On the morning of Saturday, Apr. 9, the gray sky loomed over Pomona-Pitzer's Strehle Track as if to mock the coming days of summer and warn of approaching downpour. Athletes and spectators ambled around: soon the field was littered with athletes’ coats, sweats and warmer layers as they prepared for their events. As the time for the first run drew near, the hustle and bustle of the crowd diminished to a hush, adding to the anticipation. It was the 30th annual Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.
Both the men's and women's Pomona-Pitzer track teams fared well in the invitational, with many athletes placing in various runs and events.
“The races went well for our team,” John Fowler PO '16 said of the men Sagehens. “We had a few guys set personal records and got some quality racing in at the end of a pretty tough training cycle.”
Fowler had a first place finish in the 5,000 meter run with a time of 14:51.33. Trailing him was Andy Reischling PO '19, who finished in fifth place with a time of 14:58.15. Meanwhile, Corey Purcella PO '16 took first place in the steeplechase with a time of 9:07.51, and Calvin Aylward PO '18 had a great outing in the javelin throw where he threw a distance of 55.26 meters to place sixth overall.
The women's track team had similar success. Maya Weigel PO '17 placed second in the 1,500 meter run with a time of 4:23.56, beating her own school record.
“I was honestly a little surprised by my time coming through the finish line,” Weigel commented. “I hadn't been feeling great before the race and had just been planning on going into it and trying to hang on with the leaders. There was some really good competition which is always really helpful in maintaining a fast pace throughout the race.”
Ailene Nguyen PO '16 had a season-best 100 meter dash with a time of 12.56 and a long jump of 17-9 to tie for fourth place. Cat Banobi PO '17 placed seventh in the 400 meter run with a time of 58.26.
Reflecting on the run, Banobi said, “This was an interesting race for me because I was running against faster competition than I ever have before. Physically that was good for me because running against several girls who run times significantly faster than mine helps me push myself harder than usual. Overall my 400 turned out pretty well, but I think I can make improvements on the mental side going forward.”
Looking past this invitational, the Sagehens eye the SCIAC Championships, which will happen in two weeks. Soon after, the most successful of the runners, jumpers, throwers and vaulters will advance to Nationals.
“We should be able to place well [at the championships] as a team,” Fowler said. He expressed hope that the team’s success early in the season will continue throughout the end of the season.
“I'm really looking forward to SCIAC Championships coming up in two weeks,” Banobi echoed. “The last two years I was battling injuries throughout the season so by the time SCIACs came around I really wasn't where I wanted to be. This year, I'm looking forward to going into this meet healthy.”
Based on the invitational, the Sagehens seem ready to make a statement in the SCIAC Championships. At any rate, they’re sure to improve in their respective runs and events and reap the results of their training.
P-P will compete in the SCIAC Quad Meet on Saturday, Apr. 16, at University of La Verne in their last meet before the championships.