A crowd gathers at the track on a sunny yet blustery Saturday in mid-February. Is it a jamboree of underclassmen parents congregating for one of the many organized Parents’ Weekend events? No, it is the famed and eagerly-anticipated Pomona-Pitzer All-Comers Meet.
After over a month of preparation, the PPTF women were yearning for some competition. While the All-Comers Meet is not scored, it was the perfect chance for the lady tracksters to shake out their legs and overcome some early-season jitters. Despite the low-key nature of the event, there were some stunning performances, likely inspired by the re-emergence of coach Kirk Reynolds’s classic straw hat, the iconic symbol of P-P Women’s Track and Field.
Two such performances came from Katie Barton PO ’15 and Erin Delaria PO ’15. Barton, originally from Lafayette, CA, competed strongly in her first collegiate meet, winning the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:08.11 in an elegant yet aggressive performance. Delaria also competed in the event, coming in third, but her more impressive performance was in the pole vault. While Delaria had cleared ten feet during practice, she had yet to clear the mark in a meet. She easily cleared the mark last Saturday, coming in fifth, prompting Reynolds to name her “field athlete of the meet” at practice the following Monday.
Reynolds named Kathleen Shea PO ’12 the “track athlete of the meet.” After being seeded in the third heat of the mile and sitting out the previous two track seasons due to shin injuries, Shea ran a surprising 5:34.90, beating the rest of the competitors in the heat and other consistently strong PPTF runners. Claire Brickson PO ’14 and Leslie Canter PZ ’12 ran 5:37.26 and 5:40.96, respectively, in the second heat. Brickson, Canter and Kayla Eland PZ ’12 also had notable performances in the 3000-meter race. Brickson finished with an outstanding pre-season time of 10:55.09, placing her 15th in the first heat, which was won by an ultra-fit, 40-year-old grade-school teacher. Canter and Eland finished second and fourth in the second heat.
Dot Silverman PO ’14, previously known for her success in the 800-meter race last season, also performed well. Silverman decided to take a season off, not competing in cross country in the fall. However, to the relief of Coach Reynolds and the rest of the track ladies, Silverman has returned as a sprinter convert. She easily transitioned from the longer distance races to the 200- and 400-meter dashes, finishing second in her section in the 200 and fifth overall in the 400 with a time of 1:02.54.
There was a noticeable lack of performances in throwing events due to the fact that all the womens’ throwers were busy playing in their final basketball game of the season for the P-P Women’s basketball team. They will be ready to go for the next meet at CMS March 3 against Redlands and Whittier.
The P-P All-Comers Meet turned out to be an optimistic start for the PPTF women.
“We have a lot of work to still do, but we are forming a great team, and we’re headed into the team-scored meets, which will test our resolve. I’m very optimistic about our team’s chances,” Reynolds said.
In addition to team success, the athletes are excited about the prospect of a more tightly-knit team. While the distance runners have always been close due to their time spent together during the cross country season in Pendleton pool on aqua-jogging Mondays, the sprinter ladies have excitedly reported that this year’s group is very close socially. One theory holds that this team’s unity results from overwhelming participation in cut-off Fridays and the founding of Technicolor Tuesdays. Whatever the reason, the women tracksters are looking forward to a successful—even legendary—season.