CLAREMONT, Calif. – Both the men's and women's track and field programs from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps earned Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships in dramatic fashion on Saturday afternoon. The men's competition came down to the final relay while the Athenas ran away with the 87 point victory. This marks the third consecutive SCIAC title for the Athenas and fifth consecutive for the Stags.
Senior Vaiva Palunas (SC) completed her sweep of the throwing events with the win in the women's shot put at 13.96m (45-09.75). This marks the third year in a row that Palunas has swept the three throwing events and ends her SCIAC career having been a four-time champion in the discus. Teammate Emily Bassett (CMC) placed third in the shot put at 12.71m (41-08.50) and finished with three medals on the weekend as well.
Senior Liz Lee (HMC) earned second place in the triple jump as she saved her best jump for last at 11.24m (36-10.50). She finished just 0.02m behind the first place finisher from La Verne and 0.01m in front of the bronze medalist, teammate, freshman Michelle Lilly (HMC) at 11.23m (36-10.25).
The Athenas started off the running events with a win in the 4x100-meter relay. Freshmen Nirel JonesMitchell (CMC) and Amanda Mell (CMC) ran between Lee and junior Tyra Abraham (SC) and the team won with the time of 48.92.
In the 1500-meter run, junior Bryn McKillop (SC) pushed the pace but was unable to hold onto her lead for an impressive second place finish at 4:27.33. McKillop's time was under the meet record set last year and now elevates her to third in the national standings. Finishing first was Pomona-Pitzer's Maya Weigel who set a new PP, meet, and SCIAC record at 4:22.83.
Senior Carmen Mejia (SC) placed second in the 400-meter dash, taking the silver with 57.42 seconds. Then, Mejia got back on the horse just 30 minutes later and raced her way to a top finish in the 800-meter run at 2:12.86.
Between Mejia's events, Abraham ran for the win at 11.91 seconds in the 100-meter. With the win, she is the three-time SCIAC champion in the event and ranks No. 5 nationally this year. She followed that performance up with a come-from-behind win in the 200-meter dash. Occidental's Emma Yudelvitch was ahead by a nose in the final 30 meters, but Abraham made up the difference and crossed at 24.80.
Even though the SCIAC Championship all locked up for CMS by the last event of the afternoon, Lee and Abraham were joined by Mejia and sophomore Geneva Ecola (HMC) for the win in the women's 4x400-meter as well. Occidental's anchor, Isabelle Dunne, received the baton first, but was overtaken by Abraham half way around the track. Abraham completed the day with four medals: two individual events and both relays.
Senior Cam Van (CMC) wowed onlookers in the triple jump finals, reaching 15.02m (49-3.50) to not only set a personal best, but also the CMS All-Time record. Freshman Walker Quinn (CMC) performed spectacularly on the pole vault, jumping 4.51m (14-9.50) to take first place. His teammate senior Zane Bodenbender (HMC) took third place with a mark of 4.41m (14-5.50).
Over in the distance events, senior Joshua Sealand (HMC) took first in the 800, recording at 1:49.90. He also led the Stags to a sweep in the 1500, as he took first at 3:54.61. Sophomore Ben Iten (HMC) took second at 3:56.19 while freshman Thomas D'Anieri (CMC) finished third in one-hundredth of a second behind Iten. Sealand closed out his evening with the 5000 and managed to finish in third despite the fatigue, finishing at 15:04.19.
Freshman Tyson-Jay Saena (HMC) recorded a PR on the shot put, reaching 14.06m (46-01.50) to finish in fourth place. Over at the javelin, freshman Wilson Ives (HMC) left a strong impression in his SCIAC Championship debut, finishing in fourth place with a mark of 51.64m (169-05). His teammate senior Josh Rooney (CMC) took fifth place after throwing 51.32m (168-04).
The Stags took third place in the 4x100 relay, as a team comprised of Van, sophomore Matthew Guillory (HMC), and freshmen Justin Estrada (CMC) and Cameron Finley (CMC) crossed at 42.23, just 0.06 ahead of the fourth place finishers.
Holding onto a 3.5 point lead over Occidental for first place, the Stags' championship fate came down to the final event, the 4x400 relay. With Guillory pulling out of the event due to a slight injury, freshman Daniel Klain (CMC) filled in as the alternate. Estrada, Klain, Finley, and Van needed to secure at least second-place in order to win the SCIAC Championship title for the team. Estrada started off on a strong start, taking the lead before handing it off to Klain. The freshman alternate performed admirably, managing to stay right behind Jesus Payan of La Verne at third place. Finley ran his best split of the season and passed the La Verne runner, Jeffery Ouk, and stay behind Occidental's Jeh Johnson. Van burst through the first turn after the handoff and manage to build a significant lead over third-place La Verne while trying to pass Occidental's Hugh Pegan. The senior kept his pace until the finish line, crossing at 3:17.65, to secure second place in the relay and clinch the SCIAC title for the Stags.
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