Men’s Cross Country Best in the West After UCR Invitational

Ben Girodias PO ’15 made history last weekend, becoming only the third men’s cross country runner in Sagehen history to break 25 minutes in the eight-kilometer race at the University of California, Riverside Invitational Sept. 14, finishing first among the Sagehens. Placing 16th out of 196 runners, Girodias finished with a time of 24:54. Teammates John Fowler PO ’16 and Paul Messana PO ’17 followed him with times of 25:51 and 25:52, respectively.

Alex Johann PO ’14 and Steven Ory PO ’16 rounded out the group of scorers for Pomona-Pitzer, running 26:22 and 26:24, respectively. The strong performances from the top P-P runners earned the team a 10th place finish out of 23 teams.

Although only the top five runners per team contribute toward the team score in cross country races, three P-P athletes finished right behind the fifth runner: Pryor Stroud PO ’15, Charlie Watson PO ’17, and Adam Hathaway PO ’17 all finished between 26:26 and 26:27, just two to three seconds behind Ory. This talent depth will be an asset to the team as the season progresses and will create competition among the P-P runners to improve their times

“Overall, we ran well. We packed up and did what we needed to beat our SCIAC rivals, but I think that Riverside is just a preview for what we can accomplish,” Girodias said of the meet.

Two weeks ago, Saturday, Sept. 7, the men ran at the University of California, Irvine Invitational where Girodias was again the first Sagehen across the line, finishing 13th out of 102 competitors, with a time of 26:39. Stroud placed second for the team with 27:32, followed by Watson and Hathaway with 27:42 and 27:46 respectively. Messana was the last scorer, running 28:04. The Sagehens placed fifth out of eight teams.

P-P opened its season at the Mark Covert Classic Saturday, Aug. 31. Girodias placed sixth out of 169 runners with a time of 25:47, followed by Johann in 27:01, Fowler in 27:07, Messana in 27:09, and Watson in 27:19. The team earned a second-place finish in open team scoring. 

These strong finishes have helped the Sagehens move up to the top spot in the Western Region and to 22nd place in Division III, according to the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll released this week. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps now sits in second place in the region, just edging out another SCIAC foe, Occidental College. These two teams will battle against P-P for the SCIAC title all season long.

The Sagehens have this weekend off, but they will be back in action at the Stanford Invitational Saturday, Sept. 28.

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