Cross Country Sagehens Race Ahead in Season Openers

In the sweltering heat over Labor Day weekend, the Pomona-Pitzer cross country teams endured the blazing sun and took second at the PP-Oxy-La Verne Triangular meet on Sept. 1. The women's and men's teams accumulated the fastest total and average times of that competition, ending with 33 and 38 points respectively. 

The next day, the men's team traveled to Brea to take part in the Mark Covert Classic on Sept. 2, where they took third out of 14 teams.

At the PP-Oxy-La Verne friendly meet, Ethan Ashby PO ’21 won the 6k race with a time of 20:12.00, while teammates Nicholas Beatty PO '18 and Gabe Elliot PZ '18 also finished in the top 10.

Helen Guo PO '20 and Lauren Hamilton PO '20 cruised to first and second in their 4k race, finishing at 14:50 and 14:54 respectively. Maddie Bennet PZ '19 and Isabella Kearney PO '21 also placed in the top 10.

“It was promising to see the new first-years run as a pack with the veterans,” said Guo. “We hope that this strategy is what is going to help the team place well at Regionals at the end of the season.”

Guo's teammate Emily Freilich PO ’18 has enjoyed the team’s competitiveness and support for one another. As a senior with four years of cross country under her belt, she said that it has been “very exciting to see everyone grow as runners.”

Both teams faced coaching changes this season, as previous assistant coach Jordan Carpenter is now the men’s head coach and previous assistant coach Emma DeLira is serving as interim head coach for the women's team with head coach Kirk Reynolds on leave.

Even so, Guo has been pleased with the smooth transition and the introduction of “recruit weekends, new workouts, and new bonding events” to the women’s team. “These changes have been embraced by the team and I hope they continue to be,” she said.

On the men's side, Julian DeGroot Lutzner PZ '19 said that Coach Jordan Carpenter “is cultivating a cohesive team,” contributing to the existing “depth, talent, and positive energy” of his teammates.

After last year's 17th-place finish at NCAA National Championships, the men hope to continue their success in the 2017 season. Welcoming back five runners who attended that NCAA race and 11 new first-years won't hurt their cause.

Nick Vucovich PO '18 said that this year's team has “the most depth the Pomona-Pitzer program has ever seen” and is excited to see the results they will produce.

Vucovich was proud of what the men accomplished at the Mark Covert Invitational, adding that the team’s collective talent showed. Andy Reischling PO '19, who took 41st in last year's Nationals, finished in the top 10 at the Mark Covert Classic with a time of 25:47.00.

Both Hugo Ward PZ '21 and Bukuru Anaclet PO '21 were challenged by the length of the 8k race in combination with the 100 degree weather at the Mark Covert Classic, but said they have enjoyed their experiences so far as Sagehen cross country athletes. They said they have been inspired by the dedication that all their teammates have for the sport.

The season is leading up to the SCIAC Championships in October and Regionals in November.

The women hope to place in the top two at Regionals and qualify for the National Championship. “That would be the dream!” said Guo.

The men, on the other hand, aim to win SCIAC, hoping to continue their five year winning streak.

“We’ve got something special brewing,” said Anaclet. “We want to show that we’re the team to beat this year.”

After conquering SCIAC, the men have their sights set on winning Regionals and placing in the top four at Nationals this season. Knowing that “the team has worked hard to place well at Nationals,” Ward said, “I really hope that we do well at Nationals [whether or not] I’m on the traveling team.”

The P-P Sagehen cross country women and men will be back in action on Sept. 16 at the University of California, Riverside Invite.

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