The Pomona-Pitzer track and field women’s spring break destination this year was Occidental College. After competing hard on back-to-back Fridays, March 9 and 17, the women eked out their second win of the season 76-73 against Oxy. It certainly was a rewarding spring recess for the team.
The first and official dual meet against Occidental College featured the sprinters, jumpers and throwers. The distance events (800-meter, 1500-meter, 3000-meter steeple and 5K) were scored the following Friday at the Occidental Distance Carnival. Though the meet was low-key, featuring a friendly pizza dinner at its conclusion, it certainly did not stop the P-P ladies from competing fiercely. Success was particularly sweet on the field. Star performances included Ellen Yamasaki PZ ’15 who won the long jump (14′ 6″) and the triple jump (32′ 7 3/4″), Erin Delaria PO ’15 winning the pole vault, and Alex Oxborough-Yankus PZ ’14 throwing 91′ 11″ in the discus and a 114′ 1″ in the hammer, also winning both events. Racking up that many points in field events has been rare in recent P-P track and field history.
It is not surprising that Katie Barton PO ’15 continued her track record of first-class hurdling performances. Barton three-stepped her way to a win in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:08.94 and came in second by a hair (.08 seconds) in the 100-meter high hurdles to Occidental’s top athlete Lauren Johnson. No doubt the frustration from the loss will fuel the ferociously competitive Barton to beat Johnson in their next confrontation.
March 17 saw the women compete in the distance events under the glow of the Occidental track lights. The Occidental Distance Carnival brings in competitors from as far as Alaska and as talented as athletes from team USA. It is the perfect opportunity not only to run in the cool night hours, but to be carried along by faster runners and achieve new personal records. Leslie Canter PZ ’12, was a perfect example, improving her time in the 3000-meter steeple by 11 seconds, running a 12:00.48. While she did not break the 12-minute benchmark, she did come within four seconds of the school record, which she will likely break before the conclusion of the season.
The 800-meter race was by far the most exciting race to watch. Both Roxanne Cook PZ ’13 and Stassja Sichko PO ’15 had stunning come-from-behind performances in their respective heats. While both were seeded first, spectators were initially taken aback to see them sitting at the rear of their packs during the first lap. Yet, in each race hats were thrown, nails were chewed to the quick and voices were strained as both began picking off their competitors on the back stretch of lap two. While Sichko finished with a win, Cook scrambled for second place, letting loose a desperate roar while neck-in-neck with her competitor 50 meters from the finish. Coach Kirk Reynolds was impressed by both of their aggressive performances.
The 5K race featured Annie Lydens PO ’13 in the first heat and Claire Brickson PO ’14 in the second. Unfortunately, Lydens was forced to drop out of her race due to illness. Brickson performed admirably, smashing her goal of 18:45 by coming in second place with a time of 18:37.88. The time will likely allow her to make the cut-off to compete in the CA/NV Collegiate Championships March 31. The second heat also included the comeback race of Shelley Chestler, PO ’12. Chestler, absent from track meets since freshman year due to various injuries, had an inspiring performance for those constantly finding themselves in the training room. She broke the twenty-minute threshold on this first “trial effort,” leading Reynolds to cordially name her track athlete of the meet.
The P-P women tracksters are now preparing for their next meet tomorrow at Moorpark College, hosted by La Verne. The dedication they exhibited over spring break has carried into the remainder of the semester.