Claremont Track Athletes Hone Skills at Azusa Pacific Invitational

With the SCIAC Championships looming in the distance, April
17’s Bryan Clay Invitational at Azusa Pacific University highlighted the skill
of Claremont’s track and field teams. The invitational was Pomona-Pitzer’s
final meet before the conference finals in two weeks and the penultimate
pre-finals test of the season for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

The
invitational presented a mountainous range of competition to CMS and P-P. The
two teams faced off against teams from Division I and II, such as the
University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of California, San
Diego, as well as professional Brazilian runners. In the case of several athletes, these
competitors brought an intensity to perform at an improved level.

For
some, this intensity was fed by a sense of personal honor. Brina Jablonski CM ’18
was a prospective athlete at both UCSB and UCSD, and was intent on proving that
her athletic ability hadn’t diminished by choosing to run for a DIII
school. Her determination helped her cut time in her leg on the 4x400m relay, and the CMS team placed fifth on Friday with a time of 3:50.10. Jablonski’s
time cut fits in with CMS’s ambitions to fine-tune their events for SCIACs and
nationals.

“At this point we’re
trying to rake 3:48,” Lablonski said. “I’m pretty sure Aiyanna [Cameron-Lewis CM ’18]
and Hanna [Tarleton CM ’17] are running solid 56/55 splits and Carmen [Mejia SC ’17] is
running 58 splits, and I ran a 57 split last weekend. As of right now, we’re
trying to go as far as we can, and I think we have a pretty good shot at [SCIAC]
prelims and finals. I think we’re looking at nationals as a possibility as
well.”

The
Athenas’ 4×400 runners aren’t the only CMS athletes dreaming of nationals.
Michael Wagenveld CM ’18 scored a CMS top-ten result when he attained a height
of 15’1” in the pole vault. In conjunction with his long term goal of grabbing
the CMS pole vault record, Wagenveld’s results at the invitational spurred him
further toward a shot at DIII nationals.

“I’m
aiming for nationals this year, which would have to be 15’7” to 15’9” to make
it,” he explained. “I could still get a new PR and hopefully make nationals,
but I only have two meets left. I would have to be top 20. Right now I’m
probably top 25.”

For
P-P, the invitational provided a final opportunity for individuals to
practice competing before tapering for SCIACs. P-P didn’t field relays on
Friday and only competed with a partial roster. Several Sagehens performed
particularly well during this final practice. Chris Garnatz PO ’18 hit a PR of
190 feet in the javelin throw, which places him as a likely finalist at SCIACs,
and Maya Weigel PO ‘17, who also has her eyes on nationals, grabbed at top-ten
P-P time in the 5000m.

“Hopefully I’m on a trajectory
to go to nationals,” Weigel, who is eager to see if she makes the national cut
in the 1500m, said. “Most people who are ending [their seasons] at SCIACs are
tapering right now, but I’m trying to push through and keep training hard these
next few weeks and then taper, because there are two more weeks until nationals
after SCIACs. I’m not aiming for that to be my best times of the season,
hopefully for nationals.”

Weigel further characterized
the Sagehens’ prospects for the SCIAC conference meet.

“[Prospects] are looking
pretty good,” she said. “A lot of times we haven’t had everybody running at
once, but now SCIACs is where everybody is putting everything out there. I
think the girl’s team is looking pretty strong. We have a lot of talent in
different areas—jumps, hurdles, relays and distance are looking pretty good.
The guy’s team is also good, and they’re strong on the distance side. [We’ll
try] to get people in their best events to get as many points as possible.
There’s a lot of competition in SCIACs, so I think it’ll be tough, but good.”

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