After a strong race at the UC Riverside Invitational, the men’s cross country team ranks fourth in the West and 29th nationally, looking to make an impressive NCAA run this season.
It was early morning, and the sun had not yet begun to poke through the smog-ridden atmosphere when the men of Pomona-Pitzer’s cross country team greeted each other for the annual UC Riverside Invitational, held this past weekend. Having completed a summer full of miles on miles on miles, PPXC was determined to use this early season meet to get a true sense of their fitness levels after conducting a “rust-busting” race at Cal State Fullerton two weeks prior and a mid-race workout at the UC Irvine Invitational a week ago.
The day ended up dawning hot and dry once the sun rose over the Inland Empire, but the Sagehens fought through the weather to run a fine race. The men set multiple personal bests, regardless of the uncomfortable conditions, including the fourth-fastest time ever run in school history on this course—Ben Girodias PO ’15 covered the 8-kilometer distance in a scant 25:29.
“The racing conditions were not perfect, but the guys managed to hold it together for a ninth-place finish. In short, we might not have accomplished all of our goals, but we have a lot to feel good about,” Head Coach Tony Boston said.
Considering the team was also competing against such Division I and II powerhouses as Southern Utah University (alma mater of 2011 UC Riverside Invitational champion and 2012 Canadian Olympian Cameron Levins), this is rather respectable.
However, the team did finish behind cross-campus rivals Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, a disappointing outcome for the Sagehens.
Captain Alex Johann PO ’14 said, “I am a bit frustrated with my own race. After all, having spent all summer running 120 miles per week, I hoped to improve my PR by more than six seconds. But more than that, it was our disappointing loss to CMS today that really gets to me. Luckily, UC Riverside does not count for much and is instead merely a metric of our current fitness, but I think it definitely shows us that we have a lot of work to do between now and the postseason if we want to garner any accolades this year.”
PPXC does have some time left in the season; conference finals are not until the end of October. Nonetheless, Johann added, “We need to be sure we remain focused, especially on the little things like recovery and taking care of our bodies, because it is a long time until SCIACs and easy to become complacent. Gotta get after that dub, ya know what I mean?”
The team is off this coming weekend but resumes action at the annual Pomona-Pitzer Invite, held Sept. 29 in the Pomona Wash.