Distance Runners, Bell Finish Strong at SCIAC Championships

The Pomona-Pitzer men’s track and field team competed in the SCIAC championships hosted by California Lutheran University and held at Occidental College last weekend. All the men and women of SCIAC gathered in this ultimate showdown to close out the 2013 season. After two full days of preliminaries and final competitions, the Sagehens emerged from the fray in seventh place after coming into the meet with a 5-3 record.

After the preliminaries, the Sagehens were represented in the top eight of nearly every event. Matt Sloane PO ’15 was the first to get on the scoreboard for the Sagehens, winning the first heat of the 200-meter dash in the prelims to take the fifth seed going into finals. He held his own in finals, finishing fifth in 22.42 seconds.

Greg Hook PZ ’14 also made waves in the 400-meter dash. Hook entered the finals with a personal best of 49.05, the only Sagehen to break 50 seconds this year. He then broke the 49-second barrier in finals, finishing with a 48.86 to take sixth.

In his last SCIAC championship meet, Dom Reinhold PO ’13 made it to finals in the 800-meter run with a 1.57.99. He then dropped another second in finals to finish seventh in 1.56:96.

Pryor Stroud PO ’15 took fifth in the 1500-meter run, dropping two seconds from his time in prelims to finish in 4:01.33.

The big track highlight for the Sagehens came in the longest of the distance events, the 5000-meter run. Competitors get one chance in the 5000 meters, and three Sagehens seized that opportunity. All three had been motivating and supporting each other in distance events all season, and it paid off at the end when it counted most. All three completed the race in under 15 minutes, with Alex Johnson PZ ’13 leading the pack in his final meet with a third-place finish in 14:55.01. Johnson was followed by John Fowler PO ’16 in fifth with a time of 14.57.50 and Ben Girodias PO ’15 in seventh with a 14.59.75.

Bennett Kopperud PZ ’16 was the only Sagehen in scoring range in the 400-meter hurdles. In a display of consistency, he finished with a time of 57.36 in both the prelims and finals, good enough for a sixth-place finish. Corey Purcella PO ’16, the lone Sagehen in the 3000-meter steeplechase, finished seventh in the event in 9.46.22.

The Sagehen 4×400-meter relay of Hook, Sloane, Avi Sheldon PO ’16, and Kopperud took sixth in 3:19.25, just a hair behind Cal Lutheran’s 3:19.21.

In the field events, two Sagehen jumpers carried their team in their respective events. Matt Owen PZ ’13 took seventh in the pole vault, clearing 12’11.75”. In the long jump, Alex Chong PZ ’16 just made his way into the top 8 with an eighth-place finish, his best in his first jump of 20’8.5”.

Garrett Bell PO ’14 grabbed the spotlight in the field events, setting personal bests in the shot put and hammer throw. Bell beat his own previous record in the shot put by two and a half feet with a 42’9”, which placed him seventh in SCIAC. He also snuck his way into the top eight in the hammer throw, finishing eighth with another personal best of 131’7”.

In the final field event, Chris Garnatz PO ’15 made his way into scoring range with an eighth place finish in the javelin throw in a 160’07”.

Overall, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps came away with the team SCIAC Championship. The Sagehens finished seventh with a total of 40 points, just behind Occidental’s 45.

Sagehens wishing to compete in one final meet will get the chance this coming weekend again in Eagle Rock for the Occidental Invitational.

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