The Pomona-Pitzer women’s cross country team moved up to the sixth spot in the Division III West Region poll after placing ninth at the University of California, Riverside Invitational on Saturday. The Sagehens came into Saturday ranked ninth in the West Region, but strong performances from the top five P-P runners earned the team a second-place finish among NCAA DIII competitors and a three-spot jump in the regional poll.
Claire Brickson PO ’14 led the way for the Sagehens with a time of 22:29, the fastest six-kilometer time ever run on the UC Riverside course by a Sagehen and the sixth-fastest 6k time on any course. Brickson placed 40th out of 114 runners, followed closely by Camille Matonis PZ ’15 in 42nd place. Matonis’s time of 22:30 is the second-fastest P-P time ever run on the Riverside course and the seventh-fastest in P-P history. While Brickson and Matonis are consistent leaders on the team, newcomer Maya Weigel PO ’17 kept pace to finish just behind Matonis in 43rd place with a time of 22:31, the third-fastest Sagehen time ever run on the Riverside course and the eighth-fastest 6k time overall.
Alicia Mizes PO ’16 also scored points for the Sagehens, finishing 77th with a time of 23:18. Ally McLaughlin PO ’16 claimed the fifth and final scoring spot for P-P, finishing 83rd in a time of 23:34. The composite time of the top five runners is the fastest team time ever recorded by P-P at Riverside. These solid performances and the depth of the team will push the Sagehens toward success as they enter the heart of the season.
In the women’s five-kilometer race, Lauren Collins PO ’15 led the charge with a time of 19:54, over a minute faster than her time on the same course the year before. Another standout performance came from Stassja Sichko PO ’15, who finished in a personal best time of 21:15, nearly two-and-a-half minutes faster than last year.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, the only other SCIAC team at the invitational and the current number-one team in the West Region, finished fifth behind three DI teams and Nike Team Run Los Angeles. Allison Barnwell CM ’14 finished 11th overall with a time of 21:26, and Sara Mostatabi CM ’15 finished 21st with a time of 21:38. The Athenas, once again, own the top spot in the weekly regional poll. California Lutheran University holds the fifth spot and currently stands, along with the Sagehens, as the greatest threat to the Athenas in the SCIAC title race.
University of California, Santa Barbara finished first overall at UC Riverside, with both the first and second finishers.
The Sagehens will not compete again until Oct. 5, when they host the P-P Invitational, one of the biggest meets of the year for the Hens. With Cal Lutheran just one place ahead in the West Region poll, combined with P-P’s ever-present rivalry with the Athenas, the date is undoubtedly circled on the Sagehens’ calendars.