At 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, April 9, the starter’s gun sounded for the first time of the day, kicking off the 25th annual Pomona-Pitzer Track and Field Invitational.
Just 14.44 seconds later the winner of the first and fastest heat of the men’s 110-meter hurdles crossed the line. Over eight hours and 38 events later, the last finisher in the B section of the women’s 5000-meter run crossed the line in just over 22 minutes, bringing the prestigious meet to a close. Highlights included a meet-record 4:19.32 in the women’s 1500-meter by Alice Schmidt of USOC-CV; a huge 223' 04″ in the women’s hammer throw and 223' 03″ in the men’s by Amanda Bingson of UNLV and Eric Flores of Cal Lutheran, respectively, giving the throwers victories by over 20 feet each; a pair of wins in the men’s 800- and 1500-meter in times of 1:51.48 and 3:45.38 by Cam Levins of Southern Utah; and an exciting battle in the men’s high jump in which four athletes cleared 6 feet 9.75 inches, before Jorge Rouca of Baja California went on to jump two inches higher for the win.
Despite, and at the same time because of, the high level of competition that such a large invitational track meet provides, a number of P-P men put together stellar performances, moving up on the SCIAC conference performance lists and achieving personal bests in their events. In the 400-meter dash, Greg Hook PZ ’14 and Ryan Meyer PO ’12 ran 50.64 and 51.13 for 4th and 6th in their heat, placing them 22nd and 26th out of a large field of 63 athletes. The two sprinters remained at 7th and 9th in the conference this season, but theyhope to move up in the coming weeks to score points for the Hens at the league championships on April 29th and 30th.
Soon after, Colin Flynn PZ ’12 ran a season best 1:55.34 in the 800, placing him 10th out of 82 runners at the meet. The time was just a fraction of a second off his lifetime best, and it moved him up to 6th in the conference this spring.
A couple hours later, under then overcast skies and with blustery winds, Anders Crabo PO ’12 was able to outlast all 16 of his competitors in the 3000-meter steeplechase and record the only overall event win for a P-P athlete on the day. In doing so, the quickly aging Bellingham native lowered his season best in the event to 9:15.96, holding onto first in the conference and moving him up to 4th in all of Division III.
In the last men’s running event of the day, Alex Johnson PZ ’13 ran a superb 15:15.96—a lifetime best for the young Sagecock, placing him 10th overall out of 64 runners, and holding his spot at 6th in the conference thus far. In other news, PPXC alum and growing legend Ian Monsma PO ’09 ran an unforeseen 15:50.01 in the second heat of the 5000-meters for 2nd place (27th overall). This did not, of course, result in any exchanging of goods between runners eagerly awaiting the outcome of the much anticipated battle between Monsma and Pomona sophomore James Muller (who finished 7th in 16:09.31), as betting on NCAA sports is strictly prohibited for participating athletes and not something to be joked about. Monsma was not available for comment after the race, as he almost immediately slipped away and drove home to Santa Barbara.
As the sun set and the cheers of “here we go Hens” faded off into the distance toward Frary and Collins, the 25th annual Pomona-Pitzer Track and Field Invitational came to a close. The hundreds of athletes who competed throughout the day dispersed—to Utah, to San Diego, to Calgary, to Pitzer—and left the dark azure track empty and quiet once again. It will be another year until the next P-P Invite; luckily for all the eager fans out there, however, SCIAC Championships will be hosted by P-P this year, at this same track, in two weeks, on April 29 and 30.