Nguyen, Van Hook Shine at Oxy Meet

Both the Pomona-Pitzer men and women’s track teams competed in a SCIAC
meet at Occidental College this past weekend against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps,
Occidental, and the California Institute of Technology. Both the men and women had strong individual
showings, and the women’s team made major waves, scoring the most points they have scored
against CMS since 1996.

The men
were led by strong performances from Greg Hook PZ ’14, Ben Girodias PO ’15, Titus Van Hook PO ’15, Bennett Kopperud PZ ’16, and Paul Messana PZ ’17, who all won
their respective events on the track. Chris Garnatz PO ’15 also won the
javelin throw in the field.

The P-P runners not only made an impact at the meet and
in the SCIAC, but they also gained national attention from the NCAA. Messana’s
time of 1:52.68 for the 800-meter race was not only the best of the day, but now stands as the best time for Division III NCAA track competitions.

“I went into the race hoping to get a good time, and
definitely exceeded my expectations,” Messana said. “Going into upcoming races, my goal is to really just keep improving.”

Hook also made national waves with his 400-meter
time of 49.01 seconds, which is the sixth best time in the NCAA.

Van Hook
came in first in the 100- and 200-meter races, finishing with times of 11.04 seconds and
21.99 seconds, respectively. Kopperud placed first in the 400-meter hurdles in dramatic fashion with a time of
55.67 seconds, beating out CMS’ Caleb Cunha CM ’15 by half a second. Girodias closed out the winning this weekend, breaking the 15-minute
mark and winning the 5-kilometer race with a time of 14:57.59.

members of the track team who did not place first had promising times that are
likely to improve. Adam Hathaway PO ’17 and Pryor Stroud PO ’15
finished seventh and third, respectively, in the 1500-meter race.
Stroud had a time of 3:58.32, while Hathaway had a time of 4:02.68.

was really excited about my race, since I hadn’t at all expected to run so
close to four minutes at least until the end of the season, so it was a pretty
big confidence boost,” Hathaway said.

The Sagehens will look for more successes
across the board as they head further into the season.

The women’s
track team beat Occidental and lost to CMS, but still had their highest point
total against the Athenas since 1996. The Hens were led by a stellar individual
performance by Ailene Nguyen PO ’16, who had three individual wins as well as a
relay win.

“I was really excited to have had such a great day and be
able to help the team in terms of points,” Nguyen said. “I had a really great support network
from my teammates and coaches throughout the day, which I really think made a
difference in the end. I went into the day preparing myself for
many more second or third places, but it was amazing to end up in first.”

Nguyen placed first in the 100-meter race with a time of 12.79
seconds and the long jump with 17-10 1/4; anchored the 4×100-meter relay, in which the team finished first with a time of 50.86 seconds; and set a school record in the triple jump with 37-5 3/4. 

“I completely didn’t
expect to PR in triple on Saturday after completing so many events prior to my
last jump, so it was a terrific way to end the
meet,” Nguyen said. “It was a pretty bad jump technique-wise, so I’m excited to
work on my form and hopefully break it again.”

Nguyen also placed third in the 200-meter race with
a time of 26.11 seconds.

Kaile Sauro PZ ’17 also contributed to P-P’s point total, participating in five events and winning the high jump with 4-9 3/4.
Stassja Sichko PO ’15 and Maya Weigel PO ’17 took first and second place in the 800-meter race, with Sichko winning with a time of 2:21.84. The winning 4×100-meter relay team comprised Nguyen, Schuyler Fox PO ’17, Cat Banobi PO
’17, and Rachel Miller PO ’16.

The men’s and women’s teams will hope
to continue their individual success and build on total team points in their
next meets. Both teams are in action at the California-Nevada Championships
today and tomorrow, hosted by the University of California, San Diego.

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