeling to see that those wants had come true.”
He cracked the 22 barrier with an impressive 21.72 ahead of teammate Christian Campbell CM ’23, who finished second at 22.0.
In the men’s 400-meter race, Jake Hallesy PO ’24 scored big for the Sagehens by claiming second.
Bertini’s performance at this meet early in the season has added some pressure — since the qualification period for outdoor track nationals doesn’t begin until March 1, he will have to repeat those times.
“I’m still with everybody else, there’s people right behind me,” he said. “There’s no feeling of ‘I can relax now’ because I know my teammate Jamie [Cockburn CM ’23] also runs a 48 [second 400-meter] and if I ever slack, he’s going to be there.”
Arguably the closest race of the meet was the men’s mile, where Jack Rosencrans PO ’23 led the pack up until the final 120 meters. Daniel Sealand HM ’22 made his move on the final stretch, ultimately finishing .28 seconds ahead of Rosecrans with the fastest mile time ever recorded on P-P’s Strehle track: 4:09.74.
“It’s a confidence builder, for sure,” Sealand said. “But there’s still a lot of work to be done throughout the season.”
Something else made this stadium record special — the previous record holder Evan Molineux CM ’16 was a teammate of Sealand’s older brother, Joshua Sealand HM ’17.
“Knowing my brother and his teammate Evan, it makes it a little more special. I’ve seen the accomplishments that he’s achieved and had a lot of success and to be able to take that record away from him is something I’m proud of,” he said.
Sealand’s older brother currently holds the 1500-meter CMS record. “It’s something I’ve got my eye on this season,” he told TSL with a laugh.
Kai Dettman HM ’23 won the 800-meter with a commanding two-second lead and the fourth all-time fastest time in CMS history: 1:50.39. His time was one of the fastest recorded by any Division III runner this year.
Colin Kirkpatrick PO ’24 led the Sagehen charge in this race, finishing ahead of teammates Oscar Roering PO ’25 and Justin Chiao PZ ’25, who placed third and fourth.
Emily Clarke SC ’22 led a 1-2-3 finish in the 3k race for the Athenas.
“It felt like cross country all over again,” Clarke said. “We work out together, we do most of our runs together. And it’s just always a blast because you never really know who’s gonna take it.”
The Athenas are coming off a program-best finish during cross-country season. Clarke saw this meet as a good place to start after not racing since before the COVID-19 pandemic, like most of the CMS and P-P track athletes,.
“We’re all really, really grateful to have the opportunity to compete after it being so long,” Clarke said.
The Stags also had a 1-2 finish in the 3k with Henry Pick HM ’23 taking gold, followed by Stevie Steinberg HM ’22.
The main feeling on the field was gratefulness to compete, said Jenna Lange PO ’23, who placed second in the mile.
“We’re still in that learning-how-to-compete-again phase,” she said. “And this year especially, that’s been a big transition.”
Lange went into her mile focused on competing and having fun with her teammates, not stressing over times.
It paid off — she tailed the competition for most of the race and made her move on the final lap to ultimately snag second place between two athletes from Biola University. The first through fourth place finishers were separated by just four seconds.
“It was such a positive experience because there was just so much love out there, the track was just lined with Pomona-Pitzer people screaming for Pauline [Steines PO ’25] and I,” Lange said. “I really feel like that race went so well because of how much support was out there.”
That camaraderie was almost palpable among all the teams and athletes.
Bertini’s favorite race to watch on Saturday was when Whittier College’s Cooper Tirado won the 100-meters.
“When we had our first meet there was a kid from Whittier with dyed hair and he was the first kid who approached me and said ‘hi’ from another school,” he said. “Very kind kid. And then he won the 100 [meter]. And seeing that felt amazing, he wasn’t my teammate, but in track even your teammates are still your competition so everybody could be your teammate in the same sense.”
In the women’s 800, Laura Zimmer CM ’24, Megan Maley SC ’23 and Michaela Jones PZ ’24 cracked the top five, placing third, fourth and fifth respectively.
Brooke Simon CM ’23, one of the athletes already nationally ranked and headed to indoor nationals mid-March, earned third place in pole vault.
The Stags scored high in shot put, claiming second and third place with Sarath Kakani CM ’24 and Tyson Saena HM ’23, respectively.
Next up for both teams are the Rossi Relays, to be held Saturday on CMS turf at Burns Track Complex.