The Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens track and field team opened their 2017 season with a 140-129 win over the Occidental College Tigers. The men’s team won their meet with a total score of 90-45, while the women’s team came up short in an 84-50 loss. This was the seventh annual “Battle for the Banner” meet between the Sagehens and the Tigers, with P-P edging ahead in the all-time series, four wins to three.
“As a team we worked hard during the offseason to prepare for the beginning of our season,” Cal Neikirk PO ‘19 wrote in an email to TSL. “This work paid off for me and the team.”
Neikirk himself had a very strong individual start to the season, winning the 110-meter hurdles, with teammate Carter Johnson PZ ’18 taking second, as well the 300-meter hurdles (in which P-P claimed the top three spots) and the high jump.
Despite his solid results from the opening meet, Neikirk adds that he hopes to “add more events to my set each meet. This entails improving intra-event efficiency since I’ll be bouncing between more events that are happening simultaneously.”
Overall, the men’s team won a wide variety of events. Alongside Neikirk’s three wins, the team also saw wins from Andy Reischling PO ’19 in the 3000-meter run, Ethan Hardacre PO ’20 in the long jump, Reggie Reed PZ ’17 in the shot put, discus and hammer throw, and Calvin Aylward PO ‘18 in the javelin, among many others.
Although the women’s team lost, the points they gained were nonetheless vital to P-P’s overall team success. The women’s team also had some impressive individual performances. Prisca Diala PO ‘18, won the triple jump, with a distance of 10.53 meters.
“I have a love-hate relationship with jumps, especially triple jump,” she wrote in an email to TSL. “Beginning the season with a win in this event makes me really happy. Like I mentioned before, the mark definitely wasn’t near what I hoped for but I’m more excited about the event with this win.”
The women’s team also experienced success with Abby Gardner PO ’17 in the 3000-meter run, Kaile Sauro PZ ’17 in the long jump, and as a team in the distance medley, in which Helen Guo PO ’20, Katrina Dank PO ’20, Sabrina Wilk PO ’19, and Gardner combined for the tenth fastest time in P-P history.
Both Neikirk and Diala saw hope for their teams this season. Neikirk wrote that the team is aiming to “at least tie our third place finish at SCIAC’s from last year. This would just mean so much to all of us since being in the top three is a huge accomplishment for a track team as small as ours.”
Diala wrote that she hopes and expects that a number of school records may be broken this season.
“Watching each of the girls, I see not only raw talent but determination and dedication,” Diala wrote.
The track and field season kicks into full gear soon, with both teams continuing their seasons next Saturday, Feb. 18, when P-P hosts the Collegiate All-Comers meet at 10:30 a.m.