Last week, Pomona-Pitzer athletes Jake Klewer PO ’14 and Annie Lydens PO ’13 swpt SCIAC honors as Athletes of the Week. This is the first honor of the basketball season for Klewer, and the third for standout runner Lydens.
Lydens received the honor as her cross-country season came to its conclusion on a golf course in Winneconne, WI, where she finished third at the Division III Cross Country Championships. The result was the strongest in Pomona-Pitzer athletic history, breaking the record previously held by Crosby Freeman PO ’06. She set a Pomona-Pitzer record with her time of 21:02 in the 6k on the chilly Wisconsin course, 25 seconds better than her ninth-place finish at Nationals last year, breaking her own record for P-P fastest 6k time. Lydens was also named an All-American for the third time. She was bestowed with the honors after racing at the National meet in both cross country and track. Lydens will return to the track in the spring, racing in contention for national championships in the 1500- and 5000-meter races as a member of the Sagehen women’s track team.
Klewer received the award for his play against Division III defending champions Saint Thomas. He led all players on the court with 23 points and nine rebounds, shooting 10 of 14 points. The Sagehens lost in double overtime, holding strong against the Tommies, but were ultimately taken down by Saint Thomas sharp-shooter Will Deberg. With three minutes to go in the second overtime, the Hens were down 71-76. Despite losing to the Tommies, the Hens look forward to a successful season. Their success bodes well for their chances of making the cut to play in the SCIAC conference tournament at the end of the season. Conference play has not yet begun, but Klewer projects that Pomona-Pitzer will compete for the SCIAC title.
After the Sagehens lost their leading scorer, Klewer has adopted more of a leadership role.
“The growth from freshman to sophomore year is the biggest,” Klewer said. “As a freshman it was pretty hard, going from high school to college. I thought I handled it pretty well, but this year, I can be more of a contributor.”
He leads the Sagehens in rebounds per game and is the team’s second-leading scorer with an average of 15.3 per game.
“I don’t pay too much attention to individual awards and accolades and whatnot,” Klewer said. “Without my teammates, I wouldn’t be able to succeed.”
For the Sagehens, a more experienced team combined with the addition of several talented freshmen resulted in “a great group with good chemistry,” Klewer said. Klewer is also a dedicated student majoring in biology on a pre-med track.
“It’s a challenge sometimes when you realize that your entire afternoon is filled, but you learn to work with it.”
Ultimately, Klewer and the men’s basketball team are focused on finishing among the top four teams in the conference and making the conference tournament. “SCIAC usually sends only one team to the NCAA tournament,” Klewer said. “The conference is looking pretty strong this year.”
The Sagehens will continue play at the Lee Fulmer Memorial tournament at the University of Redlands.