CLAREMONT, Calif. – The stage is set for the two-day showdown at Strehle Track at Pomona-Pitzer as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps track and field program gets ready to compete for the 2017 SCIAC Championship. After taking first place in the conference last year, the Stags and Athenas have been preparing themselves this season as they come into the championship meet with the intention to repeat.
The Stags are currently tied for first with Occidental College in the SCIAC standings with seven dual points. Based on their athletes' seasonal-bests, the Stags have an excellent opportunity to win the Championship, if only by a narrow margin.
Senior Cam Van (CMC) will be counted on to continue to compete in the jumps, boasting the best mark in conference in the long jump and triple jump and the second-best in the high jump. Last week at the Occidental Invitational, Van set the second-best CMS all-time record in the triple jump with a mark of 14.77m (48-5.5). Senior Zane Bodenbender (CMC) will look to impress on the pole vault, currently holding the second-best record in the SCIAC at 4.42m.
Distance has been one of the Stags' major strengths this season, as senior Joshua Sealand (HMC) hopes to beat his seasonal-best mark on the 800-meter at 1:51.38. Senior Jesse Joseph (HMC) will show the SCIAC why he is one of the most energetic runners in the conference as he plans to compete in both the 10000 and 5000 over both days. He holds the best time in conference in the 10000 at 30:41.45 and the fourth-best in the 5000 at 14:26.37.
Freshman Tyson-Jay Saena (HMC) emerged as a top throws candidate after an impressive showing at the last Multi-Dual, setting personal bests in the shot put (14.03m) and hammer (43.66m). Freshman Reese Peterson (HMC) also reached his PR at the same meet and hopes to leave an impression at the Championship in the discus.
Sophomore Matthew Guillory (HMC) hopes to lead the Stags to success in the 4x400 relay alongside freshmen Cameron Finley (CMC) and Justin Estrada (CMC) and Van. Should the championship be close until the very end, the Stags will be counting on these four to make the difference.
The Athenas are heavy favorites to at the Championships. Senior thrower Vaiva Palunas (SC) has her sights set on the hammer, shot put, and discus this year. Her biggest threat to complete a sweep is her teammate junior Emily Bassett (CMC) who holds all the second-best marks in the throws in conference.
Last season's national champion, junior Tyra Abraham (SC), has few opportunities left to beat her personal-best record in the 100 from last season at 11.83 seconds. Her season-best was 11.94 at the Bryan Clay Invitational. The Athenas will also count on her to score points in the 200m as well.
In the pole vault, sophomore Jacque Desmond (SC) has been a head above the rest of the conference, owning a CMS all-time record of 3.81m (12-6). She has posted a mark 11cm better than the next highest pole vaulter, Melissa Braun from Occidental College.
Senior Carmen Mejia (SC) has been the leader in the 800 ahead of Pomona-Pitzer's Maya Weigel this season by two seconds, but will need to run her best should Weigel decide on competing in the 800 instead of the 1500 on the first day.
Given the tightness of the event schedule, stamina will be critical for the athletes competing in multiple events. As is the nature of late season competition, unexpected results will likely occur and CMS will need its athletes to be flexible and rise to the occasion when their number is called.
By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant
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