Men’s Track Records Strong Performances At Oxy Duals

With the promise of a relaxing week off from classes, organized practices, racing, and one another, the men of the Pomona-Pitzer track and field team traveled via white van and Sagecoach to picturesque Eagle Rock, Los Angeles two weeks ago for their last track meet before spring break.

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In the afternoon, Occidental College hosted the second annual Oxy/P-P Dual Meet; in the evening, the event transitioned into the Occidental Distance Carnival, with distance runners from many schools and clubs throughout the L.A. area competing in addition to the two SCIAC rivals.

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The men’s competition left athletes’ and spectators’ nails unbitten, with the Tigers prevailing easily over the Sagecocks by a score of 90 to 51. While a number of strong performances highlighted the meet for P-P, the lack of throwers, an injured captain, and most distance runners competing in only one event cost the team a chance at the much-coveted banner awarded to the winning program.

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Six P-P athletes managed to beat out Oxy’s best in seven different events, six of which were on the track and one on the field. Michael Grier PO ’11 won the high jump in a season best 6 feet 0.75 inches, a monstrous seven-inch improvement from the week before, and the number-two height recorded in SCIAC this year. He also placed second in the triple jump for three more much-needed points.

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With Ryan Meyer PO ’12, the team’s top quarter-miler in recent years, out with an injury sustained in the previous week’s competition, Pomona freshman Gregory Hook stepped up to the challenge, winning the event by more than a second in an impressive 50.96—a personal best, and a performance that improved Hook to 8th in the conference this year.

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Jack Lewis PO ’12, the two-time defending SCIAC high-hurdle champion, held off his nearest competition from Eagle Rock in both the 110-meter hurdles and the 100-meter dash, clocking times of 15.81 and 11.20, respectively, and scoring a vital 10 points for the Hens. While both times were significantly off his lifetime bests, Lewis seems to be continuing his habit of lulling his rivals into a false sense of security with average times before taking home SCIAC titles in late April to their shock and dismay.

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With over 250 men from countless clubs and colleges in the area competing in the evening Distance Carnival, no P-P distance runner managed to cross the line in first overall; but, as the distance races were included in the scoring of the afternoon’s dual meet, several runners were able to place in front of Oxy’s number one and, in doing so, score five points for the team.

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In the 1,500, Colin Flynn PZ ’12 ran an inspired 3:58.31 for ninth overall out of 89 runners, and more importantly clocking his fastest metric mile since his SCIAC win almost two years ago. The Pitzer junior was followed by Hale Shaw PZ ’12 and, competing during the day, James Muller PO ’13 in 4:09.11 and 4:16.48 respectively, giving the Hens a 1-2-3 finish over Oxy.

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The 5,000-meter run was perhaps the most competitive race of the evening, with 96 men completing the event in times ranging from a stunning 13:49 to a pedestrian 20:38 (4:27 to 6:39 mile pace). Alex Johnson PZ ’13 rolled through the twelve-and-a-half lap race in a season best, personal best, and P-P season best for the second straight weekend, crossing the line in 15:17.90 for 25th overall, almost 30 seconds ahead of Oxy’s top runner.

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Anders Crabo PO ’12 hit a provisional qualifying mark for Nationals in the steeplechase (as boldly predicted and quoted in this author’s article two weeks ago) at the Distance Carnival for the second year in a row, this time stopping the clock in 9:22.56, placing fifth out of 37. The provisional mark was the first for a P-P athlete this spring, though Lewis, Flynn, and Johnson all appear to be slowly approaching the quick times needed in their respective events to punch their tickets to Ohio in late May for Nationals.

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The Sagehens’ next competition is this weekend, March 26 and 27, at the California/Nevada Championships, hosted by CMS. The meet includes many of the top runners, throwers, and jumpers in all divisions from across the two spooning states. With such a high level of competition, the two-day meet presents an excellent opportunity for the top P-P athletes to go for qualifying times, distances, and heights for Nationals.

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