Early Saturday afternoon, beneath a resplendent azure sky at Pomona’s sumptuous Strehle track, Tommy Faust of Concordia launched his 800-gram javelin south-southwest through the air, toward the stars.
The javelin, in glorious flight over the infield, sailed above the 24th Annual Pomona-Pitzer Track and Field Invitational and the fans, athletes, parents, coaches, and officials of which it consists.
On the backstretch of the light-blue rubberized surface, Reily Janson PI ’10 sprinted by, approximately 560 meters into his race but with 240 left to go, something of a grimace beginning to creep across his face, perceptible less in his mouth than in his eyes, colored and foreshadowed by every 800-meter race—and the pain inherent therein—run before, on his way to a third place finish but, more importantly, a time of 1:52.33, provisionally qualifying him for nationals and making him the third-fastest Division 3 800-meter runner in the country this season.Pacing pointedly across the infield, clipboard in hand, stopwatch dangling neatly about his neck, sunglasses hiding any trace of who knows which emotion his eyes might otherwise betray, Head Coach Tony Boston made his way past the high-jump, the shot put, the results board, and over to the finish line, busy no doubt with the minutiae of running a high-caliber meet for hundreds of athletes from near and far, conscious of all around him and, in the javelin’s case, above.
Just east of the track , surrounded by fans and athletes from myriad schools and clubs, Scott Cherhoniak PI ’13 bounded down the runway, building speed for his third attempt at the triple jump, focused entirely on the execution of the intricate and technically demanding event, not yet knowing the distance he would cover this time, nor which grains of sand in the pit would fill his shoes after landing, and which ones would not.
In the shade of the white-on-blue Pomona-Pitzer tent—set up on the west side of the track and sandwiched between the tents of Occidental and Biola—his moustache growing fuller, albeit imperceptibly, his mouth open wide, his hands unconsciously clenched into fists, the knuckles whitened, Paul Balmer PO ’12 screamed almost hysterically what only a fellow runner could understand as “Here we go Hens!” at his teammates as they flashed by, his emotion visible to all, all his attention on the runners, not thinking yet of his upcoming 5,000-meter race, which would produce for the young Sagecock a personal record of 15:46.10, and unaware entirely of the javelin arcing overhead and turning downward toward the grass.
Sitting awkwardly with her father on the steeply-sloped hillside on the north end of the track, holding her water bottle in place between her feet so as to avoid its sliding down and away, excited by the charged atmosphere of a collegiate track and field meet, satiated fully from what was left over of the previous-night’s dinner at Walter’s, fan and Pomona-Pitzer family member Abby Enscoe HM ’03 scoured the meet program in depth, first growing confused by and then questioning why a runner would travel all the way to Claremont from Japan to compete with athletes that were, according to their times listed here, far inferior and wouldn’t stand a chance.
Nearby, away from fans’ cheering, the now-dissipated smoke from the starter gun, the easily-audible breathing of competing 800-meter runners, and the still soaring javelin, but still nearby, 400-meter runner Claire McGroder PO ’10 and 800-meter runners Annie Lydens PO ’13, Elena Bradford PO ’10, and Leslie Canter PI ’12 jogged easily about, each by herself, the 400-meter runner cooling down after her season-best 57.01 earned her a provisional time for nationals and made her the third-fastest Division-III 400-meter runner in the country this season, relieved to be done for the day, and the 800-runners warming-up for their soon-to-come races, anxious perhaps, but ready to run fast.
Somewhere in the Midwest, the incandescent sun closer to and more quickly approaching the horizon than in Claremont, a man sat on his home’s porch’s second step’s edge and gazed reflectively out into the distance, his eyes reflecting the sun and his mind reflecting, the blades of grass before him twitching mildly and without nervousness.
Still early Saturday afternoon, still beneath a resplendent azure sky, Tommy Faust’s javelin, after a glorious 2.94 seconds of fighting gravity, wind, and perhaps the stray particle or two of smog, the center of the collective (in)attention of the multiplicity of people present on this day, in this place, at this meet, fell finally from its flight, landing point-first but failing to stick neatly in the ground, reaching a distance from its place of departure of 127 feet and three inches, attaining for its thrower eighth place out of ten in Flight 3 of the men’s javelin at the 24th Annual Pomona-Pitzer Track & Field Invitational.