LOS ANGELES (Apr. 29, 2016) – Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges hold an early lead with 84 points after Day 1 of the 2016 SCIAC Track & Field Championships, hosted by Caltech.
With just six events having been scored, second-place No. 3 Occidental College (42 points) is lurking and looking to break up the Stags’ three-peat bid, while the University of La Verne (31 points) and Pomona-Pitzer Colleges (29 points) have their sights set on podium places as well.
Although both CMS and Oxy boast a pair of individual champions apiece, twice as many Stags (16) as Tigers (eight) have scored thus far. The two-time defending champions picked up five scorers, including a second place, in the session-ending 10,000-meter run as well as individual titles in the discus throw and long jump while taking second, third and fourth in the pole vault. Oxy, meanwhile, claimed titles in the pole vault and 10k but were essentially canceled out by the Stags’ enviable depth, although a key third place in the 10k helped their case. The Tigers are also well-positioned in the remaining running events, particularly via their signature sprint corps, to give the Stags a serious run for the trophy tomorrow.
Every SCIAC institution is already on the score board through the first six events, with Whittier College sitting in fifth place (14 points), California Lutheran University sixth (11 points), the University of Redlands seventh (nine points), Chapman University eighth (eight points) and Caltech ninth (six points).
3,000 steeplechase: Top-seeded Corey Purcella barely out-lunged fellow Sagehen Parker Head by .25 for the win with a 9:25.49 as J.P. Kieffer rounded out the podium in third for CMS, edging ahead of Pomona-Pitzer rookie Julian Degroot-Lutzner by a mere .04.
10,000: Austin Sankaran, who had not run the race all season and is seeded a modest eighth in the 5,000-meter run set for tomorrow, crushed the field by 33 seconds, coming in at 31:27.33 for the surprise victory. CMS’s Jesse Joseph came up with a clutch second, edging out another Tigers runner in Keenan Leary by just six seconds.
Hammer throw: La Verne’s Andrew Carrasco successfully defended his title launching his first throw farther than anyone else would record on the day before adding nearly three meters to his second, which eventually went in as his top mark (54.67m/179’4”). Alex Rich placed second and fifth-seeded Caltech’s Morgan Hill shocked the group with third place, overcoming a tough start that saw three fouls to pass five others as he moved into and held his position on the podium.
Discus throw: Rich outdid his 2015 runner-up finish to come away with the title (45.12m/148’), never having to worry as no other throw made it past his first mark. Chris Gura (La Verne) and Michael Bassette (Cal Lutheran) placed second and third, respectively.
Pole vault: Oxy freshman Zach Greenleaf, who entered the day with just the seventh-highest mark of the season, outlasted the trio of significant favorite Michael Wagenveld, Zane Bodenbender and Jackson Cooney as the only one to clear 4.56 meters (14’11.5”). CMS’s Wagenveld took second having missed only on his second attempted mark, while teammate Bodenbender’s early efficiency knocked another teammate in Cooney down to fourth.
Long jump: Cam Van (CMS) and Mitchell Bouldin (Chapman) unsurprisingly held their top two spots, although in reverse order of seeding as Bouldin started out hot with a big mark of 6.95 meters in the preliminary round before Van delivered back-to-back SCIAC-season-best 7.01m (23’) and 7.00m marks on his final two attempts to pip the title. Eric Myers of CMS took a distant third.
1,500: A pair of Stags – Evan Molineux and Ben Iten – hold the top two spots entering tomorrow’s finals, with Whittier’s Julian Sandoval hot on their heels and defending champion Josh Sealand lurking in a close fourth.
110 hurdles: Pomona-Pitzer’s Marcus Polk beat top seed Nathan Munoz’s (Redlands) time by .02 (14.72) while teammate Afari La-Anyane and Cal Neikirk (Pomona-Pitzer) edged Munoz for second and third.
400: La Verne’s Josh Francis stated his podium intentions with the top time of the day, with Oxy’s Jeh Johnson and Pomona-Pitzer’s Avi Sheldon close behind but a third Tigers runner in second-seeded Gabriel Barrett-Jackson barely squeaking into the finals by .07.
100: Leaving little doubt to his claim of fastest man on the track, Joey Colucci (Redlands) occupies the top spot with second-seed Hugh Pegan of Oxy and CMS rookie Corbin Betherum not far behind him in the preliminaries at least.
800: Molineux (CMS) cranked out the top time of the day while Oxy rookie Brody Barkan and Sagehen Nathan Gallatin round out the top three. Top-seeded Paul Messana (Pomona-Pitzer) and teammate Nicholas Vucovich were content to conserve energy while earning the automatic finals berths as heat winners.
400 hurdles: Claremont rivals Cal Neikirk (Pomona-Pitzer) and Jesse Wong (CMS) swapped spots, with Neikirk on the pole and Wong looking up while another Oxy rookie, Andrew McCall, snuck into third.
200: CMS freshman Corbin Betherum won the fastest heat for the top position but will have to hold it against an imposing finals group of Francis (La Verne), Johnson (Oxy), Myles Speegle (Redlands), Pegan (Oxy), Colucci (Redlands), Kofi Sekyi-Appiah (CMS) and Barrett-Jackson (Oxy) in what could be the race of the meet.
Saturday’s schedule of events, livestream and live results, and more can be found at the championship website here.