LOS ANGELES, Calif– No. 3 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges are just 28 points clear of a five-team scrum after Day 1 of the 2016 SCIAC Track & Field Championships, hosted by Caltech.
The Athenas have scratched out 57 points to lead the field, but with three teams within a single point below them and another two not far off the pace, that lead is anything but comfortable despite CMS being set up well in the remaining running events heading into Saturday. Occidental College (39 points) sits in second by half a point over the University of Redlands (38.50), which in turn leads Pomona-Pitzer Colleges (38 points) by just half a point. The University of La Verne has amassed 29 points to hold fifth place while California Lutheran University is sixth (24.50 points) and Whittier Colleges (five points) rounds out the event’s scorers thus far.
The Athenas are the only ones to have notched more than one individual title, claiming both the 10,000-meter run and the shot put, and have benefitted from having at least two scorers in four of the six events, including a first, third and fourth in the shot put. Oxy racked up three second-place finished and scored at least one in all but one event, while Pomona-Pitzer earned a big 1-2 finish in the long jump, as well as second and fourth in the javelin throw and third in the steeplechase.
3,000 steeplechase: Rookie Melissa Cerrillos (La Verne) made good on her top billing, cranking out an 11:21.32 for the victory with Oxy freshman Aria Blumm and Pomona-Pitzer’s Abby Gardner completing the podium.
10,000: Although she had not run the event, Bridget Blum (CMS) entered with the top seed in the 5k, so it was no surprise when she crossed the line first in 37:41.36 among a trio that also included Melina Devoney (Oxy) and Lauren Roberts (Redlands) and which beat out the rest of the field by over a minute.
Javelin throw: Allie Hadley (CLU made it a three-peat after overcoming an errant first attempt to finally put away second-place Jessica Finn (Pomona-Pitzer) on a huge last effort (44.50m/146’). Oxy’s Sabrina Degnan rounded out the podium.
Shot put: The top three held as Vaiva Palunas (CMS) retained her title, with her first throw already enough to do so, but the junior launched a monstrous final effort to top it off (13.26m/43’6”). Mele Halalilo (La Verne) and Emily Bassett (CMS) traded positions just ahead of Lauren Mott (CMS), who added nearly two-and-a-half feet to her previous season best to nearly break up the trio of favorites.
Long jump: Pomona-Pitzer’s Ailene Nguyen retained her title as well, leaping a SCIAC-season-best 5.65m (18’6.5”). Teammate Prisca Diala and Oxy freshman Sabrine Griffith knocked top-seeded Amanda Hamilton (CLU) off the podium into fourth.
Pole vault: New champion Amanda Widen (Redlands) and runner-up Melissa Braun (another of Oxy’s star first-years) were the only constants in a wild competition as Widen, victory already in hand, went on to attempt what would have been a SCIAC meet record, but she feel just short and her mark of 3.62m (11’10.5”) will stand less than three inches shy of the mark. Defending champion Taylor Schulze (La Verne) and the other tri-top seed, Jacquelyn Desmond (CMS), each were unable to clear their first heights, leaving Emily Ginter (CLU) a chance to step onto the podium while Dani Chami (CMS) placed fourth as Jade Mahan (Redlands) and Amanda Oyao (CLU) shared fifth- and sixth-place points.
1,500: Third-seeded Julissa Tobias (Whittier) and second-seeded Bryn McKillop (CMS) battled it out for the heat 1 victory while the favorite, Pomona-Pitzer’s SCIAC record-holder Maya Weigel, conserved energy for tomorrow’s final.
100 hurdles: The top three held as Alison Smith (Redlands) stayed ahead of Rhea Jayachandran (Pomona-Pitzer) and Griffith (CMS).
400: Top-seeded Aiyanna Cameron-Lewis (CMS) cruised to the pole position by almost two full seconds and is still the only SCIAC competitor to clock a sub-58 time all season. Yet another Oxy freshman in Charlotte Cullip cracked the top-3 while Kimmy Kabluyen (La Verne) held her third position.
100: CMS’s Tyra Abraham left little doubt as to who tomorrow’s favorite is, as she remains the only sprinter to time in under 12 seconds this spring. Oxy’s Emma Yudelevitch and CLU’s Hamilton round out the top three, with La Verne’s Tiahna Gillon just a hundredth back in fourth.
800: Athenas duo Mejia and Jasmine Shirey hold the top two spots after blazing through heat 1, with Kristen Hernandez (Pomona-Pitzer) a distant third and Kaylee Jorgensen (Redlands) just .06 behind her. Favorite Weigel (Pomona-Pitzer) again took it easy en route to an automatic berth in the finals via second place in heat 2
400 hurdles: The top three held firm as Isabelle Dunne (Oxy) crossed the line in a SCIAC-season-best 64.08, with Carlie Burow (CLU) and Rebecca Stewart (CMS) not far behind.
200: Abraham (CMS) is looking good for her double as the only sub-25-second sprinter of the spring, while the other top two also held in teammate Cameron-Lewis and Yudelevitch (Oxy).
Saturday’s schedule of events, livestream and live results, and more can be found at the championship website here.