Messana, Nguyen Stand Out at P-P Invitational

The
Pomona-Pitzer men’s and women’s track teams were busy this weekend as they
hosted the P-P Invitational. The meet
featured schools from the SCIAC; NCAA Division I, Division II, and Division III
schools; NAIA schools; track clubs; and unattached runners. Both the men and
women had good showings among the SCIAC and DIII schools present at the
meet. Competing with other high-level athletes is nothing new to P-P and
does not phase them.

“Competing against so
many other athletes outside of SCIAC helped put not only my own but the entire
team’s performance into perspective,”  Paul Messana PZ ’17 said. “With this perspective, P-P hopes to
continue to put up good times and compete nationally.”

For the
men, Messana finished second out of 138 competitors in the 800-meter race with a time of 1:51.35, which would have placed him fourth at Nationals last year and puts him third in Sagehen history. But Messana does not
seem to be stopping now.

“Looking at the upcoming meets of the season, the team just needs to focus on hitting their
best marks when it counts,” Messana said. “For me, knowing my season might be
extended past SCIACs is really motivating as it gives me more time to keep
improving.”

Ben Girodias PO ’15 said that running with DI and DII
athletes does not get in runners’ heads as much as one might think. 

“Well, when you are racing you don’t really think about that,” Girodias said. “If there is a jersey in
front of you, you are racing them, period. In the end, I
didn’t race as well as I would have like, but it was a good learning
experience. It shows me what I need to improve on.” 

Girodias finished second in
the 5,000-meter race with a time of 14:53.46, moving into 10th in Sagehen history
for the event. Behind Girodias, John Fowler PO ’16 finished fifth, and Steven Ory PO
’15 finished 10th for P-P.

Titus Van Hook PO ’15 had another
strong showing for the Hens, finishing 18th of 96 with a time of 11.05 seconds in the 100-meter race, and
ninth out of 90 with a time of 22.15 seconds in the 200-meter race. Greg Hook PZ ’14 ran a 49.13
in the 400-meter race to finish 11th out of 75 athletes. Parker Head PO ’17
finished ninth in the steeplechase with a time of 10:00.19. The 4×400 relay
team of Avi Sheldon PO ’15, Matt Sloane PO ’15, Hook, and
Brian Cohn PZ ’14 finished fourth with a time of 3:22.49.

In the field, Chris Garnatz PO ’15
threw a 162-6 in the javelin, finishing 16th out of 49.

The women also had a good day on the
track. Claire Brickson PO ‘14 finished seventh in the 5,00-meter with a time of 17:56.45,
a new personal record (PR). That time was the fifth-best in P-P history. Stassja
Sichko PO ’15 had a good showing in the 800-meter race, finishing 26th
out of 111 runners with a time of 2:19.57. Kaile Sauro PZ ’17 finished first in
her heat in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing 17th out of 36 overall with a
time of 69.80 seconds.

“I PRed by a lot, so I wasn’t expecting to finish that
fast,” Sauro said. “It was fun to compete in such a lively environment.”

Ailene Nguyen PO ’16 had another big
meet, finishing second in the long jump and third in the triple jump. She
finished second out of 50 athletes in the long jump with a jump of 17-7, just
behind Fresno Pacific University’s Sharessa Archie from the NAIA. In the triple jump,
Nguyen finished third with a jump of 37-2.5 behind an unattached athlete and DII University of California, San Diego’s Julia Wildenthaler.

The P-P track teams are back in SCIAC
action this weekend against the California Institute of Technology, California Lutheran University, and University of La Verne at
Caltech tomorrow, April 19.

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