“The meet was… stupendous,” said Coach Kirk Reynolds to the distance crew during practice March 5 after last weekend’s meet against Whittier and Redlands. Though he did not specify why, there are many reasons why a simple dual meet could have been so spectacular. Was it because it was the first clear, 80-degree day? No; the 5K competitors would likely argue that the heat actually detracted from the pleasantness of the meet. Was it because the ladies came out with a win against Whittier 96-63, and the meet was also the first in years that a P-P woman athlete competed in every event? Ah, yes. That is more like it.
The meet kicked off on the field at 11 a.m., featuring the throwers and jumpers. Alex Oxborough-Yankus PZ ’13 threw herself onto the P-P all-time list: ninth in the hammer with a mark of 108′ 3″, finishing fifth in the meet, and tenth all-time in the javelin with a mark of 112′ 7″, finishing second. The distance runners, whose talents are very different from the throwers, are particularly impressed with this feat.
“When Alex throws the javelin, it looks as though it is about to pierce the sun,” Kathleen Shea PO ’12 said.
Despite the risk of sunburn and itchy legs, the grassy slope in front of the P-P tent was the perfect place to observe the running events. Injured athletes Beth Hansen PO ’15, Anna Hansen PO ’15, Sydney Rupe PO ’15 and Shelley Chestler PO ’12 sat motionlessly for the duration of the four-hour meet, transfixed by their teammates competing on the red CMS track.
“We were astonished when the gun went off for the 4×400 relay,” Beth Hansen PO ’15 said. “The meet went by so fast!”
The competitors in the 5K race were less excited to be at the meet. The sun, a treat for lazing spectators, made the longest event in the meet all the more challenging, especially since most of the runners had already run a 1500. Claire Brickson PO ’14 responded to a shout-out by teammate Leslie Canter PZ ’12, “You go girl, less than 800 meters left” with an angry “That’s not true” between breaths. Indeed, she had almost 1200 meters to conquer before crossing the finish line.
Though the 5K race was not the most thrilling for the distance squad, the 1500 meter was quite the success. Anne Lydens PO ’13 made her season debut by finishing second with a time of 4:57.53 while purposely running conservatively. Indubitably, there will be some wins for Lydens in the future. Brickson finished just behind Lydens with a time of 4:59.06, and Roxanne Cook PZ ’13 and Kathleen Shea PO ’12 finished fifth and sixth, respectively. With four P-P athletes finishing in the top six, the distance runners may turn out to be the force that helps the Sagehens compete for an SCIAC title.
Other performances on the track included Canter and Natasha Block PO ‘14 in the steeple chase. Both landed marks on the top-ten list for P-P athletes.
“I felt like I was just struggling just to keep going it the entire time. It never felt like I was racing,” said Block, this being her first time steepling. The steeple chase is arguably the most difficult race, with barriers and long distances to conquer. It takes both practice and endurance.
Katie Barton PO ’15 also grabbed an all-time mark in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.24, taking third overall in the event. Further performances in the realm of the sprinter-folk include ShaKayla Rouse PO ’15, fourth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.15, and Dot Silverman PO ’14, third in the 400 meters with a time of 61.97. Though Silverman shaved a second from her previous 400, she claims she still needs to work on her sprinting form. We will surely see her improve more during the rest of the season.
Overall, the P-P women deserve to be proud of this first conference showing. With almost two months until the conference championships, marks will continue to get better as the athletes become stronger and more confident. For now, the ladies are concentrating on the upcoming dual meet with Occidental College, which will take place over the mid-term break.