Warm weather kissed the campuses of the Claremont Colleges this past weekend just in time for Family Weekend and Pomona-Pitzer men’s track and field’s season opener.
The P-P All Comers meet has become an annual tradition, one that offers the Sagehens the first springtime opportunity to become reacquainted with fast paces and the pain of racing—a process known affectionately as ‘rust busting.’ And become familiar once more with fast paces they did.
Bennett Kopperud PZ ’16 struck a winning note early, leading P-P’s 110-meter hurdlers in 17.13 seconds—a resounding success considering this was his first competition at the 42” hurdle height in collegiate track and field. Meanwhile, Pryor Stroud PO ’15 and Alex Johnson PZ ’13 put on a show for the distance runners as they each notched top-20 finishes in the 3000-meter race, finishing in 8:49 and 8:57, respectively. Alumnus John Mering PO ’10 even made an appearance, finishing seventh in the 3k at 8:44.
Midday brought with it a brief spattering of clouds, and the gloom found its way onto the track as the Hens struggled to pass the baton between the first and second legs of the 4×100-meter relay, resulting in a DNF. However, Robert McElwaine PO ’14 and Andrew Capron PO ’16, a soccer transplant, did their best to steady the proverbial ship, turning in fast early season times in the 400-meter race (54.37s) and the 1000-meter race (2:46), respectively.
With the afternoon wearing to a close, the Sagehens mustered two final victories on the track. First, Stroud ran a superbly tactical mile race as he used the monumental frontrunning efforts of Dominick Reinhold PO ’13 to stay in contention early before turning on the afterburners with 250 meters to go, breaking the tape in 4:29.87. Not to be outdone, Picciano ran away from his competition from the gun and led a wire-to-wire race that he won in 4:34, bringing the entirety of the men’s and women’s track teams to their feet on the backstretch, where they had previously been passively spectating.
Away from the track, Garret Bell PO ’14 led the way for the Sagehens with a ninth-place finish in the hammer throw.
And just like that, the day sank slowly into the Pacific and the Sagehens found themselves looking forward to the Rossi Relays at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps tomorrow, their next opportunity to achieve lofty success.