Both the men’s and women’s Pomona-Pitzer track teams hosted SCIAC competition for a five-way multi-dual meet Saturday, March 8.
Whittier College, the University of Redlands, and the California Institute of Technology competed on the men’s side. Competing in duals, P-P defeated Whittier but lost to a strong squad from Redlands.
On the women’s side, Whittier, Redlands, Caltech, and Chapman University competed. The women’s track team also competed in duals and defeated Whittier and Chapman but fell to Redlands by just 10 points.
The Sagehen men were led by Titus Van Hook PO ’14, who broke 22 seconds in the 200-meter race, clocking in at 21.98 seconds. That time secured a first-place finish for the senior, and the seventh-best 200 time in school history. Van Hook also finished second in the 100-meter with a time of 11.05 seconds.
Sprinter Greg Hook PZ ’14 complimented Van Hook’s performance.
“Titus Van Hook had a top-10 performance in the 200-meter in which he edged out a very talented Whittier athlete,” he said, referring to Whittier’s Andres Vega, who finished second. “I think our team is transitioning from a team that produces a lot of third- through sixth-place finishes at SCIAC finals to one in which we have many athletes who very well could be conference champions in their respective events.”
Hook was not only referring to good showings from the sprinters, as P-P was very successful across the field.
Paul Messana PZ ’17 finished first in the 800-meter with a time of 1:55.32, the fastest in conference this season.
“My goal was to run well enough to make a mark in conference,” he said.
P-P also claimed the top three places in the 5,000-meter race. Ben Girodias PO ’15 finished first, followed closely by Alex Johann PO ’14 and Steven Ory PO ’16 in second and third, respectively.
In the hurdles race, Bennett Kopperud PZ ’16 finished first in the 400-meter race with a time of 56.69 seconds. He also came in second in the 110-meter hurdles, crossing the finish line in 16.38 seconds.
“It was a good opener for the season,” Kopperud said. “People opened up with solid marks that they can improve on as the season progresses.”
P-P also won the steeplechase thanks to the performance of Corey Purcella PO ’16, who broke 10 minutes with a time of 9:56.65.
The Sagehens proved themselves against the stiff competition in many of the field events as well. Matt O’Connor PO ’15 had a personal best with 40 feet in shot put, and Dalton Bolger PO ’14 and Chris Garnatz PO ’15 finished third and fourth, respectively, in javelin.
The women’s track and field team also had a good showing, losing by only 10 points to Redlands.
It was a big day for last year’s SCIAC champion and NCAA qualifier in the long jump, Ailene Nguyen PO ’16, who won both the long jump competition and the 200-meter race. Nguyen ran a 26.88-second 200 and added a jump of 17-1.25 to her victories. She finished second in triple jump by just three-fourths of an inch.
Other standout performances for the P-P women came in the middle-distance category. Stassja Sichko PO ’15 finished first in the 800-meter race, an event that she was All-SCIAC for last season. In the 1500-meter race, Maya Wiegel PO ’17 came in first with a time of 4:55.26, followed by Claire Brickson PO ’14 with a time of 5:03.56. Brickson then won the 5,000-meter race in under 20 minutes, finishing in 19:41.33.
Rhea Jayachandran PZ ’16 added to the day’s win total for the Hens with a win in the 400-meter race, clocking in a time of 1:09.80. Cassandra Owen PO ’14 finished the day on the track with a victory in the steeplechase. In the field, Alexandra Oxborough-Yankus PZ ’14 won the javelin with a throw of 107′ 10”.
“I think the team did a great job this weekend in defeating two of the three teams we competed against,” Wiegel said. “I think all of the training and work we do in practice is definitely starting to show. I think that everyone on the team can work on our ability to pull through when we are put in multiple events, even when we’re all exhausted from previous events. I think this will come naturally as the season goes on.”
Both the men and women will be back in action today at the Occidental Distance Carnival, which starts at 5 p.m. The next home meet for the Sagehens will be the always-exciting P-P Invitational on Saturday, April 12.