Athletes from the greater Los Angeles area converged on Pomona-Pitzer’s distinctive blue track last Saturday for the annual P-P All-Comers meet. The meet was the first opportunity this season for the members of the P-P women’s track and field team to pull out their orange spandex and put on their game faces, and many athletes had the added bonus of their parents looking on. Although the meet was only a ‘rustbuster,’ the Sagehens competed admirably, and several marks made it onto P-P top-10 lists.
If Saturday’s results are any indication of what is to come for the Sagehens this season, the women tracksters can look forward to many exciting performances and well-deserved sunburns. Members from every SCIAC track team except Claremont-Mudd-Scripps were present at the meet, although many teams did not field their whole roster. The meet was not scored, but the Sagehens looked strong among their SCIAC counterparts.
All in all, Head Coach Kirk Reynolds deemed the meet a success.
“I was quite pleased with our entire team’s performance at home on Saturday. We competed well, and we’re more ready now for our upcoming meets,” Reynolds said.
Ailene Nguyen PO ’16 stood out among SCIAC athletes. Prior to her debut, those in the know had been whispering about her rumored talents. On Saturday, she proved that the speculation was more than justified. In each of her three individual events, Nguyen’s performance was the fourth-best in school history. Nguyen’s time of 12.73 seconds in the 100-meter dash was fourth overall and second among four-year college competitors. She finished second overall in both the long jump and triple jump with jumps of 17 feet 2.35 inches and 35 feet 10 inches, respectively.
“I’m really happy with how the meet went, because I’ve never actually done this well so early in the season,” Nguyen said. “It was a really good opening meet for the team as a whole as well, I think. It’s also been really nice to see that all of the training and running I’ve been doing has been paying off!”
Nguyen had the unprecedented honor of being named both the track Sagehen of the Meet and field Sagehen of the Meet by the P-P coaching staff.
Katie Barton PO ’15 also had a strong first performance of the season. She crossed the 100-meter hurdle finish line in seventh place with a time of 16.99 seconds. Barton was seeded first in the 400-meter hurdle race, but Sydney Rupe PO ’15 was the lone Sagehen in the race as Barton opted to rest a sore ankle. After sitting out her entire first season due to injury, Rupe had a strong comeback. Her time of 1:12.40 earned her third place overall.
Barton was also the lead-off leg in the Sagehen’s dynamic 4×400-meter relay team which also included Isabelle Ambler PO ’13, Rachel Miller PO ’16, and Leslie Rice PO ’16. They finished the race with a time of 4:13.65, second only to University of Redlands and ahead of teams from University of La Verne, Caltech, and Chapman University.
The All-Comers meet gave middle- and long-distance runners an opportunity to compete in the 1000-meter, 3000-meter and mile races, which will be replaced by the 800-meter, 1500-meter, and 5000-meter races for the rest of the season. Annie Lydens PO ’13 had a solid start to her season with an 11th-place finish in the 3k and a third-place finish in the mile. Her 3k time of 10:37.83 is the seventh-fastest in P-P history, while her mile time of 5:18.22 was the third-fastest ever run by a Sagehen. Lydens was first among four-year college participants in the mile and second in the 3k.
In the 1k race, Isabelle Ambler PO ’13 finished third in 3:08.71 with Stassja Sichko PO ’15 just behind her in 3:09.60. Post-meet, the consensus among the Sagehens was excitement over their quality performances early in the season.
“I would call my race good, not great, but that’s actually pretty great for so early in the season,” Sichko said. Reynolds was more enthusiastic, calling Ambler and Sichko’s races “terrific.”
In field events, Alex Oxborough-Yankus PZ ’14 and Erin Delaria PO ’15 demonstrated that they’ve still got it. Oxborough-Yankus finished third in the javelin with a throw of 107 feet 4 inches and fifth in the hammer throw with a throw of 123 feet, a mere 14 inches short of her personal best. Clearing 10 feet in the pole vault, Delaria matched her personal best and tied for fifth place overall.
The P-P women’s track team will have an opportunity to improve upon their early success next Saturday at Rossi Relays, taking place across Sixth Street at the CMS track.
“I’m looking forward to our next handful of meets prior to Spring Break,” Reynolds said. “We’ll get a great idea of how we can compete as a team from those. If we each continue to work hard and strive to improve, good team results will certainly follow.”