The Pomona-Pitzer women’s cross country team placed sixth at its home invitational last Saturday to finish second among SCIAC teams. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps was the top SCIAC team, placing second overall.
Camille Matonis PZ ’15 led the Sagehens, placing 20th out of 147 runners in a time of 23:35 on the six-kilometer course. Claire Brickson PO ’14 and Maya Weigel PO ’17 followed close behind in 25th and 26th, finishing in 23:45 and 23:47 respectively.
Ally McLaughlin PO ’16 placed 35th in a time of 24:10, and Lauren Collins PO ’15 ran 24:37 to finish among the top five Sagehens for the first time.
“I loved racing at home and I loved the atmosphere. I think the changes to the course made it much easier to handle mentally,” Collins said after the meet. “I felt great physically all the way through and was so happy to be able to score for the team by being in the top five.”
Helena Epps PO ’16 finished barely outside a scoring spot, finishing sixth for the Sagehens with a time of 24:53, just ahead of Cassandra Owen PO ’14. After not being able to run for most of the summer, Owen has made a strong comeback in just a couple months of training, landing her in the seventh spot on the team at the P-P invite. Owen placed 70th overall in a time of 25:19.
“It’s nice that finally, my senior year, I had a good race at the P-P Invite. It’s deep into the season now, and we’re holding on. Working hard. Staying tough,” Owen said.
Just 24 hours after their race, the Sagehens carried on one of their long-standing traditions. The team startled motorcyclists and Sunday morning brunch-goers alike as they ran up Mount Baldy Road, gaining more than 3,000 feet of elevation over the course of five, five-and-a-half, or seven miles.
The Mount Baldy run is much anticipated each season, despite the obvious challenges inherent in running up a mountain.
As Matonis keenly noted, “Baldy is the Everest of Southern California. That’s not a quote. It’s a fact.”
“It’s a tough one, I’ll admit—even for a native Claremontian like myself. But I just kept singing ‘Domino’ by Jessie J and thinking of the pumpkin bagels in the van at the top, and that got me through those moments when I just wanted to fling myself in front of a passing motorcycle gang,” Alana Shine PO ’14 said.
Shine’s teammates agreed, but each runner prevailed and finished the run strong. Epps showed particularly impressive perseverance, running the entire seven miles despite an aching hip.
The women will get another solid two weeks of training in before they return to action at SCIAC Multi-Duals Oct. 18 and the SCIAC Championships Nov. 2.