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Pomona-Pitzer To Host SCIAC Track & Field Championships

Pomona-Pitzer To Host SCIAC Track & Field Championships

The 2017 SCIAC Track & Field Men's Championships will feature interesting team battles and intriguing individual matchups throughout all areas. In the US Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) Division III rankings, the SCIAC currently stands as the #3 strongest conference in the nation, behind the WIAC and the CCIW.

The men's team competition features two teams with seven victories from the dual meet season – Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Occidental. Pomona-Pitzer defeated CMS, 84-79, on March 4 to give CMS its only loss, while CMS defeated Occidental, 88-75, on April 15 in a matchup of the two top teams.

The final SCIAC Track & Field standings are determined by a point system: teams score a single point for a dual meet win during the three multi-dual meets in the regular season, and three points for each team they finish ahead of in the Championship meet.

In the sprints, Myles Speegle (SR, Redlands) and Hugh Pegan (JR, Occidental) stand atop the SCIAC 100 meter lists, both at 10.86, with newcomer Obasi Dees (FR, Cal Lutheran) right behind at 10.89. Pegan, the 2016 SCIAC Champ in both the 100m and 200m, and the NCAA Champ in the 200m, tops the 200m list at 21.55 (which is #8 on the Div 3 National lists), with teammate Jeh Johnson (SR, Occidental) at 21.70 (#18 nationally) just behind. The SCIAC 400m list is headed by middle-distance standout Paul Messana (SR, Pomona-Pitzer) at 48.30, but Messana likely won't be contesting this event, leaving Joshua Francis (JR, La Verne) and Gabriel Barrett-Jackson (JR, Occidental) to challenge for the one-lap title. Francis took second last year, while Barrett-Jackson took third before turning it up at Nationals to finish fourth.

In the middle-distances, Messana won the 800m SCIAC title a year ago, but Joshua Sealand (SR, CMS) leads the 2017 list at 1:51.38, with Messana right behind at 1:51.50. Those marks rank the duo 4th and 6th nationally. Sealand, last year's SCIAC runnerup, also sits atop the 1500m list at 3:49.94 (#4 nationally), ahead of Messana's 3:56.11. Sealand took 7th at Nationals last spring.

Andy Reischling (SO, Pomona-Pitzer) clocked 14:15.70 in the 5000 meters to stand atop the SCIAC list (2nd nationally), with the versatile Sealand behind at 14:26.37. The SCIAC 10,000m list is headed by last year's SCIAC runner-up Jesse Joseph (SR, CMS) at 30:41.45, ahead of Ruben Solorza (SR, Whittier) at 31:18.22. In the tough 3000 meter steeplechase event, Pomona-Pitzer boasts a trio atop the conference bests list, with Danny Rosen  (FR) at 9:16.98 (#9 nationally), Julian DeGroot-Lutzner, (SO) at 9:23.92, and Parker Head (SR) at 9:25.21. Parker was last year's SCIAC runner-up.

In the 110 Hurdles, Cal Neikirk (SO, Pomona-Pitzer) has led the conference list all season. His 14.70 best ranks 12th nationally and he was SCIAC runner-up in 2016. Neikirk also leads SCIAC in the 400 Hurdles at 54.02, which ranks 17th nationally.

In the 4x100 relay, Occidental's quartet of Johnson-Pegan-Collins-Dalton has clocked 41.21 to lead SCIAC and stand #2 nationally, with Cal Lutheran's Dees-Knapp-James-O'Brien at 41.63 for second in SCIAC and 12th nationally. In the 4x400 relay, Pomona-Pitzer's Neikirk-Vucovich-Abele-Messana ran 3:17.21 to top SCIAC teams and stand 9th nationally, but Occidental's Barrett-Jackson-Dalton-Johnson-Pegan lurk at 3:17.48, 11th nationally. Oxy won the 2016 SCIAC title.

In the High Jump, Austin DeWitz (SO, Occidental) has cleared 6'8" to lead SCIAC and stand 16th nationally. Miguel Redmond (JR, Whittier) has cleared 14'9.5) in the Pole Vault to lead SCIAC. Cam Van (SR, CMS) leads both the SCIAC Long Jump (23'0.75") and Triple Jump (48'5.5") lists, with the latter mark currently #6 nationally. Van, the 2016 SCIAC LJ-TJ-HJ champion, will also vie for High Jump points for the Stags.

TJ Randall (JR, La Verne) and Chris Gura (SR, La Verne) lead a powerful Leopard 1-2 combo in the Shot Put, with Randall at 49'9.75" and Gura, at 49'1.75." Gura also leads the SCIAC Discus list at 150'5", with Reggie Reed (SR, Pomona-Pitzer) at 143'10". Gura was the SCIAC runner-up in both the Shot and Discus in 2016.

La Verne looks for big team points in the Hammer, with Andrew Carrasco (SR, 189'10")), Gura (167'11"), and Randall (160'11) ranked 1-2-3. Carrasco, the 2016 SCIAC Champ, stands 4th nationally this season after finishing 7th last year. In the Javelin, Calvin Aylward  (JR, Pomona-Pitzer) leads at 211'9" – over 40-feet ahead of second place. Aylward won SCIAC last year, and currently stands 5th nationally. He finished fourth nationally a year ago.

The 2017 SCIAC Track & Field Women's Championships boasts exciting team battles and captivating individual matchups in nearly every event. In the US Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) Division III rankings, the SCIAC currently stands as the #3 strongest conference in the nation, behind the WIAC and the UAA.

The women's team competition has Claremont-Mudd-Scripps with a perfect 8 points after the multi-dual meet regular season. Redlands earned seven wins, and Occidental six. In the April 15 dual meet between CMS and Redlands, the Athenas prevailed, 86-75, in a very close dual meet.

The final SCIAC Track & Field standings are determined by a point system: teams score a single point for a dual meet win during the three multi-dual meets in the regular season, and three points for each team they finish ahead of in the Championship meet.

In the sprints, defending NCAA Division III 100m Champion Tyra Abraham (SO, CMS) is the favorite in both the 100 meters and 200 meters. Abraham has notched SCIAC-leading times of 11.94 and 24.36 – marks that stand 4th and 2nd on the NCAA D3 National lists. Abraham won both events at the SCIAC champs last year as a frosh. Behind her on this year's conference lists in both events is Emma Yudelevitch (SO, Occidental), with 12.35 and 25.21 marks. Catherine Banobi (SR, Pomona-Pitzer heads the 400m conference list at 57.62, ahead of Carmen Sandoval (SR, La Verne) at 58.88. Banobi took third at last year's SCIAC meet.

In the middle distances, Carmen Mejia (SR, CMS) leads the 800m runners at 2:09.53, ahead of Maya Weigel (SR, Pomona-Pitzer) at 2:11.92. Those two went 1-2 at the SCIAC Champs last year. Mejia currently ranks 2nd in the nation, and took 2nd at last year's National meet. Bryn McKillop (JR, CMS) sits atop the SCIAC 1500m list at 4:34.70, ahead of Weigel's 4:35.74. Weigel defeated McKillop at last year's SCIAC meet, and then went on to earn second place at Nationals in the same event.

Weigel leads the SCIAC 5000m list by 51 seconds, as her 16:28.94 is the NCAA Division III National leader after taking third place at Nationals last year. McKillop is second in SCIAC at 17:19.94, so these two will see each other often over the weekend's meet. Julissa Tobias (JR, Whittier) is top-ranked in the 10,000m at 38:20.37, ahead of Jessica Iribe (JR, Whittier). In the 3000 meter Steeplechase, Melissa Cerrillos (SO, La Verne) has run 11:07.83 to lead all SCIAC runners. Cerrillos won last year's SCIAC Steeple. Caroline Willian (SR, CMS) is second on the list at 11:11.35.

Alison Smith (SR, Redlands) will be a name heard often in this year's meet. Smith leads the 100 Hurdle lists (SCIAC and NCAA III) at 14.12, and also leads the Div 3 National list in the Heptathlon with 4799 points (the heptathlon is not contested at the SCIAC Championships). In the 100H in SCIAC, Smith heads a formidable 1-2 punch along with teammate Jessica Fields (FR, Redlands) at 14.86. In the 400 Hurdles, Isabelle Dunne (JR, Occidental), last year's SCIAC runner-up, leads SCIAC this year at 63.63, followed by Fields at 64.34.

In the relays, Redlands heads the 4x100 SCIAC list at 47.38, and the foursome of Kimble-Ramos-Roman-Smith currently stand fourth nationally. CMS lurks in second in SCIAC at 48.65. In the 4x400, Occidental leads at 3:59.47.

Vanessa Blanchard (JR, Redlands) is tops in the High Jump at 5'7", four inches above three others. Blanchard won SCIAC and finished 9th nationally last year. Jacquelyn Desmond (SO, CMS) leads the Pole Vault list at 12'6," ahead of Melissa Braun (SO, Occidental) at 12'1.5."

Catalina Lee Kim (JR, La Verne) will be the one to watch in the horizontal jumps. Lee Kim leads the SCIAC Long Jump list at 18'5.75" and the SCIAC Triple Jump list at 37'2.5."

Vaiva Palunas (SR, CMS) is defending SCIAC Champ in both the Shot Put and Discus. This spring she has thrown 43'6" and 152'9" – with the discus mark standing fourth on the NCAA lists. Palunas also leads the SCIAC Hammer list at 185'8 to lead a powerful CMS trio in that event. Behind Palunas are Emily Basset (JR, 181'4") and Nicole Laliberte (SR, 167'1"). Bassett won the SCIAC title last year, and took fourth at Nationals.

In the Javelin, Jessica Finn (JR, Pomona-Pitzer) leads at 141'3" – that mark stands fourth in the nation. Finn was runner-up at SCIAC last year. Behind Finn on this year's lists is Sabrina Degnan (SO, Occidental) at 135'7."