The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s and women’s track and field teams opened their respective 2017 seasons with the 21st annual Rossi Relays, held at CMS’s own Burns Track and Field Complex. The Rossi Relays are an unofficial meet and will not count towards eventual NCAA tournament qualification. Both the men’s and women’s teams had relatively strong starts to the season, with the Stags coming in sixth of 17 teams, and the Athenas finishing second among 18. Both teams also saw impressive individual performances in their season debuts.
For the Athenas, Vaiva Palunas SC ’17, the winner of both the SCIAC and NCAA Regional Athlete of the Year in 2016, picked up where she left off last season, coming second in three of her throwing events: the discus, the shot put, and the hammer throw. CMS also brought back Tyra Abraham SC ’18, the 2016 Division III national champion in the women’s 100-meter race. In this particular meet, she ran in the distance medley, where she and her Athena teammates finished in third place. Abraham also placed second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.27 seconds to Brie Courseault of Fresno Pacific University, but first out of all Division III competitors.
Lauren Mott CM ’17 also had a strong performance, finishing fourth in the javelin throw, and was able to put a positive spin on the entire meet.
“It went well, being the first meet,” she said. “I think we all found some things we can work on to improve for this weekend and that’s what’s really important.”
Given that this was an unofficial event, the focus of the weekend was more to see the areas of strength and what needed improvement, as well as getting back into the swing of competition, as opposed to the results themselves.
Mott said that this season, she wants to improve on her javelin throw but that her “goal is the same as everyone’s: practice hard and always give the best performance you can at any given meet and the rest will follow.”
The Stags also put forth a selection of strong individual showings to start the season. Cam Van CM ’17, who last year won the SCIAC title in the high jump, continued his winning ways, finishing first in the meet with a 6 foot 4 inch jump. Elsewhere, the team of Thomas D’Anieri CM ’20, Matthew Guillory HM ’19, Ben Iten HM ’19, and Joshua Sealand HM ’17 placed second in the men’s distance medley, racing a time of 10:12.78.
The performances gave Mott something to look forward to, and she said that “as a team we plan to retain our conference titles.”
The next step in that process is the first official SCIAC meet, at Pomona-Pitzer, on Saturday, March 4.