First-Years Boost Women’s Track at Oxy

On Friday, March 11, the stage at Occidental’s Bill Henry Track was once again set for blistering sunburns and a vicious annual rivalry: the Oxy/P-P Dual Meet, followed by the Occidental Distance Carnival. The P-P women’s track and field squad showed up in full force, ready for a showdown.

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In the unique format of a dual meet, two teams—in this case, Oxy and P-P—go head-to-head with field events, sprints, and sparse distance races from mid-morning until early afternoon. The dueling typically ends around four, when athletes in uniforms ranging from yellow-and-black bee suits to pink sports-bra-and-matching-shoes outfits take to the field. Tents pop up out of nowhere like fortresses for the competitors: Pasadena City College, Los Angeles Trade Technical Institute, Southern Utah University, Alaska Anchorage, SOKA, CMS. The distance carnival begins with the 1,500-meter race and ends with the 10-kilometer race, which starts at 9:45 p.m.

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This year, the Hens ran some spectacular races, from morning until late into the night.

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“I’ve been really impressed by the freshmen,” Pitzer senior and co-captain Anja Hughes-Stinson said. “They’re pretty fast. And fresh. But fast, mostly.”

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At the Dual Meet, sprinter Hanna Levin PO ’14 shone in her 100-meter race. Coming in third place, Levin shot from the blocks at the start of the gun. Pushing through the middle 50 meters and finishing with a strong kick, Levin was close behind the top two Oxy finishers. Levin left the track with a trademark smile.

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Later that evening Pomona first-years Claire Brickson and Dot Silverman worked their own magic in the 1,500-meter race. Beneath the bright lights of Henry Track, the girls raced each lap with deliberate steps and the focus of a prowling cougar.

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“It’s just a really fun race,” Brickson said. “Being out there, under the lights, you can’t help but feel fast.”

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Brickson did more than feel fast. Posting a 4:55:12, she finished 21st in a group of over 80 women from across the country. Close behind Brickson with a time of 4:56:04, Dot Silverman hurdled across the finish line in 24th.

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“It was a good start,” Silverman said. “It was my first race back, so I’m looking forward to getting back into the competition.”

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Silverman has been sidelined for the past few weeks with a hamstring injury. Since rejoining the ranks of the competing members of P-P women’s track, Silverman has resigned her post on the team’s cheerleading squad.

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The P-P team is thrilled to have such a strong contingent of frosh, but there is one arena from which the young blood is missing.

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“We’re trying to recruit some more people to run the 10k with us!” Pitzer junior Kayla Eland said. “It’s a really good time when you have people to run with.”

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Eland and Kate Brieger PO ’11 were two of 58 men and women who circled the track 25 times. Beneath the spotlights, the two ran together, shoulder to shoulder, for the first four miles: two pairs of neon-orange, polyester breezy shorts keeping a solid pace and shooting smiles to the sidelines as they passed enthusiastic teammates shouting cheers meant to inspire, and cheers meant to distract.

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“I told them not to cheer every lap,” Eland said, “there are just so many.” But the girls had the yodels of fellow distance runners, many of whom ran with Brieger and Eland during the fall cross-country season, on their side.

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“There’s no way I’d leave before this,” Alana Shine PO ’14 said. “It’s the least we can do. We’re not running that thing!”

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Toward the end of the race, Brieger and Eland separated, beginning to pick up their paces and start the actual racing part of the event. As runners began to disappear off the track, Brieger pulled ahead and in the final two laps moved up, finishing her 10 kilometers in 40:05:91. This month’s race was the second time Brieger ran the event, the last time being three years ago during her freshman year.

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Eland powered through the finish line soon after Brieger, clocking a 40:30:04 race without even stopping to catch her breath as she trotted off the track to start her cool down.

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“I’m so happy it’s over!” she said.

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Both athletes will run the same race at the California and Nevada Track and Field Championship Meet this weekend. The meet is hosted by CMS at Burns Track and will run Saturday through Sunday.

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