The men's track and field team is a unique cadre of young studs. With personal goals ranging from the acquisition of DFMO-worthy washboard abs, to the setting of NCAA National Championship qualifying marks, each man attends daily practices and Saturday competitions with a distinct air of determination about him.
This determination was made quite obvious this past weekend at Caltech in Pasadena, a city known for its smog-induced beautiful sunsets. Nearly all those competing threw down fast times on the track or set impressive marks in the field.
Past SCIAC champion Jack Lewis PO ’12 got things started off right with a respectable 4th place finish in the 110m high hurdles, despite wearing a knee brace during the race.
Not too long thereafter, Pomona senior Charlie Enscoe's race was underway with the crack of a starting pistol. As a multitude of essentially half-naked young men jostled for position in the first 100 meters, Enscoe began to push the pace before settling into second. While this writer is not quite sure what happened after that point, being in the race himself and trailing said senior, he is assured by both Enscoe and spectators that a pure guts race was had, with Enscoe squeaking out the win over his Whittier opponent in a new personal best time of 4:07.97.
All-American Anders Crabo PO ’12 posted a not unimpressive mark of 4:12.39 and further indicated his exceptional level of athleticism as his competed in the men's 5,000m race just an hour later. Declaring before the race, “I'm just looking to cruise to sub-16 and hopefully, an easy win,” he used the first 6 laps to move into the lead, dominated the vast majority of the race, and only slipped into second following a bold move by another Whittier runner halfway through the 12.5 lapper. Nonetheless, one could tell he was not to be denied a win as his stride opened up with 3 laps to go and became increasingly powerful until he crossed the line in 1st in 15:49.05.
However, those members of PPTF who don't run long distance also deserve commendation. While all this action on the track was going on, Pomona senior Mike Grier was participating in multiple events, setting marks of 5 feet, 10.75 inches in the high jump, 18 feet and a quarter inch in the long jump, and 38-02.25 in the triple jump. Matt Owen PZ ’13 was working his magic simultaneously, as he was P-P's top pole vaulter of the day, clearing 11 feet, 11.75 inches.
The story of the day, however, goes to Colin Flynn, PZ ’12. Losing his training partner Hale Shaw, PZ ’12, to recent injury, Flynn has been relegated to pushing through workouts on his own. Asked how this new training set up was working out, he said, “Shaw, being injured, is dead to me. Nonetheless, my new spikes, courtesy of Muller's Shoe Mart, have been an invaluable help in coping with my solitude as I hammer interval workouts.”
Despite being the top seed in the 800 this past Saturday, things didn't quite go as anticipated for Flynn. He ran from the front but was nipped by less than a second at the line by Whittier and Cal-Lu men, though he still finished in a relatively speedy 1:58.75. However, Colin takes consolation from the fact that this “only makes [him] stronger for future races.”
And future races there will be, with the 25th Annual Pomona-Pitzer Invitational, held this Saturday at Strehle Track in the Wash quickly approaching. Being a member of the team, I'm obligated here to insert some witty comment about why you should come and support PPTF, but I got nothin'. Nonetheless, work your way down to the track Saturday to watch a spectacular meet headlined by those featured in this article, a few standout Canadian athletes, and even the rare Olympian!
Also just around the corner are the Mt. SAC Relays–arguably one of the most competitive meets on the West Coast during track season. Flynn qualified for this prestigious invitational in the 1,500 meters, along with Enscoe and Crabo in the men's 3,000m steeplechase. An impressive feat to be sure, but this is made all the more spectacular by the idea of Enscoe and Crabo competing against some of the best Division I, II, III, and international athletes.
Flynn, though, had to shine brighter than the rest, as he alone takes on the burden of lifting PPTF to the elite ranks. Just when you thought this former SCIAC champion was a one-hit wonder, he makes his name known in the running world as he is entered in the same race (though, as Flynn modestly points out, “probably not in the same heat”) as renowned athletes Matt Tegenkamp (American Record holder in the 2 mile, with a time of 8:07, or 4:03.5 per mile) and Chris Solinsky, the first non-African to break 27 minutes in the 10K (6.2 miles) when he debuted at the distance in an American Record 26:59 at a pace of 4:20 per mile.
All this undoubtedly makes you wonder when the Sagecocks will finally triumph over their inconsequential rivals across Sixth Street, though. Well, be sure to keep an eye on the team in coming weeks because if recent performances hint at anything, this season may be one of the best ever had by Pomona-Pitzer men's track and field. Who knows? It may even be the end of, as some are wont to call them, “lofty, baseless claims” of a not-so-far-off SCIAC title.