Trackstars Overheat; Drop Meet to Caltech

The members of Pomona-Pitzer’s men’s track team awoke last Saturday morning to blue skies and already-rising temperatures. Unfortunately, they had to spend the majority of the day at Claremont McKenna—among Claremont Mckennaites—and what’s more, they had to participate in the not-always-delightful festivities of a track and field meet.

This meet was the last before the SCIAC Championships at the end of April, which will be hosted by Pomona-Pitzer. Team scoring was done as a series of dual meets between the four competing programs. If these were cross-country scores—where the lowest point total wins—the Sagehens would have swept the meet, coming up 22-132 against CMS, 25-134 against La Verne, and 67-91 against Caltech.

A number of performances stood out for the ’Hens, however, with many season bests on both the track and the field.

Greg Hook PZ ’14 and Zak Feldman PO ’11 placed 3rd and 4th in the 400, running 50.30 and 50.44, respectively. Feldman’s time was a lifetime best and moved him up to 11th in the conference. Will Forrester PO ’13 also ran a season best in the 400 hurdles, clocking 58.91 in 5th place and moving up to 11th in SCIAC as well.

On the field, Michael Grier PO ’11 matched his season best in the high jump by clearing 6 feet 0.75 inches, placing him 5th in the meet. He remains at 5th among all eight SCIAC teams. Matt Owen PZ ’14 placed 5th in the pole vault, moving up to 10th in the league. He cleared 13 feet 0.75 inches—his season best by an astounding 8.25 inches.

The most exciting event of the meet was undoubtedly the 800, in which four athletes—one from La Verne, two from CMS, and one from P-P—ran times within 0.82 seconds of one another, all between 1:56 and 1:57. Colin Flynn PZ ’12 was leading the race and looking strong with 250 meters to go before being passed by three runners, one after the other. Flynn pulled wide with 100 meters to go, though, and slowly edged up to and then passed two dying Stags. Michael Sacoto of La Verne managed to hold on for the win, with Flynn coming in second in a time of 1:56.62, his second-best time of the season.

The 5,000 was a fairly painful event—not only for those running, but likely also for those watching the 19 men attempt to finish a 12-and-a-half lap race as quickly as possible in 92-degree Claremont heat. Although Alex Johnson PZ ’13 was able to finish in a respectable 15:40.97 for 4th after leading in the early laps, two of the four competing Sagehens dropped out and watched their teammates complete the race from the sidelines.

P-P's resident Swede, Anders Crabo PO ’12, was conspicuously out of uniform—and as such, conspicuously well-dressed—on Saturday. Also noticeable was his slight limp and a well-wrapped knee.

The two-time SCIAC steeplechase champion raced two days earlier at the highly competitive Mt. SAC Relays, which features hundreds of the fastest high school, collegiate, and post-collegiate athletes from around the country and world. Crabo covered the first 2,000 meters of the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a somewhat controlled effort before picking up the pace notably. He appeared to be heading toward, or at least close to, an automatic qualifying time for Division-III Nationals of under 9:07, but with 600 meters to go, he hit his knee hard on a barrier and went down.

The experienced ‘Cock regained composure after a moment, jumped to his feet, and continued on, finishing in a season-best time of 9:13.30. It was not the qualifying time he had hoped for, but he clearly showed the potential for such a finish in the near future. The knee-barrier collision, however, prevented Crabo from competing again on Saturday at CMS.

With just one week left before this spring’s SCIAC Championships, the rest of the Sagehens are also making their last preparations and resting up for their biggest competition of the season thus far. For most, it also represents the last of 2011. For those chasing—or already having caught—qualifying marks to nationals, though, races continue on into May.

With no meet this weekend, check back next Friday for a full SCIACs preview, and read up on all the upcoming track and field drama before heading over to the blue track to watch it unfold.

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