Just before 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, the quick thump of footsteps sounded throughout the south side of Pomona College’s organic farm. Soon, someone wearing the bright blue and orange of Pomona-Pitzer came into view, his eyes straight ahead as if seeing a distant finish line. Behind him barreled a whole horde of purple, blue, green and red jerseys, trailing their leader by a few yards.
Andy Reischling PO ’19 had taken hold of the Pomona-Pitzer Invite race, and he wasn’t letting go, his goal being “just to run faster than [he] did last year.” Reischling also wanted to impress, though, “because [his] parents were visiting that weekend.”
And win the race he did, continuing what has been an excellent season for him so far. He was already tabbed as the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletics Conference’s Athlete of the Week twice this year and attributes his improved performance to a year’s worth of experience in collegiate cross country running.
“I’d say, this year, I’m a lot more relaxed before and during the race, which helps a lot in distance running,” Reischling said. “Also, having a year to adapt to college training is important. We do harder workouts and run more miles than I ever did in high school.”
But Reischling, who led the Hens to first place with a time of 25:10.3, wasn’t the only men’s cross country runner to show well in the Invite. Six of P-P’s top runners finished within the top ten. Charlie Watson PO ’17 took third overall with a time of 25:38.7, while Julian Degrootz-Lutzner PZ ’19 snagged fourth with 25:46.6. Collectively, the runners earned enough points to beat the second-place team from Westmont by a margin of 44 points.
“I think, overall, everyone was excited that they ran as fast as they did during this point in the season,” Reischling commented, adding that the team was tired before the race because of a tough two weeks of training. “We had a bunch of guys step up and run smart, confident races.”
After the men’s race, which started at 7:45 a.m., the gun went off for the women at 8:30 a.m. Maya Weigel PO ’17, following Reischling’s example, sprinted to the front of the race, winning with ease and breaking the course record—her time of 20:57.3 will replace former Sagehen Annie Lydens’s 21:04.
Lauren Hamilton PO ’20 also put on a strong performance, finishing second for the Hens and sixth overall with a time of 22:34.7. Impressively, she earned herself a place in P-P’s top ten times, running faster than the previous ninth all-time mark for all courses in Sagehen history.
Kristen Hernandez PO ’18 added a 24th-place finish, and the women’s team as a whole took third in the meet.
What Reischling has to say for the men’s team holds true for the women’s as well: “We have a really deep and talented team, and I’m excited to see how we do at SCIAC and into the rest of the postseason.”
The men and women’s cross country teams will perform at the SCIAC Championships on Saturday, Oct. 29.